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Chazzozz

Assistance with mounting an external drive

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I've got an external HDD in a USB enclosure that I was previously using for backups. It's recently been replaced so I was starting to move data around on it in preparation for using it for other tasks. I originally had it split up into 3 drives, one primary and two logical extended, all of them formatted with NTFS. I shifted all the data I wanted to keep into the first (primary) drive and repartitioned the other two into one large logical extended drive. Silly me, though, I removed the disk from the system before reformatting the new drive (late night, too tired, etc, etc).

 

Now I'm not able to access the disk at all. When I plug it in Windows has a hissy-fit trying to mount the drives and can't see either of them. The primary will briefly appear and then disappear in Windows Explorer, endlessly cycling through this. Looking at it through Disk Management shows one large unformatted drive that is reported as 'Healthy'.

 

I've tried a couple of things. Firstly, I tried booting from a BootIt NG CD. I was hoping to see the partitions and at least format the second one in NTFS again. That didn't work, though, as BootIt NG couldn't see the HDD through USB. I dunno if a later version might work?

 

I then tried starting up into Ubuntu hoping that I could at least shift the data to another location and then start afresh. But, it also couldn't see the drives; in fact, it didn't even make an attempt to mount them at all. It refused to even acknowledge the disk was plugged in.

 

So, I'm wondering if anyone has a suggestion of how I can recover the data from it. How can I view it without needing the MBR to mount the drives. Can it be done in Ubuntu? I'm still learning it so I'm not really familiar with the tools available. Any other way I can take a peek at the contents without needing to mount them?

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Sounds like perhaps you've blown the partition table away, either that or perhaps you've just had a drive failure and the timing makes it look sus.

 

Is the external HDD a prebuilt thing, or did you get a case + drive and put it together yourself? If it's the latter, you might want to try removing the drive and putting it straight into a PC.

 

I thoroughly support your use of Ubuntu and not Windows until you figure out what's going on. You're more likely to get useful info and not get fucked about stupidly using that.

 

Can you be more specific about the drive no tbeing detected?

 

Under ubuntu, what happens when you plug the HDD in? Does anything at all show up in /var/log/messages or in the output of the "dmesg" command?

 

You should also be able to cd into /dev/disks/by-id and get a list of drives/partitions which are symlinks to their standard /dev/hd and /dev/sd entries. You may find this useful as it includes the model details of the drive(s).

 

Identify the drives /dev name, it'll be something like /dev/sda of sdb or sdc (or hdX) and then see if you can see anything useful when you run: cfdisk /dev/sdX

 

If you can see the drive, and it's just the partitions that aren't to be found, you can try using something like TestDisk to recover the partition. If you can't see the drive at all, then you're probably shit out of luck and either need to kiss your data goodbye, or start taking more desparate measures in the area of data recovery.

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Some useful ideas there. I haven't the time to try anything tonight but I'll give it a go tomorrow.

 

I can't be any more specific about what's happening in Ubuntu. I simply plugged the drive in and tried to find under the Places tab, but nothing showed up. Now that I've got some better advice of what to do I'll see what shows up tomorrow.

 

As for how I got it, it was one I put together myself; oh yeah, it's a 2.5" lappy drive. I thought of trying it in a laptop as the main drive, but if the partition table's gone like you suggested then that's still not going to get me very far. I'll soldier on with some more Ubuntu detective work and get back to you. :)

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if its a SATA lappy drive you can put it in a PC :D

Sadly, no, it's IDE. I'm actually in Ubuntu right now and going to try eckythunp's suggestions. Wish me luck. :)

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You, uh... clicked on "Places"? :)

 

Dude, get out of GUI land. You want to work in a terminal on the command line.

 

Also, why were you using logical partitions? These have a time and a place, and for what you're doing, I don't think it's what you want to use. It's possible to have up to 4 primary partitions on a disk, which should be plenty for what you have in mind.

 

You should also look into the Windows ext2fs driver at http://www.fs-driver.org/ because if you're multi-booting, ext2/ext3 is a much better filesystem to use between multiple OSs than NTFS is.

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You, uh... clicked on "Places"? :)

 

Dude, get out of GUI land. You want to work in a terminal on the command line.

 

Also, why were you using logical partitions? These have a time and a place, and for what you're doing, I don't think it's what you want to use. It's possible to have up to 4 primary partitions on a disk, which should be plenty for what you have in mind.

 

You should also look into the Windows ext2fs driver at http://www.fs-driver.org/ because if you're multi-booting, ext2/ext3 is a much better filesystem to use between multiple OSs than NTFS is.

Hmmm...I think the partition table is well & truly gone. I did a 'man mount' in the terminal and read through all the options available. I ended up trying to force a mount using the following:

 

sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/Backup1 -o force,f,v

 

'Backup1' was the name of the partition. I had to run sudo because the first time I tried it I was warned that only 'root' could run it. I used the f and v options so I could get verbose output but not actually mount it, so I could see what kind of message I got in return. This was what I got:

 

fuse: failed to access mountpoint /media/Backup1: No such file or directory

 

Am I on the right track now? At least I used a terminal command. :D

 

Failing this, is there anything else I can use to inspect the partitions (assuming they're still visible)?

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Whoa!!! Success!

 

I dunno what I did but I managed to get it working. I was reading through some details about TestDisk and wanted to see exactly what the error message was when I did 'dmesg | tail' after plugging it in. So, I unplugged it from the USB port and stuck it back in...and it mounted straight away! w00t!

 

All I can think of was my previous attempts at forcing a mountpoint must've reset something back into place so that the drive could be mounted and read.

 

Well, naturally I've been busily copying data from the dodgy drive to a know-good one. So far it looks like more than half of the data is okay (the good half, thankfully). I suspect that some of my old backups are corrupted or missing because the directory they're in is visible but I can't move it, I keep getting I/O errors. Not to worry, that stuff is somewhat out-of-date anyway, and I've got more recent backups in a safer location.

 

Thanks for your suggestions, they managed to nudge me in roughly the right direction.

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heh, the mountpoint refers to WHERE you're mounting, not what you're mounting.

 

Allow me to demonstrate:

root@squishycow[~]# mount -t procfs procfs /mnt/bullshit
mount: /mnt/bullshit: No such file or directory
root@squishycow[~]# mkdir -p /mnt/bullshit
root@squishycow[~]# mount -t procfs procfs /mnt/bullshit
root@squishycow[~]#

And if you're wondering what the -p flag for mkdir does, it lets you create a whole directory tree in a single go. It also doesn't complain if a directory already exists:

root@squishycow[~]# ls -l foo
ls: foo: No such file or directory
root@squishycow[~]# mkdir -p foo/bar/baz/gobble/my/crank
root@squishycow[~]# cd foo/bar/baz/gobble/my/crank
root@squishycow[crank]# cd
root@squishycow[~]# mkdir -p foo/bar
root@squishycow[~]#

Enjoy.

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