Boot-time hard drive errors

Ronald F. Guilmette rfg at
Sun Feb 24 21:33:18 UTC 2013

I have a somewhat eclectic system, currently running (or at any rate,
trying to run) 9.1-RELEASE.  The system in question contains three
drives, to wit:

   <WDC WD1002FAEX-00Z3A0 05.01D05> ATA-8 SATA 3.x device
   <ST3500320AS SD1A> ATA-8 SATA 1.x device
   <Hitachi HTS541010A9E680 JA0OA480> ATA-8 SATA 3.x device

Previously, I had the ST3500320AS in this system, along with one other
entirely different Seagate drive, i.e. one not shown in the list above.
(Also, I was previously running 8.3-RELEASE and only recently updated
to 9.1-RELEASE.)

Since I reconfigured the system to its current state, i.e. with the set
of three drives listed above, whenever I reboot the system, about 50%
of the time, when the boot process gets down to the point where it
would ordinarily be printing out the messages relating to ada0, ada1,
etc. suddenly I start to get a massive and apparently endless stream
of error messages, apparently relating to one of the drives listed
above, but the stream actually alternates between two consecutive
error messages, both undoubtedly related to each other.

The boot process never completes, and I am just left staring at a
screen that's displaying, in very rapid succession, first the one
error message and then the other, and then the first one again, and
then the second one again, and on and on like that.

Unfortunately, the two error messages are being printed on the screen
so fast (and alternating, as described above) that I cannot even read
them, but I could just barely make out that they seem to relate to ada2...
well, anyway, one or another of the hard drives.

I do not know the proper way to rectify whatever is causing these "flaky"
errors.  I use the term "flaky" because, as I have said, this boot-time
problem only seems to occur maybe about 50% of the time, and the rest
of the time when I boot up there is no problem whatsoever.

Because I am able to boot up successfully, with no problems whatsoever,
a significant fraction of the time, I am inclined to think that whatever
is causing the failure is not actually a hardware fault.  (And by the way,
the WDC drive and the Hitachi drive are both practically brand new.  That
doesn't prove anything, of course, but it does make me think that they
are unlikely to have serious hardware faults.)

I would report this problem by filing a standard PR, but as I've said
above, I can't even read the error messages, because they are being
printed in such rapid succession, so I'm not sure that filing a PR
would be useful to anybody.  I mean what would it say?  That I'm getting
some unspecified failure at boot time that seems to relate to the hard
drives in this system?  That kind of PR would clearly not be very helpful.

Has anyone else ever encountered symptoms like those I have listed
above, either with 9.1-RELEASE or with any other version of FreeBSD?


More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list