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Recently my external Western Digital USB drive will not mount. The unmounted disk icon shows up on the desktop when I plug in the USB drive and then when I ...
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  1. #1
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    External USB Drive Will Not Mount


    Recently my external Western Digital USB drive will not mount. The unmounted disk icon shows up on the desktop when I plug in the USB drive and then when I try to mount via the GUI (right click mouse and choose "mount") it says operation failed. I am also unable to mount via command line - I get a message that says the partition is busy or already mounted. This is a production web server (SLES10-SP3) that has been running for six years with the same Western Digital USB external drive ( used to back up my web root). I am not sure if this is a sign of the external drive on its last leg or not.

    I was thinking of deleting the lines referencing the Western Digital external drive in /etc/fstab and then rebooting. Is that okay to do? Thanks.

    Here is my /etc/fstab


    Code:
    /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1600YS-18_WD-WCAP01651022-part2 /                    reiserfs   acl,user_xattr        1 1
    /dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1600YS-18_WD-WCAP01651022-part1 swap                 swap       defaults              0 0
    proc                 /proc                proc       defaults              0 0
    sysfs                /sys                 sysfs      noauto                0 0
    debugfs              /sys/kernel/debug    debugfs    noauto                0 0
    usbfs                /proc/bus/usb        usbfs      noauto                0 0
    devpts               /dev/pts             devpts     mode=0620,gid=5       0 0
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  2. #2
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    I wouldn't delete the line, simply comment it out. That is, to put a '#' in front of that line so it isn't read and save the file. Unplug the USB cable from the WD drive (powered though) and boot your server up fully, then plug in USB cable. After a short wait, Do dmesg from the command line and find where it got located. Likely /dev/sdb1 or somewhere line that. Then try mounting it to a created directory in /mnt...
    Code:
    mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/wd_drive
    ...as an example. If you still cannot mount it, I'd look at whether there is something physically wrong with it. Try it on another machine and see if it gets seen and mounted.

    This is just what I'd do if in your situation. I don't know other particulars of your setup so I hope this applies and is useful.
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  3. #3
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    I will give that a shot.

    Also, since going live with SLES10 I never created a mount directory as it seems that the directory /media was intended for external drives. /media was there by default as far as I can remember unless the system created it on the first ever mount of the WD drive. Should I still create the the new mount directory (/mnt/wd_drive)?

    Thanks!!
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    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    Guess I'm displaying my old user status! Yes, /media is all the rage amongst the Linux youngsters now so you could mount it inside there.
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  6. #5
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    Okay, I commented out the two lines in /etc/fstab.

    Code:
    #/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1600YS-18_WD-WCAP01651022-part2 /                    reiserfs   acl,user_xattr        1 1
    #/dev/disk/by-id/scsi-SATA_WDC_WD1600YS-18_WD-WCAP01651022-part1 swap                 swap       defaults              0 0
    I then rebooted the server and plugged in the USB WD external drive. The disk icon did not show up on my desktop immediately but did after a few minutes. When I double clicked the disk icon I was in a window with 0 items. Usually I would see the contents of the WD external drive. I checked Partitioner (via YaST) and noticed that the mount point listed for the WD external was /media/disk. I next went to the command line and tried to mount to /media/disk but received the same error that the partition was already mounted or busy. I am guessing that error was due to no /media/disk directory.

    Next I mounted at the command line to /media and it worked. I am able to now see the contents of the WD external when I click into /media. However, the mounted disk icon on the desktop does not let me click into it like before. In the past I would be able to click on the mounted disk icon on the desktop and be able to view the contents of the WD drive. I am not sure what happened but at least I can access the contents of the WD drive via the /media directory.

    Thanks again for your help!!
    Last edited by MikeH30; 12-22-2011 at 07:14 PM.
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  7. #6
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    Now I am getting even more confused.

    I unmounted the WD external drive (umount /dev/sdb1) and now there is a directory /media/disk with all the contents of the WD external drive although the WD external is now unmounted.

    In the past I have had issues with the /media directory retaining the contents of my WD external even though it was unmounted or disconnected. This would result in my local hard drive becoming close to full.

    I am not sure I like dealing with USB external drives for my web root backups. Seems that it would be better to have another server on the network to backup to or another physical internal drive. Please advise.

    Thanks
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  8. #7
    Linux Enthusiast Mudgen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeH30 View Post
    Now I am getting even more confused.

    I unmounted the WD external drive (umount /dev/sdb1) and now there is a directory /media/disk with all the contents of the WD external drive although the WD external is now unmounted.

    In the past I have had issues with the /media directory retaining the contents of my WD external even though it was unmounted or disconnected. This would result in my local hard drive becoming close to full.
    These things would happen if you ran your backup with the disk unmounted. The backup would go into the folder used as the mount point. This is a common cause of mysteriously lost disk space: the files go into the physical folder, the drive at some point gets mounted on the physical folder, and you can't see the files underneath and are scratching your head as to where the disk space is getting used up.

    I like USB drives fine for backup. I sure wouldn't put swap on one, as you appear to be doing.

  9. #8
    Trusted Penguin Dapper Dan's Avatar
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    If the disk is unmounted then files will be copied into /media/disk and not onto the disk, I had this happen once before. I've been puzzling over why your /etc/fstab shows the WD drive mounted to "/." I don't see anything wrong with using an external USB drive as a backup but you might consider doing it "by hand" to ensure everything is working right. Setting it up as a cron job process is exactly how I wound up having files copied to the directory and not the device that was supposed to be mounted. If you have another server, then copying the files via scp would be a good option too.

    EDIT: Mudgen beat me to it.
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  10. #9
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    Remove the /media/disk and then insert the usb drive.

    It will automatically remounts the drive.

    The things will be happen without using the umount and when the data needs to be written in the drive.

    When u used the unmount volume on the GUI, a message will be there stating that "It's safe to remove the drive" and then u need to remove the drive.

  11. #10
    Linux Enthusiast Mudgen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dapper Dan View Post

    EDIT: Mudgen beat me to it.
    Don't you hate it when you type a great answer and post it, only to see that someone else posted it while you were typing? Happens to me, too.

    Mike, there are a number of ways to check in the script as to whether the filesystem is mounted. I generally do two tests:
    --I can grep the mount point in output from "mount" command
    --A persistent reference file from the backup exists on the mount point. I always do a "echo `/bin/date` > /rsync.time" at the top of the script, which lends itself to other purposes like dating the backup.

    Whether copying locally or to another server, I like rsync rather than cp, scp, etc. It uses a sliding window block checksum mechanism that lets it transfer only the changed blocks in the backup files, which can save a lot of time and bandwidth. If I need a retention cycle for multiple backups, I manage that with tar on the backup target, after the backup.
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