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system errors and update manager

I just started having this problem about 30 minutes ago.  I am running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, and the update manager came up while I was working saying I had important security updates to do with Firefox.  I told it to run, but it does that thing where it greys out the window because the system's thinking too hard, and wouldn't work.  Eventually, it came up with a box that said there was a system error detected (no idea what), and the CPU was making a weird dah daaah dah sound while doing nothing.  I killed the process for update manager, retried it with the same results, restarted the computer twice (each time, it made the noise while logging on and took much longer than it usually does).  Update manager still will not work properly, and when I try to run synaptic, it asks me to authenticate but never brings up the window.  I have no idea what's going on, but it doesn't sound good.  Any ideas?


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 22nd, 2012 04:05 pm (UTC)
I'm willing to bet you've got a hardware issue, not software, and maybe a serious one. I think you might have a failing HDD, and should back everything up immediately and investigate it.
Nov. 22nd, 2012 05:43 pm (UTC)
I was afraid it might be something like that; the computer's over five years old, so it could be. Thanks for the help, though!
Nov. 23rd, 2012 08:10 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think the Dah Daaah Dah sounds is the main sign.

When hard drives go physically bad, they typically make strange noises. 5 years old is not really that long for one to last, I still have some Maxtor and Seagate Hard Drives that I've used 24/7 since 2003-ish (they are 120GB drives I use in the security computer I have setup running Zoneminder to record/monitor my security cameras.

One thing you can do to check is boot up with a Ubuntu cd/dvd, open a terminal and run either "fsck" or "e2fsck" (Do not rune either of these on a file system that is mounted). Both commands check the file system for errors, though I have not yet figured out what the specific differences are. I think e2fsck has more/better support for ext4 system that is the default install for newer versions of Ubuntu...
Nov. 23rd, 2012 11:47 pm (UTC)
Okay, I'll try the disk boot thing tomorrow; all the hard drives I've had go bad before now made different noises; this one was new! It's a Dell laptop; I'm amazed it's made it this long. Of course, now I have to decide whether it's better to just get a new hard drive for the same laptop or get a new laptop. I know which is a cheaper option, just not which is better. :(
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )