theoretical question about disks and os

Matthew Dillon dillon at
Fri Apr 1 18:41:37 PST 2005

:Is it possible for a poorly written disk driver/filesystem to trash 
:blocks on a hard disk? By trashing I mean that subsequent access result 
:in an i/o error, aven accross reboot.

    No.  It's possible to purposefully blow up a disk by e.g. garbaging
    up the defect list and doing a format.  It isn't possible to do it
    accidently with normal reads and writes.

:I have such a disk where it happened a few years ago. Curiously, the 
:damaged blocks where the first blocks of partitions that where mounted. 
:The maker's test software says the drive's ok, as well as s.m.a.r.t., 
:although it needed a "reformat" with the same tool to get rid of the bad 

    It's unlikely that software had anything to do with the damage.  More
    likely the disk overheated or got jostled or had a failure just as 
    the filesystem happened to be doing a write to those sectors.

					Matthew Dillon 
					<dillon at xxxxxxxxxxxxx>

:I would think it must be some kind of hardware failure, but a recent 
:discussion about linux filesystems makes me wonder... linux was running 
:on that disk, after all, with reaiserfs. And it was 3 years ago.

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