Mailing List Message #6164
From: Bill Cole <>
Subject: Re: Mailer-Daemon Warning - Illegal Seek
Date: Tue, 6 Jun 2000 12:49:42 -0400
To: SIMS Discussions <>
At 8:27 AM -0700 6/6/00, Daniel Solomons  imposed structure on a stream of
electrons, yielding:
>Hello -
>At 1:11 PM +0400 6/6/00, Technical Support, Stalker Labs wrote:
>>On Tue, Jun 6, 2000, 02:30:35 GMT
>>   Daniel Solomons, <> wrote:
>>>Hello -
>>>What does this Mailer-Daemon message from SIMS mean?
>>>>----- The following addresses had transient non-fatal errors -----
>>>>----- Transcript of session follows -----
>>>>451 <>... reply: read error from
>>>><>... Deferred: Illegal seek
>>>>Warning: message still undelivered after 8 hours
>>>>Will keep trying until message is 3 days old
>>The SMTP server at serving the domain replied with
>>the SMTP error 451 to SIMS (or other server en route). 4xx error
>>means a temporary problem.
>What is an "Illegal seek" and is there anything I can do to prevent it?
>Though the error is "temporary," no messages can be delivered to this
>account from a couple of sources. SIMS keeps responding with this
>error. I might have thought the account file was corrupted, but it's
>receiving other mail just fine.

It looks very much like a disk problem. is where the problem is,
and the 'Illegal seek' means that the MTA there is trying to get to a
place in a file that isn't possible (for example:  trying to get to byte
offset 1256 in a 1254-byte file) and choking. Assuming that is
your SIMS box, this almost certainly indicates corruption of the file
catalog on the disk holding the account files.

It is certainly possible for such a corruption to affect just one file,
and in fact such a corruption will affect just one file at first.
Unfortunately, this sort of problem can spread like a cancer across the
disk and leave you with a completely unrecoverable file system eventually.
Take that box down and run every disk repair tool you have against it: try
Disk First Aid first, because DFA is the safest and most conservative
repair utility. If DFA doesn't see trouble (unlikely) or refuses to
attempt a repair (likely) move to the more agreesive tools: I like
TechTool Pro and especially Alsoft DiskWarrior. Use Norton if it's all you
have, but if you end up having to use Norton you definitely want to try a
full backup first. Sometimes a full backup/reformat/restore will be faster
and safer than a Norton "fix."

Bill Cole
MAPS L.L.C. Consulting Services Group
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