FSCK to the rescue – Duplicate of bad block in use!

This morning my Ubuntu OS was running really slowly, and eventually Firefox become unresponsive. I was forced to hit the power switch to reboot, but the reboot failed, due to a “bad block” and duplicates. All a bit worrying. This morning I could get nothing to work, and the instructions onscreen were a bit of a read herring, telling me that it could not find apt, and that I needed to “apt-get install apt” to fix the problem.

Actually the problem started when Ubuntu did a forced disk check, as one had not been done for 180 days. But the check failed (this is copied from the screen, may have some errors):

Check failed:
Duplicate of bad block in use!

So I then did


which gave this:

Pass 1: Checking inodes, blocks and sizes


Running additional passes to resolve blocks claimed by more than one inode….
Pass 1B: Rescanning…
Multiply-claimed blocks in inode 7: 8 16 73
Multiply-claimed blocks in inode 3387409: 73
Multiply-claimed blocks in inode 3452049: 1
Multiply-claimed blocks in inode 3452051: 8
Multiply-claimed blocks in inode 3452052: 16
Pass 1C: Scanning directories for indoes with multiply-claimed blocks
Pass 1D: Reconciling multiply-claimed blocks
(There are 4 inodes containing multiply claimed blocks)

File /usr/src/linux-headers-2.6.20-15-generic/include/config/8139too/8128.h (inode #3387409, mod time Sun Apr 15 06:03:37 2007)
has 1 multiply-claimed block(s), shared with 1 file(s): (inode #7, mod time Thu Oct 4 22:19:56 2007)
Clone multiply-claimed blocks?

I said yes to this and then a few more…..

Pass 2 through to Pass 5: Checking group summary information
Free blocks wrong for group #1 (29652, counted=2964
Which ends in

/dev/hda1: ***** FILE SYSTEM WAS MODIFIED *****
/dev/hda1: ***** REBOOT LINUX *****
/dev/hda1: 188463/4807488 files (1.1% non-contiguous), 4068761/9612886 blocks

So I reboot, but then get


Could not start the X server due to some internal error.

I was thinking, maybe I will just reinstall – if I can recover my web files (not backed up for a while though). But I tried fsck, and after agreeing to all changes, and rebooting, it worked OK again. Phew.

Why did this occur?
Should we run a disk check on a regular basis?
Can I fix this somehow?
Could the error have been caused by a security breach?

It has been suggested that the problem could have been caused by a disk not being unmounted properly, or a knackered HDD, or a problem with memory. With my old pc, it could be all three. Maybe time for a hardware upgrade.

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