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Be warned if your hard drive is about to die!

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
About time I contributed something I guess.

You probably already know about the SMART technology that's built into your hard drive. It's supposed to warn you if your hard drive is about to croak so that hopefully you'll have enough time to rescue your files before the drive is completely unusable.

Today I'm going to tell you how to set up SMART monitoring on your Linux box, how to have it e-mail you whenever there's a problem with your drive, and how to run drive self-tests. It should take you about ten minutes to set up.

(This guide is for Linux. If you have Windows or Mac OS X, try GSmartControl to monitor your hard disk's SMART attributes and run self-tests.)

The reason I'm writing this in the first place is I forgot to set it up on my laptop and the drive died despite three weeks of warnings in the system log which I never noticed. I was fortunate enough to get most of my files off but I did lose some MP3s and a movie. The only good news there is I got it replaced for free.

Simple SMART Monitoring

The GNOME Disk Utility included in Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 will display detailed SMART status for all the drives in your system. On Fedora, open Applications > System Tools > Disk Utility. On Ubuntu, open System > Administration > Disk Utility. When you highlight one of your drives, you will see a message stating whether your disk is healthy or not.



When you click on More Information you will see the detailed SMART data for your drive and be able to determine if any specific component is failing, as well as conduct a self-test.



For a deeper understanding of how your hard drive monitors itself, and to have your system automatically email you if your drive develops problems, keep reading.

More Sophisticated SMART Monitoring

All of the commands here require root access, so the first thing you want to do is open a Terminal with root access. Get a root Terminal by opening a regular Terminal and then running the following command:

Code:
# Ubuntu:
sudo -s

# Fedora:
su -
Everything from this point forward assumes you have a root terminal open.

Setting Up SMART Monitoring

The first thing to do is to install the smartmontools package which contains everything you need. How you do this varies but it's usually pretty straightforward. If it's already installed, just run the second command to make sure it starts when you boot up the computer.

Code:
# Ubuntu:
apt-get install mailx smartmontools # install package
update-rc.d smartmontools defaults # start at boot time

# Fedora:
yum install smartmontools # install package
chkconfig smartmontools on # start at boot time
On Ubuntu you might also have to edit the /etc/default/smartmontools file and remove the # in front of "start_smartd=yes" if it's there.

Code:
# Ubuntu:
gedit /etc/default/smartmontools # check the file for start_smartd=yes
Now it's time to edit the /etc/smartd.conf file.

Code:
gedit /etc/smartd.conf
Delete anything that's in the file and make a file containing only this:

Code:
DEVICESCAN -m your@email.address
(DEVICESCAN must be in all caps. The rest should not be.) This tells the Linux SMART daemon to autodetect your hard drives and to e-mail you at the address you put in whenever anything changes. It's very detailed so you'll get more and more email as your drive nears its inevitable death.

Now we have the SMART daemon smartd set to start whenever you boot up the system and to e-mail you detailed reports of your drive's health. All that's left to do is to start it up!

Code:
# Ubuntu:
/etc/init.d/smartmontools start

# Fedora:
service smartd start
Drive Information

SMART will also give you a lot of detailed information about the drive, which you can view by doing:

Code:
smartctl -a /dev/sda
Use /dev/sda for your first IDE/SATA/SCSI hard drive, /dev/sdb for the second, etc. On older Linux systems your IDE drives will be /dev/hda, /dev/hdb, etc., and only SATA/SCSI drives will use /dev/sd*. This command will identify the drive in question so you can be sure of which device corresponds to which hard drive.

Here's an example from my own hard drive:

Code:
smartctl version 5.38 [x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Model Family:     Western Digital Caviar Second Generation Serial ATA family
Device Model:     WDC WD2500KS-00MJB0
Serial Number:    WD-WCANK4057361
Firmware Version: 02.01C03
User Capacity:    250,059,350,016 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   7
ATA Standard is:  Exact ATA specification draft version not indicated
Local Time is:    Sat Sep  6 03:44:42 2008 EDT
SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
See vendor-specific Attribute list for marginal Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x82)Offline data collection activity
was completed without error.
Auto Offline Data Collection: Enabled.
Self-test execution status:      (   0)The previous self-test routine completed
without error or no self-test has ever 
been run.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:  (7080) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:  (0x7b) SMART execute Offline immediate.
Auto Offline data collection on/off support.
Suspend Offline collection upon new
command.
Offline surface scan supported.
Self-test supported.
Conveyance Self-test supported.
Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)Saves SMART data before entering
power-saving mode.
Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)Error logging supported.
General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:  (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:  (  83) minutes.
Conveyance self-test routine
recommended polling time:  (   6) minutes.
SCT capabilities:        (0x103f)SCT Status supported.
SCT Feature Control supported.
SCT Data Table supported.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0003   201   186   021    Pre-fail  Always       -       4916
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       90
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   197   197   140    Pre-fail  Always       -       22
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000f   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   089   089   000    Old_age   Always       -       8553
 10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x0013   100   253   051    Pre-fail  Always       -       0
 11 Calibration_Retry_Count 0x0012   100   253   051    Old_age   Always       -       0
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       84
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   044   022   045    Old_age   Always   FAILING_NOW 56
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   094   072   000    Old_age   Always       -       56
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   199   199   000    Old_age   Always       -       1
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0012   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       0
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0010   200   200   000    Old_age   Offline      -       0
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x003e   200   200   000    Old_age   Always       -       1
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0009   200   200   051    Pre-fail  Offline      -       0

SMART Error Log Version: 1
No Errors Logged

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
No self-tests have been logged.  [To run self-tests, use: smartctl -t]


SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
Here's another example, from the dying hard drive I mentioned at the beginning of this thread:

Code:
smartctl version 5.38 [x86_64-redhat-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-8 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF INFORMATION SECTION ===
Device Model:     SAMSUNG HS122JC
Serial Number:    S18GJ16Q102092
Firmware Version: GQ100-01
User Capacity:    120,034,123,776 bytes
Device is:        In smartctl database [for details use: -P show]
ATA Version is:   6
ATA Standard is:  ATA/ATAPI-6 T13 1410D revision 1
Local Time is:    Sat Aug 30 01:28:29 2008 EDT

==> WARNING: May need -F samsung or -F samsung2 enabled; see manual for details.

SMART support is: Available - device has SMART capability.
SMART support is: Enabled

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: FAILED!
Drive failure expected in less than 24 hours. SAVE ALL DATA.
See vendor-specific Attribute list for failed Attributes.

General SMART Values:
Offline data collection status:  (0x00)Offline data collection activity
was never started.
Auto Offline Data Collection: Disabled.
Self-test execution status:      ( 121)The previous self-test completed having
the read element of the test failed.
Total time to complete Offline 
data collection:  (   0) seconds.
Offline data collection
capabilities:  (0x59) SMART execute Offline immediate.
No Auto Offline data collection support.
Suspend Offline collection upon new
command.
Offline surface scan supported.
Self-test supported.
No Conveyance Self-test supported.
Selective Self-test supported.
SMART capabilities:            (0x0003)Saves SMART data before entering
power-saving mode.
Supports SMART auto save timer.
Error logging capability:        (0x01)Error logging supported.
General Purpose Logging supported.
Short self-test routine 
recommended polling time:  (   2) minutes.
Extended self-test routine
recommended polling time:  (  63) minutes.

SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 4
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  1 Raw_Read_Error_Rate     0x000f   100   021   051    Pre-fail  Always   In_the_past 52231
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0007   092   091   025    Pre-fail  Always       -       2245
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   029   029   000    Old_age   Always       -       718447
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   001   001   010    Pre-fail  Always   FAILING_NOW 691
  9 Power_On_Hours          0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2885
 12 Power_Cycle_Count       0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       221
191 G-Sense_Error_Rate      0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       4372
192 Power-Off_Retract_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       703
194 Temperature_Celsius     0x0022   103   091   000    Old_age   Always       -       45 (Lifetime Min/Max 4/49)
196 Reallocated_Event_Count 0x0032   100   100   000    Old_age   Always       -       2867
197 Current_Pending_Sector  0x0032   001   001   000    Old_age   Always       -       340822684
198 Offline_Uncorrectable   0x0032   081   081   000    Old_age   Always       -       51728038
199 UDMA_CRC_Error_Count    0x0032   089   089   000    Old_age   Always       -       31225975
200 Multi_Zone_Error_Rate   0x0032   088   088   000    Old_age   Always       -       32804553

SMART Error Log Version: 1
Warning: ATA error count 65535 inconsistent with error log pointer 1

ATA Error Count: 65535 (device log contains only the most recent five errors)
CR = Command Register [HEX]
FR = Features Register [HEX]
SC = Sector Count Register [HEX]
SN = Sector Number Register [HEX]
CL = Cylinder Low Register [HEX]
CH = Cylinder High Register [HEX]
DH = Device/Head Register [HEX]
DC = Device Command Register [HEX]
ER = Error register [HEX]
ST = Status register [HEX]
Powered_Up_Time is measured from power on, and printed as
DDd+hh:mm:SS.sss where DD=days, hh=hours, mm=minutes,
SS=sec, and sss=millisec. It "wraps" after 49.710 days.

Error 65535 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 6 hours (0 days + 6 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  00 50 01 00 00 00 e0  

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  00 ff 01 01 00 00 a0 0a      06:03:14.156  NOP [Reserved subcommand]
  c8 ff 01 00 00 00 e0 08      06:03:10.895  READ DMA
  c6 ff 08 00 00 00 e0 08      06:02:54.504  SET MULTIPLE MODE
  10 ff 01 78 a9 1d e0 08      06:02:54.504  RECALIBRATE [OBS-4]
  91 ff 3f 18 79 00 af 08      06:02:54.504  INITIALIZE DEVICE PARAMETERS [OBS-6]

Error 65534 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 6 hours (0 days + 6 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  00 50 f1 00 4f c2 e0  

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  00 d2 01 01 00 00 a0 00      06:02:54.478  NOP [Reserved subcommand]
  b0 d2 f1 00 4f c2 e0 08      06:02:54.433  SMART ENABLE/DISABLE ATTRIBUTE AUTOSAVE
  b0 d8 00 00 4f c2 e0 08      06:02:53.862  SMART ENABLE OPERATIONS
  c6 ff 08 00 00 00 e0 08      06:02:53.862  SET MULTIPLE MODE
  ef 03 45 01 07 00 a0 00      06:02:53.861  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]

Error 65533 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 6 hours (0 days + 6 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  00 50 a9 55 00 00 a0  

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  00 ff 01 01 00 00 a0 00      06:02:45.439  NOP [Reserved subcommand]
  f5 ff a9 55 00 00 a0 00      06:02:45.438  SECURITY FREEZE LOCK
  ec ff aa 55 00 00 a0 00      06:02:45.437  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  00 00 01 01 00 00 a0 00      06:02:40.110  NOP [Abort queued commands]
  e7 00 00 30 9e 13 a0 08      06:02:39.439  FLUSH CACHE

Error 65532 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 6 hours (0 days + 6 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  00 50 00 30 9e 13 a0  

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  00 00 01 01 00 00 a0 00      06:02:40.110  NOP [Abort queued commands]
  e7 00 00 30 9e 13 a0 08      06:02:39.439  FLUSH CACHE
  c8 00 08 29 9e 13 e8 08      06:02:38.438  READ DMA
  c8 00 08 09 9e 13 e8 08      06:02:38.423  READ DMA
  c8 00 10 99 48 c1 ea 08      06:02:38.422  READ DMA

Error 65531 occurred at disk power-on lifetime: 5 hours (0 days + 5 hours)
  When the command that caused the error occurred, the device was active or idle.

  After command completion occurred, registers were:
  ER ST SC SN CL CH DH
  -- -- -- -- -- -- --
  40 51 1a 1f 26 a8 ea  Error: UNC 26 sectors at LBA = 0x0aa8261f = 178791967

  Commands leading to the command that caused the error were:
  CR FR SC SN CL CH DH DC   Powered_Up_Time  Command/Feature_Name
  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  ----------------  --------------------
  c8 00 00 39 25 a8 ea 08      05:43:41.362  READ DMA
  f8 00 00 00 00 00 e0 08      05:43:41.362  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS
  ec 00 00 00 00 00 a0 0a      05:43:41.358  IDENTIFY DEVICE
  ef 03 45 00 00 00 a0 0a      05:43:41.356  SET FEATURES [Set transfer mode]
  f8 00 00 00 00 00 e0 08      05:43:41.356  READ NATIVE MAX ADDRESS

SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
# 1  Extended offline    Completed: read failure       90%      2845         234441640
# 2  Conveyance offline  Aborted by host               90%      2845         -
# 3  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%       580         -
# 4  Extended offline    Completed without error       00%       196         -
# 5  Short offline       Completed without error       00%         5         -
# 6  Short offline       Completed without error       00%         2         -

SMART Selective Self-Test Log Data Structure Revision Number (0) should be 1
SMART Selective self-test log data structure revision number 0
Warning: ATA Specification requires selective self-test log data structure revision number = 1
 SPAN  MIN_LBA  MAX_LBA  CURRENT_TEST_STATUS
    1        0        0  Not_testing
    2        0        0  Not_testing
    3        0        0  Not_testing
    4        0        0  Not_testing
    5        0        0  Not_testing
Selective self-test flags (0x0):
  After scanning selected spans, do NOT read-scan remainder of disk.
If Selective self-test is pending on power-up, resume after 0 minute delay.
All that is just a very long way of saying "Rescue what you can, RMA, and hit Newegg, not necessarily in that order." You'll notice in this example that the drive logged 65535 errors. It maxes out at that point. Like I said, I should have noticed this one long ago, which is why I'm writing this guide. You can also see that the Reallocated_Sector_Ct is "FAILING_NOW" instead of "In_the_past" which means you'll be lucky to rescue most of your files off this particular drive. (I was lucky.)

Running Drive Self-Tests

The smartctl command also allows you to run self-tests on the drive which do various things. The one I'll explain here is the so-called extended offline read test. This test reads every sector of the drive (while it's not busy doing other things for you) and reports if there were any errors. If you have the SMART daemon running (as above) you'll also get an e-mail with the test results if there were any problems.

Code:
smartctl -t long /dev/sda
SMART will give you an estimate of how long the test will take. You can still use your computer while the test runs, but it'll just take a little longer. You can check the test progress at any time using the smartctl -a command shown above. It'll be in there, I promise!

If you don't need all that level of detail and just want to check to see if the drive is dead, or overheating, or whatever, you can try this:

Code:
smartctl -H /dev/sda
You'll get back something like this:

Code:
=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART overall-health self-assessment test result: PASSED
Please note the following marginal Attributes:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
190 Airflow_Temperature_Cel 0x0022   045   022   045    Old_age   Always   FAILING_NOW 55
Oops, my drive has somehow got up to 55°C. I think I need a second fan inside this box.

Hopefully there aren't any errors or omissions in here, but I'll update the post if any are brought to my attention. Even so, don't try to hold me responsible if your drive dies without warning. It's been known to happen to the best of us.

I think I've written enough for now to get you started. I need to go buy a fan now.
LL
LL
Edited by error10 - 11/17/10 at 12:30am
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post #2 of 43
thank you. considering 2 drives of mine have died within 6 months, i'ma set this up asap.

+rep
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post #3 of 43
great thread, thanks
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post #4 of 43
Totally off-topic, but given your avatar and location - are you Michael Hampton?

On-topic, might have a look at this, thankfully there's nothing of value on my laptop, it's all in Google's 'cloud' so to speak. I for one welcome our new alien Google overlords.
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post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman View Post
Totally off-topic, but given your avatar and location - are you Michael Hampton?
Yeah, that's me. What's up?
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post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowman View Post
Totally off-topic, but given your avatar and location - are you Michael Hampton?

On-topic, might have a look at this, thankfully there's nothing of value on my laptop, it's all in Google's 'cloud' so to speak. I for one welcome our new alien Google overlords.
Quote:
Originally Posted by error10 View Post
Yeah, that's me. What's up?
Now that was creepy.
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CM 212+ Windows 8.1 Professional 64 bit Samsung 2233SW 1920x1080 HDMI Asus 23" 
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Corsair 520HX Cooler Master RC-690 (modded) Logitech G9x Creative X-Fi onboard 
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WD 750GB DVD/RW Windows 8 Pro 64 bit 15.6" 
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200GB IDE DVD RW Windows 7 Pro 32 bit 19" Dell Flatpanel (bought seperately) 
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F-Type
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WD 5000AAKS WD 2500KR Samsung 840 EVO 120GB Samsung DVD-RW w/Lightscribe 
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CM 212+ Windows 8.1 Professional 64 bit Samsung 2233SW 1920x1080 HDMI Asus 23" 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair 520HX Cooler Master RC-690 (modded) Logitech G9x Creative X-Fi onboard 
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Core i3 2.53GHz Dell - Inspiron 15R Intel IGP 6GB DDR3 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
WD 750GB DVD/RW Windows 8 Pro 64 bit 15.6" 
PowerCaseMouse
Teh battery. Inspiron 15R Logitech G9x/touchpad 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Celeron 2.5 GHz Dell Integrated 64mb 640mb WINTEC and generic 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
200GB IDE DVD RW Windows 7 Pro 32 bit 19" Dell Flatpanel (bought seperately) 
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post #7 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wierdo124 View Post
Now that was creepy.
I'm a minor celebrity in certain circles, (and apparently a potential terrorist in others) so I'm used to it by now.
Underground
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post #8 of 43
nice read. Thanks for the contribution.
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SEMI-COOL
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post #9 of 43
Hehe... I've been to your website before! WELCOME TO OCN!
    
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post #10 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by error10 View Post
Yeah, that's me. What's up?
Not much, just a reader/Teaparty/FSP forums member. I'm not in NH so I'm not good but still.

I'll just get on the bandwagon and welcome you, I really recently joined myself.
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Atomic Armadillo
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