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My drive started to show up errors, I unmounted it and ran fsck on it. It's a 2TB drive installed on Debian Squeeze, using ext3.

The fsck too about 17 hours. I found some, luckily mostly unimportant, files in lost+found.

But when I tried to access anything on that FS, first time access (reading directory listing, reading file information, reading file data) is very slow and takes up to one or two seconds. Accessing anything a second time seems to be normal.

Given that I've around 1.5TB data on it, that's a lot times for "first access after mount".

However, I don't see anything in the logs regarding this, how can I figure out what is going on? Is this normal?

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I suspect bad thing about spinup time on your drive.

Did you check /var/log/kern.log ?

You may use smartmontools for checking drive sanity (you need root access):

sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdX

or if in root console:

smartctl -a /dev/sdX
smartctl -l error /dev/sdX

Or his graphical interface (GUI): gsmartcontrol.

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Thanks, I almost forgot about smartctl. Unfortunately I also remember why it doesn't work: the drive is connected via usb, and smartctl only gives me this: Unknown USB bridge [0x0411:0x00a2 (0xf320)]. I plan to backup the data as good as possible and move it into a computer where I can run better diagnostics. –  mark Jan 13 '13 at 13:17
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