A Few Cables Loose in the Black Box

I was having all kinds of horrible errors on booting my Linux box.

GRUB gave a ‘Geom Error’…


And before it even got that far on one attempt at a start up I got…

ata1.00: SRST failed (errno=-16)

Followed ultimately by

ata1.00: reset failed, giving up

Giving up!

And sometimes it got a bit further into the process and started talking about…

ata1.01: exception Emask 0x50 SAct 0x0 SErr...


udevd[81]: timeout: killing '/sbin/blkid -o udev -p /dev/sda' [219]

and, well, it was all very scary.

Boot sector problems?  GRUB configuration problems? No, sometimes the problems came before GRUB got a look-in.  Hard drive on the way out?  Quite possibly.

But I opened the case and pushed all the cables firmly into their sockets and now it all looks pretty good.  This is exactly the level of hardware modification with which I am comfortable.

SATA is better than IDE (PATA) in a lot of ways, but the cables are more prone to coming loose — the plug clips are often pretty slack and not very substantial.

Hard drive is possibly still on the way out, but boot issue fixed at least.

Moral of the story: Don’t panic.


Bah humbug.


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About Darren

I'm a scientist by training, based in Australia.

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