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Root partition stuck in read-only mode.

I'm having a problem with my testing+unstable system, and
I'm not sure whether it's a hardware or software problem.  It
has rendered my system virtually useless.  But before I start
fooling around with hardware, I'd like to see if my problem might
be familiar to any of you, and if perhaps there is some sort of
known fix for it, software-wise.

The problem is that yesterday, my root file partition started booting
up read-only.  Because /var and /tmp are on that partition, my system
is virtually useless.

I haven't made any kernel changes for more than two weeks, and I
have booted up numerous times with my 2.4.20-686-smp kernel without
a single problem before yesterday.

I have a Dell 530 box with dual Xeon 1700MHz processors.

I have two 17G SCSI disks:  SEAGATE model ST318451LW, Rev: 0003,
Type: Direct-Access.  I have an Adaptec controler (I'm not sure
what model), and I went through the SCSI verification (accessible
at boot-up time via Ctrl-A), and both disks verify fine ... no
bad blocks, no errors of any kind.

I get numerous "read-only file system" errors on boot-up, and then
the system freezes for a long time.  But finally, it unfreezes and
the boot continues limpingly, until I finally get a login prompt on
the console.  As you probably  surmise, I cannot bring up X, but at
least I can run simple things from the console.

A while ago, I had changed my /etc/fstab by commenting out and
replacing my root partition mount, as follows:

  #/dev/sda2   /      ext3   errors=remount-ro     0 1
  /dev/sda2    /      ext3                         0 1

Since the "errors=remount-ro" line is commented out, I don't
see how this could be causing my problem ... or could it?

I'm writing you from my webmail account via my (ARGGH!)
Windows-based laptop, but at least my Linux machine is nearby
and I can run a few diagnostics on it.

Does any of this sound familiar?  Can any of you suggest some
diagnostics that I can run that might help me zero in on the

As I mentioned, I'm not sure if this is a hardware or software
problem ... but I want to eliminate the software before I start
taking my machine apart.

Thanks in advance for any help you folks can give me on this.

 Lloyd Zusman
 God bless you.

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