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[OT] Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux, dual boot, HDD partitions, and virtual machines

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  • [OT] Windows 10, Ubuntu Linux, dual boot, HDD partitions, and virtual machines

    Recently, I attempted to use my 2-1/2 year old Win10 Toshiba Satellite laptop as my primary machine, planning to retire my six year old Win8 Dell laptop. I found it acting very sluggish and the process manager reportedf 100% disc usage, but there was probably 800 GB free. For a while I was able to connect my computers via the WiFi home network, and transferred some files, but eventually the machine would not even boot. When I tried the Toshiba service app in BIOS, the only option was to erase the disk. I was able to install Linux Ubuntu, and I ran a quick disk check, which reported OK, but the long version took several hours, and as the last 90% was finishing, it reported failure. Something like 1200 sectors were found bad (which is really not much on a 1 TB disk.

    I found a two-year old thread discussing some of the issues:
    http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...inux+dual+boot

    So, I bought a 480 GB SSD and installed it in the Toshiba laptop. I used an ISO DVD of Windows 10 to load the OS on the new disk, after allocating 400 GB to Windows and a 68 GB unassigned partition for Ubuntu. Once I had installed Windows 10, I used an ISO DVD of Ubuntu 18.04.1 to install Linux on the smaller partition. I was able to set up Thunderbird for email and Firefox for the browser, which I am now using (with Ubuntu).

    I tried connecting the 1 TB drive to my Win8 machine using a SATA - USB adapter, expecting it to show up as a disk drive, but it did not. The device manager showed the drive as working correctly, but it could not be "mounted" as a drive. However, doing the same thing on the Toshiba running Linux, I was able to adjust the size of the Linux partition (using "Disks" utility), to justy 100 GB, and then I created a new partition with NTFS file system as used by Windows. When I plugged it into the Win8 laptop, it showed up as drive E: with 465 GB of space, and I was able to transfer files into it and read them.

    Here is a way to use a utility that allows Windows to access Ubuntu EXT4 partitions:
    https://getintodevices.blogspot.com/...s-windows.html

    I don't know just why the drive failed and if it is reliable enough to use as a backup drive. Maybe there is a utility to perform a comprehensive test on this drive.
    http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
    Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
    USA Maryland 21030

  • #2
    Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
    I don't know just why the drive failed and if it is reliable enough to use as a backup drive. Maybe there is a utility to perform a comprehensive test on this drive.
    I suggest you use the smartctl utility to investigate the SMART self-tests and health info that every drive maintains. It is part of the free smartmontools package. I use it under linux via the command line, but it is available for windows

    You can use the tool to query the current status and health, run built in diagnostic tests (typically short, long and conveyance). The package will monitor the health of your drives on an ongoing basis. It can often inform of pending failures.

    Comment


    • #3
      You might try Spinrite. I have used it in the past with success, no guarantees, but worth a try.
      see:

      https://www.grc.com/sr/spinrite.htm

      Good luck
      paul
      ARS W9PCS

      Esto Vigilans

      Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
      but you may have to

      Comment


      • #4
        It looks like SpinRite is based on MSDOS, so I don't know if it will run under Linux Ubuntu. I think the SMART self-tests are part of the "Disks" utility, and I ran checks on file system and benchmark on the 1 TB drive on the USB port, and they seemed OK. Only the partitions of the installed SSD were reported as healthy, and I think the more intensive tests must be run directly and not through the USB adapter. I remember doing the short and long diagnostics when the 1 TB drive was running Linux in the laptop, and it showed a failure on the long test.

        There are some suggestions here:
        https://askubuntu.com/questions/1099...agnostic-tools

        and:
        http://hddguru.com/software/
        http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
        Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
        USA Maryland 21030

        Comment


        • #5
          Several things from your OP made me cringe. However if it's working then power to you.

          I think a destructive badblocks run is probably your best best on "testing" the disk, but I don't believe bad physical media was the issue.

          Also check posted stats on the net for MTF on your specific model of drive, and if it's near End Of Life on the bell curve, then don't trust your data to it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I would query the drive with smartctl -a devicename (like "smartctl -a /dev/sda > /tmp/outputsavefile") and post the output.

            The output will provide a lot of historical health information that has already been saved on the drive, including the results of any past smart tests. Those tests are absolutely mandatory on any new drive. It may have been fine when it left the factory but not after it was launched in shipping.

            USB connectivity is provided via an interface board between the drive and PC. That board doesn't always support all normal drive functions, like these diagnostics. In recent years those boards have improved, and the diag software has improved to work around the quirks. But it doesn't always work, and not in every operating system.

            Destructive write testing is important, both for new drives and suspect drives. It is a hassle. And it takes a long time on USB interfaces, especially usb 2.0.

            Some of us have our own scripts to do this, with checksums, etc. Of course there are more user friendly utilities. With external enclosures the drives often don't get adequate cooling, especially not over hours of use. It is important to make sure the drive is vertically oriented and access to the vents is completely open. Some people even put a fan on the drive if they are going to light it up for hours.

            Before and after the holiday there were great - and very brief - sales on large capacity external disks at B-buy. I just bought an 8TB external for $130. I thought about posting the sale here, but there really are other places for that and I don't want to turn OT sales into a thing here. That's $16 per TB. These are the latest and greatest. The drives are filled with helium. The drive cases are welded shut to try and contain the helium. Though the helium will actually diffuse through the metal of the case. How's that for storage paranoia? What's that hissing sound? Am I losing my He? There is even a drive parameter that reports the status of the helium.

            The science of storage, and constantly pushing the envelope, is incredibly fascinating - materials science, electronics, control strategies to position, error detection and correction, computing power to do all that realtime, reliability, and then commoditization at a cheap price point. Add to that the tremendous race between the manufacturers (and is it any surprise that the industry has consolidated?).

            I will probably pick up a couple of usb powered small fan to set on the top of this and my other external drives when I am doing long duration transfers. Cool drives are happy drives. The He does make me nervous. I looked and there is no schraeder valve to top it off :-P

            I have a bunch of aging drives and this is a good way to snapshot them. It also gives me a bit of room to try and consolidate too many copies of stuff, and backups that included junk. If your hobbies or work include the production of audio, video, and film scans, it is easy to get into lots of terabytes.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Glug View Post
              Before and after the holiday there were great - and very brief - sales on large capacity external disks at B-buy. I just bought an 8TB external for $130. I thought about posting the sale here, but there really are other places for that and I don't want to turn OT sales into a thing here. That's $16 per TB. These are the latest and greatest. The drives are filled with helium. The drive cases are welded shut to try and contain the helium. Though the helium will actually diffuse through the metal of the case. How's that for storage paranoia? What's that hissing sound? Am I losing my He? There is even a drive parameter that reports the status of the helium.
              Did you shuck them and find WD RED's in there? I bought 10 of 8TB WD easystores from B-buy ~2 years ago knowing they contained 8TB Helium WD REDs w/NAS firmware. I saved around $2k shucking the WD REDs for my QNAP server:

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
                Did you shuck them and find WD RED's in there?
                Not at this time. I need to re-org some old backup drives, refresh some archives, and semi-retire drives. It all takes time. The storage density roadmaps for the next 5-6 years are pretty encouraging.

                What are your helium status levels, and do they vary across your array? Curious if they have moved off the initial level. I still need to dig into the basis of that metric is. I read some mentions about the max number of drives per enclosure, due to vibration, but haven't had a chance to dig into it, since that's down the road for me. I have had some 10 drive systems in the past. Those are on the refresh and retire list.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Glug View Post
                  Not at this time. I need to re-org some old backup drives, refresh some archives, and semi-retire drives. It all takes time. The storage density roadmaps for the next 5-6 years are pretty encouraging.

                  What are your helium status levels, and do they vary across your array? Curious if they have moved off the initial level. I still need to dig into the basis of that metric is. I read some mentions about the max number of drives per enclosure, due to vibration, but haven't had a chance to dig into it, since that's down the road for me. I have had some 10 drive systems in the past. Those are on the refresh and retire list.
                  Helium is reported for in SMART ID#22 and it's 100 on all drives. The threshold for errors is 5. My NAS considers ID#22 an unknown attribute. I guess QNAP hasn't added a description for ID#22 yet in their software that displays the SMART data for me on each drive.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                    It looks like SpinRite is based on MSDOS, so I don't know if it will run under Linux Ubuntu. I think the SMART self-tests are part of the "Disks" utility, and I ran checks on file system and benchmark on the 1 TB drive on the USB port, and they seemed OK. Only the partitions of the installed SSD were reported as healthy, and I think the more intensive tests must be run directly and not through the USB adapter. I remember doing the short and long diagnostics when the 1 TB drive was running Linux in the laptop, and it showed a failure on the long test.
                    <<snip>>
                    It is a DOS based tool, it uses FreeDOS
                    see the extract from the FAQ's:
                    ********************
                    SpinRite is self-contained, including its own bootable FreeDOS operating system. It can be used on any operating system and any file system. This means it can run on drives formatted with Windows XP's/Vista's/Windows 7's NTFS and all other older FAT formats (in addition to all Linux, Novell, and all other file systems.) It can be used to pre-qualify and certify unformatted hard drives before their first use. Drives on non-PC platforms, such as Apple Macintosh or TiVo, may be temporarily relocated to a PC motherboard for data recovery, maintenance and repair by SpinRite.

                    SpinRite provides complete interaction with IDE-interface PATA (parallel ATA) and SATA (Serial ATA) drives, and it can also be used with any other type of drive — SCSI, USB, 1394/Firewire — that can be made visible to DOS through the addition of controller BIOS or add-on DOS drivers. To obtain the best performance, IDE drives can be temporarily removed from their external USB or Firewire cases and attached directly to the PC motherboard.
                    Note: See the SATA knowledgebase article for specific information about SpinRite v6.0's operation with SATA drives and controllers

                    I purchased and downloaded the SpinRite program file. Now what?

                    SpinRite is a single program file that offers completely different services when it is run under Windows or DOS. It should first be run under Windows to choose and create some form of bootable media. You can choose to create a self-booting floppy diskette, a bootable CD-R ISO image file, or to prepare a USB flash drive or other bootable device for booting.

                    Then, when the media prepared by the Windows-side of SpinRite is booted, the FreeDOS operating system included within SpinRite will boot, and it will, in turn, start SpinRite to begin performing data recovery, maintenance, and repair.

                    So . . . after you download the SpinRite.exe program, run it under Windows to have it create a bootable media format of your choice. Then shutdown and restart the target system, booting it with the SpinRite bootable media to start the FreeDOS operating system which will automatically run SpinRite under FreeDOS.
                    *******************
                    You will need a Windows system to create the SpinRite disk, but ultimately SinRite is a stand alone tool.
                    paul
                    ARS W9PCS

                    Esto Vigilans

                    Remember, just because you can doesn't mean you should...
                    but you may have to

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I've been using Linux for a few days now, and I like it. But there are some things for which I need Windows, particularly MS Access for various databases, my Mentor PADS PCB software, and TurboCAD. However, TurboCAD 15 will not run on Win10, and PADS is difficult to install. I have a 10 year old Toshiba Satellite laptop with Win7, on which I replaced the keyboard, and it works pretty well, so I might just use that for the Windows apps. I might make a full system image on an external backup drive, and reinstall a clean copy of Windows 7 Home Premium.

                      I have thought about installing the possibly wonky 1 TB Toshiba drive from my newer laptop, but for now I'll probably just keep it as an external USB drive and use it for a secondary backup, or something. Maybe I'll run SpinRite on it to see if it finds any problems. Maybe some bad sectors were discovered and marked unusable.
                      http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                      Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                      USA Maryland 21030

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I got introduced to linux via my cnc machine retrofits using linuxcnc. Years back I put it on a old laptop and gave it a test drive for surfing and email. After that I made the switch and have never looked back. The reliability and freedom from malware alone make it great. I have not had a virus protection software in probably 6-7 years now. I still have a windows machine in my shop for Fusion 360 cad/cam but that is all it is used for and I have it locked down at windows 7 level with no further updates being allowed (via software firewall, Comodo). Its only "allowed" to connect to Autodesk on the web for fusion 360 purposes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by PStechPaul View Post
                          I've been using Linux for a few days now, and I like it. But there are some things for which I need Windows,
                          You don't mention VM's here, so I assume you aren't using them. Virtual machines are the solution. You can run any version of windows on top of Linux, or on top of another version of windows. It is awesome. Of course you can run Linux on windows. You can run windows 7 on windows 10.

                          You get complete control of resource allocation to each VM. Whether it can see the network, how much hard drive and memory and CPU it gets, whether any changes made during the session are permanent or only temporary.

                          You can easily take those VM images to another machine in the future. This also allows you to run older versions of windows on much faster modern hardware.

                          You can run multiple VMs simultaneously. Once you create a base VM with the OS of your choice, you trivially clone that. Then you can add patches or whatever specifics are required. You don't even need to waste disk space on each new cloned OS - it will only use space for the differences. These VMs are also much easier to backup. Instead of an entire system, you can just copy an image.

                          VMs make it much easier to separate the common OS parts from the important part - your data.

                          Got a program from 1997 or 1987 that is really important to you and runs on old flakey hardware? VM it.

                          The corporate versions of win7 and XP are great. They install very quickly, with few if any prompts. The hardware specifics and conflicts are hidden, so that is eliminated. Like most people I have a bunch of windows licenses that I no longer use, so I do not hesitate to use those versions.

                          For many many years CPUs have been specifically designed to run virtual machines. It is part of the architecture. So these VMs can run very fast, often faster than the original hardware of the era.

                          The Amazon cloud and even their own websites? It all runs in VMs. It is proven technology and is completely reliable.

                          There are free VM systems that work very well. Virtual box is one, and it is easy to install and use. There are others, and some will have better performance.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Yep!

                            At work we have some old crappy applications for our laser engravers that will only run on windows xp and reluctantly on Windows 7 32 bit version. As we are flushing the the last remnants of win7 out (win 10 everywhere at the desktop level), the remaining "problem" applications are being VM'd... All our server infrastructure runs as VM's.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was thinking about installing Wine on my Linux machine to run the problematic applications (TurboCAD, MS Access, and PADS), but from what I've found, there will likely be problems. I've also wanted to try Virtual Box, and perhaps that will be my next move. It's a bit of a pain to log off Linux and reboot with Win10 just for MS Access, which is where I have my encrypted passwords as well as personal and business accounting systems. I was able to get PADS installed on Win10 (and Win8), but it took some doing to get their licensing system (USB "Hasp" dongle) working. It was reasonably easy on Win7. And TurboCAD will not run on Win10 (or Win 8.1, but Win 8.0 is OK).

                              I have a licensed OEM copy of Win7 Home Premium running on my old Toshiba laptop, but the product key is on a sticker on the bottom and it is mostly illegible. I also have Win7 Pro on a desktop HP that I bought for cheap but I don't know if I can use that product key if it is tied to the hardware. I don't have full retail install disks for anything (except Win Me), so I don't know if I need to purchase a Windows OS to run it under Virtual Box. I've seen many copies of Win7 and XP for sale on eBay, some as cheap as $5 for downloads without media (which are most likely pirated and full of malware), or $30-$80 for copies with physical media and product keys usually provided with a junk MoBo or HDD to supposedly satisfy Microsoft licensing requirements.

                              https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microsoft-W...d/323558046754 (Win7 Pro $40)

                              https://www.ebay.com/itm/Windows-XP-...t/252527391959 (XPsp2 $30 for refurbishing PCs)

                              https://www.ebay.com/itm/Microsoft-W...m/233004687358 (Win7 Home $65 full retail)
                              http://pauleschoen.com/pix/PM08_P76_P54.png
                              Paul , P S Technology, Inc. and MrTibbs
                              USA Maryland 21030

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