This is such a bizarre problem. It's like your hard drive is haunted. Apparently it happens more often than I thought. this thread
is also about a filling hard drive. Their advice seems to be to move all of your important files off your machine in case your disk is failing, and also says:
I was finally able to log in. But about five minutes later the computer started acting wonky -- menus wouldn't drop down, programs wouldn't launch, etc. So I decided to shut down and restart. And when I restarted I encountered the same problem again -- disk full. That's when I hit the panic button. I have homework on this computer that is due tomorrow!
What was happening was that dump had set something somewhere to run itself as soon as the computer was restarted and to finish its backup. I admire its tenacity, but damn! I mean, dude, when I close down a program I expect it to close the eff down and stay down. I mean, relaunching itself after the computer was shut down?
Anyway, all is well again. All, that is, except now I am scared of dump. And there are no other backup utilities that are suitable for a single user with a single computer. Everything is designed for mammoth corporate environments with thousands of users and networking/administration issues. I tried Simple Backup but it is *too* simple, and the user interface is hopeless. Like, there is no way to specify a destination on my USB pocket disk - it has a drop-down menu only, which only sees a mount point, and you can't type into it. I've tried everything, but I've yet to get it to actually make a backup. Of course, no documentation, either.
So for now I'm just going to use Konqueror to drag the files in /home/jjj to a folder on my Windows computer. That won't help if I lose a configuration file and hose my desktop, but at least my homework is safe.