Endless Data Loss

Roland Smith rsmith at xs4all.nl
Sun Jul 26 09:43:22 UTC 2015

On Fri, Jul 24, 2015 at 11:33:38PM -0800, CK wrote:
> Hi readers,
> In the last 2 years, I have upgraded from 4.11 to 9.2 then 9.3
> releases, and since upgrading to the 9 series, I have experienced
> endless data loss - every time I reboot my computer, massive numbers
> of files vanish - 20 - 50 - a lot.  And it's driving me crazy.
> I don't expect to get any fixes here, but something is wrong
> with the code - it's happening on ATA drives, USB flash drives,
> a few of each kind.  So, it's definitely not a hardware problem.

I wouldn't be so sure. Your hardware is old. That can cause problems.

How did you perform the "upgrade"? Did you keep the old UFS1 partition or did
you make a backup of your data, wiped the disk and did a full install of 9.x?
(you can check filesystem formats with "dumpfs")

Do the problems persist if you boot with the generic kernel?

> I wrote about this 2 months ago or so, and was advised to run
> a utility on my hard drives - and the utility showed some wear,
> but this is happening on USB sticks and cards as well, and
> has nothing to do with old ATA drive wear.
> I searched Google for data loss on FreeBSD, and I see that many
> others have this problem as well.  After 20 years, I am not keen
> on switching away from FreeBSD, but the data loss is just killing me.
> Every day, I am losing dozens of files.  I am backing up, but that
> is not the best solution, because it's easy to backup and mirror
> the data loss as well, and it's a pain to constantly have the
> stress of not knowing if critical files exist or not, and
> constantly matching directories/archives to see which are complete
> and current.

If you have softupdates and journaling enabled, do *not* try to dump a live
filesystem. There is a bug that screws things up in this case. Either switch
off journaling or go to single user mode and remount the filesystems as
read-only before dumping.

> PS. One thing I notice is that if I ever ensure correct permissions
> of the .sujournal files, but setting them to the same values that
> they already have, upon reboot I get an error message to the effect
> "timestamp on journal doesn't match last mount time", and then there
> is a fallback to a full fsck, most always followed by some cleared
> inodes and file loss.

If you set the permissions, you access the file, altering the timestamp.
*Why* do you think you need to do this?
AFAIK, you should not mess with these files!

R.F.Smith                                   http://rsmith.home.xs4all.nl/
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