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I'm running Debian Wheezy on a HP Pavilion dv7 laptop and it freezes every now and then, requiring a reboot. One time it didn't even load the operating system, but it wasn't I who was using it so I can't tell what error was displayed. On a previous Windows 7 install it constantly failed to load Windows, throwing the user at the "attempting repairs" screen, which would do something for a few minutes and then say Windows couldn't fix the problem.

This leads me to think that there is a hardware problem, and I was wondering if there's anything at /var/log or somewhere else that could provide some info on what's going on, or if there's any test I could run, and what I should be looking for.

I issued

grep -i "error" /var/log

The full output is here. The only line I could understand and that I think might have something to do with the problem was

/var/log/dmesg.0:[   11.632723] [drm:radeon_pci_probe] *ERROR* radeon kernel modesetting for R600 or later requires firmware-linux-nonfree.

But

lspci | grep -i vga

Returns

00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation 2nd Generation Core Processor Family Integrated Graphics Controller (rev 09)
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Whistler XT [AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series]

And System > System Settings > Details > Graphics shows Intel(R) Sandybridge Mobile is being used. So I guess the error was "solved" by using the onboard graphics card?

There was also

/var/log/syslog.1:Apr 19 20:14:09 magui kernel: [    1.087417]  pci0000:00: ACPI _OSC request failed (AE_ERROR), returned control mask: 0x1d
/var/log/syslog.1:Apr 19 20:14:09 magui kernel: [    8.510757] ata1.00: irq_stat 0x08000000, interface fatal error
/var/log/syslog.1:Apr 19 20:14:09 magui kernel: [    8.510810] ata1: SError: { UnrecovData 10B8B BadCRC }
/var/log/syslog.1:Apr 19 20:14:09 magui kernel: [    8.510914]          res 40/00:08:00:76:14/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
/var/log/syslog.1:Apr 19 20:14:09 magui kernel: [    8.511121]          res 40/00:08:00:76:14/00:00:00:00:00/40 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)

But I have no idea what it means, so I'm kinda lost here. What should I be looking for?

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very usefull link on Ask Ubuntu it looks like a major error disk though –  Kiwy Feb 20 at 12:53
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2 Answers

Looks like you have a bad disk, controller, or cable. The full kernel log surrounding that would be helpful, rather than only lines that contain the word "error".

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Run smartctl -a /dev/sda or whatever your disk is. Then look at the read error rate and seek error rate lines. If one of theses value is high your disk is probably dead.

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