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server with debian 3.0 randomly shuts down when booting


i'm running a server with debian woody testing / unstable.
Base install with shorewall, nothing else. (2.4.18 bf24 kernel)
IDE harddisk (ext3 partitions), SCSI cdrom, ISA SB AWE64
When i recently came home i couldn't access the net. After some 
checking i found out that my server was down. I thought it was a 
power cut that had caused this to happen. When i tried to reboot 
the system it would suddenly shutdown at various points in the 
startup procedure. After several fruitless tries, it took iso binary 1 
and booted from that with rescbf24 root=/dev/hda2. This also
failed several times but then i went through the whole startup
procedure and i could finally get my server up and running. 
But apparently, the problem is persistant: it has shutdown several
times over the last couple of times and i keep having problems
getting to boot my system. I now can't start it up and have
to access the net by plugging the server network cable in the
network card of my computer. Anyway, the machine previously
had suse 7.2 installed on it and there it happened also once 
or twice. It seems as if something in the kernel or the modules
doesn't like the hardware of my server :-)
I could remove the soundblast since my server really doesn't
need one.

Does anybody know what could cause this (with the limited 
details i have given. also now i can't access kern.log) and how i
could solve this? How could i try to boot it and get the 
appropriate logs to check what's going on? What logs should
i hunt for?

I'm thinking of a reinstall with ext2 instead of ext3 to see if
this makes any difference since it seems to reboot when it
accesses one of the partitions. Could a bad sector of some sort
be causing this? I did run a check on all the partitions when i
installed this server. Anyway, i'm clueless so any help is 

Thanks for any help,

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