[ALUG] USB Backup Disk problems

steve-ALUG at hst.me.uk steve-ALUG at hst.me.uk
Fri Apr 21 20:10:47 BST 2017

Hi Geniuses!

I have a 2TB Seagate USB disk that is being used with backuppc to store 
daily backups.  However, almost every day the backup is failing, and 
attempting to ls the drive gives "input/output error". Looking through 
DMESG shows multiple problems reading sectors on the disk, but I've yet 
to find a particular cause.  If I reboot the machine, the drive 
immediately starts working again.  If I fsck it, it reports no errors.  
The disk has two partitions on it, and the 2nd partition is used by 
SimpleBackup, and this seems to work fine. I'm currently backing up the 
backup before I do some more in-depth testing on it, and possibly 
reformat it.  I forgot to mention that both partitions are encrypted.  
Do people think the disk is broken (bad sectors or hardware problems), 
or if not, any idea what's going on?

On to the next problem.  I bought a different 2TB Seagate USB 3 disk 
which I was intending to use to replace the problematic disk.  I managed 
to set up encrypted partitions on the new disk, and configure the 
computer so that they would automatically mount on boot.... so I tried 
to boot the machine and....

the BIOS screen appeared, then it said detecting devices...
The old faulty drive is detected, but then the USB 3 Driver is not 
detected and the machine hangs.
It's simple, with the drive connected at boot, the machine won't boot or 
detect the drive.
Without the USB3 drive connected, the machine boots fine.

I'm guessing that the machine, which is quite old, can't cope with 
something about the new drive, perhaps it's slightly too big (although 
they're both ~2TB), or because it's USB3, and I think the old one is 
USB2.  The old one has a power supply, but the new one doesn't, but I 
tried connecting it via a powered hub, and no difference.

Is there any way round the machine not booting?  I don't think there's a 
updated bios for this old machine.

Any ideas, straws to clutch at?


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