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I've never had one of these before. Is this bad?

S.M.A.R.T Errors on /dev/sda
From Command: /usr/sbin/smartctl -q errorsonly -H -l selftest -l error /dev/sda
ATA Error Count: 17 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
Error 17 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 389 hours (16 days + 5 hours)
Error 16 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 384 hours (16 days + 0 hours)
Error 15 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 383 hours (15 days + 23 hours)
Error 14 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 383 hours (15 days + 23 hours)
Error 13 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 381 hours (15 days + 21 hours)
----END /dev/sda-- 
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I have seen such issues caused by things other than the drive itself (such as the controller, or other devices on the same bus). Without seeing exactly what the error is, its hard to tell. You can run smartctl -l error /dev/sda to get more info on what those errors were. –  Patrick May 27 '12 at 21:43
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

Try rebooting, and running a long test on that drive. Try running "badblocks" too. And try getting a more verbose error output from smartctl (to see which error it was).

It could be just a bad block caused by a physical bump, and marking the block as bad, and skipping it, will "fix" it. If there are more then one bad blocks, at different parts of the drive, it could mean material problems (or anything else), and that the bad blocks are spreading, and you'll be getting data-loss (this is possible with one bad block too ofcourse, and it too can spread).

Any other errors are really hard to diagnose (I/O error, could be a bad block, firmware problem, overheating problem, stuck head, bad connection, bad power input,...)

General advice, if it's in warranty, any S.M.A.R.T. error would be a good cause for replacement.

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How do you run badblocks? –  Tiffany Walker May 27 '12 at 18:13
    
read "man badblocks" It should be something like "badblocks -v /dev/sda", but read the man page, since badblocks supports write-mode too (the mode which overwrites all your data) –  mulaz May 27 '12 at 18:19
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