in order to figure out if there is a problem on hard disks, we have to test bothof them, before installing open suse on the machine again.. we used smartctl to do that.
an article on smart : http://www.linuxjournal.com/article/6983
smartctl -t long /dev/sda: starts long test on specified disk
smartctl -t short /dev/sda: starts short test on specified disk
smartctl -l selftest /dev/sda: reports about all tests carried out on specified disk
btw, in my computer, starting a new test caused the previously started test on the same disk to abort..