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I had what used to be an old NTFS hard drive. Something went wrong years ago with the drive, and it wouldn't boot into windows. I had an invalid windows key, all kinds of pirated software, and hardware issues with my video card.

I'm trying to revive the system, and have all the hardware working except the hard drive.

My motherboard recognizes it, and I've booted into Knoppix, which can't read it. Initially Knoppix saw 3 partitions on the drive, but didn't recognize any of them as NTFS. After some debugging in the BIOS settings, and rebooting back to Knoppix, the partitions seemed to disappear...

I don't care about recovering any data, I just want to use the disk to run Linux now.

I started with this tut: http://www.ehow.com/how_1000631_hard-drive-linux.html

I followed it almost exactly.

I initially did not sudo into fdisk and got an error when using the w command. I sudo fdisk /dev/sda and had success:

sudo fdisk /dev/sda

Command (m for help): p               

Disk /dev/sda: 320.1 GB, 320072933376 bytes
81 heads, 63 sectors/track, 122504 cylinders, total 625142448 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x083c083c

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1            2048   625142447   312570200   83  Linux

Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

Then, I got through step 17 of the ehow tut, and then got this output:

knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ sudo mkfs -t ext2 /dev/sda1
mke2fs 1.42.4 (12-Jun-2012)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
Stride=0 blocks, Stripe width=0 blocks
19537920 inodes, 78142550 blocks
3907127 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=0
2385 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
8192 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
    32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208, 
    4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872, 71663616

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
ext2fs_mkdir: Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while creating root dir

Even though I got my terminal back, and can execute more commands, I can hear the hard drive clicking like crazy. It's been going on for about 10 minutes now... Could it still be formatting itself?

I don't see anything in HTOP that would indicate any Knoppix/HD CPU usage..

Knoppix seems to have lost the ability to communicate with the drive:

knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ sudo fdisk /dev/sda
fdisk: unable to read /dev/sda: Input/output error
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ sudo fdisk /dev/sda1
fdisk: unable to read /dev/sda1: Input/output error
knoppix@Microknoppix:~$ sudo parted -l
Error: /dev/sda: unrecognised disk label                                  

Warning: Unable to open /dev/fd0 read-write (Read-only file system).  /dev/fd0
has been opened read-only.
Error: /dev/fd0: unrecognised disk label                                  

Warning: Unable to open /dev/sr0 read-write (Read-only file system).  /dev/sr0
has been opened read-only.
Error: /dev/sr0: unrecognised disk label                                  

Error: /dev/zram0: unrecognised disk label                                

Warning: Unable to open /dev/cloop0 read-write (Read-only file system).   
/dev/cloop0 has been opened read-only.
Error: /dev/cloop0: unrecognised disk label                               

What should I do?

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  • If the HDD is clicking it means there has been a mechanical failure. While the format might have placed it in that state there isn't much you can do. The previous failures WERE caused by this mechanical problem, the clicking sound, just means its worst off then it was.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:31
  • should i just reboot the machine? I was kind of just waiting it out to see if the clicking would stop and it would be done with some magical process that fixes itself
    – tmsimont
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:32
  • Its not going to "fix" itself. Its a mechanical problem. It might stop clicking but the drive has failed, it should not be used, even if it stops clicking it will fail in this way again guaranteed.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:41
  • dang ok - any idea what could cause this kind of issue?
    – tmsimont
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:44

2 Answers 2

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I was also getting the 'Attempt to read block from filesystem resulted in short read while creating root dir" for the ext3 and ext2 format types.

And this was while using gparted with a couple different drives. One was a 250GB SSD drive and other was a 750GB hard drive. At first I thought the 750GB hard drive might have developed some bad sectors, but when I got the same error with my relatively new 250GB SSD drive, it occurred to me look for other possible causes.

Out of curiosity, I tried switching from using the USB 3.0 port on my computer to using a 2.0 port. And this allowed the formats to go through successfully, for both my 250GB SSD drive and my 750GB hard drive.

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  • Thank you. Switching from usb 3 to usb 2 worked for me. I do not understand a problem though. USB version should be transparent for programs like gparted and mkfs. Commented Jan 23, 2017 at 11:50
-2

It seems that your disk might be damaged from the formatting that you tried to do...It might have erased some important sectors, or have damaged sectors physically. Cannot you even format it yet ?

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  • fdisk still says input/output error. it's also still clicking away.. what do you think the clicking noise is? it's not a bad noise, it's normal disk clicking, like it's reading over its blocks... not sure what it's up to tho
    – tmsimont
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:25
  • This answer doesn't seem to be very helpful. How do you "damage" sectors with data you don't care about. The clicking sound is a sign the drive has had a mechanical failure.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:31
  • clicking on a hard drive is a mechanical problem, i dont see how formatting is going to damage a drive. Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 20:46

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