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Thread: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Been happily going along with Lucid Lynx, locked in, no problems. Slowly sorting through many files on an external 500 GB USB drive, moving into useful sub-folders. Today, I cannot write to any folders on that drive -- read only. ?!?! I run nautilus as root, still no joy. (Using nautilus GUI to browse files to move to other folders.. am a GUI fan anyway, sorry..)

    No idea what caused this to happen -- how can I change these settings to allow me to be able to write to this drive again? Some terminal command... xxrrww ... agh sorry.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    28

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Quote Originally Posted by carbon512 View Post
    Been happily going along with Lucid Lynx, locked in, no problems. Slowly sorting through many files on an external 500 GB USB drive, moving into useful sub-folders. Today, I cannot write to any folders on that drive -- read only. ?!?! I run nautilus as root, still no joy. (Using nautilus GUI to browse files to move to other folders.. am a GUI fan anyway, sorry..)

    No idea what caused this to happen -- how can I change these settings to allow me to be able to write to this drive again? Some terminal command... xxrrww ... agh sorry.
    Drives in Windows and Mac formats can become read-only to Linux if they are removed uncleanly (i.e unplugged or powered down without warning) from their respective native operating systems. If your drive is indeed in a Windows format (i.e. NTFS) plug it into to a Windows computer, open it up, then disconnect it cleanly (using the remove hardware function in Windows). Then try again in Ubuntu.

    Unfortunately, there are no really good choices of format for your drive if you also use Windows, since Windows doesn't read Linux formats at all.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    47
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    hmm no success. I booted in to Windows but Windows would not mount it -- saw it as a device, so I tried ejecting it, rebooting.. no luck. back to Windoze, still would not mount as drive but tried "disabling" it; back to Ubuntu, still read-only. Owner is #99; can't change that..

    I wll try mounting it on a Mac tomorrow but am pretty sure I opted for a Windows/Linux readable format (since I do have Windows on this netbook), not a Linux/Mac format.

    Is there some way I can change the permissions in terminal?This is a bummer, losing write access to a 500 GB drive! (I guess I could copy all the data off and reformat but.. oy...)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
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    Hidden!
    Distro
    Xubuntu 16.04 Xenial Xerus

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    What filesystem did you use? (NTFS, Fat32)?

    Open a terminal window, plug in the device, then type:
    Code:
    dmesg
    Post back the last 10-15 lines

    Then type in:
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    and post back the results.

    If its a Fat filesystem, you can run:
    Code:
    sudo dosfsck -v /dev/xxx
    (where xxx is the device name) to run a check on the drive.
    Last edited by Toz; July 5th, 2011 at 06:30 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    28

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Quote Originally Posted by carbon512 View Post
    ... Owner is #99 ...

    Is there some way I can change the permissions in terminal?This is a bummer, losing write access to a 500 GB drive! (I guess I could copy all the data off and reformat but.. oy...)
    I'm not sure I like the #99 thing. If I mount a drive, it comes up as owned by my user name, not number. You may indeed have a simple permissions problem and we can fix that.

    Please try the following in your terminal, and post the output:
    Code:
    ls -la /media
    However, I also think it's likely you have a file system problem, which can be pursued along the lines of what toz suggested.
    Last edited by bdentremont; July 5th, 2011 at 06:39 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Quote Originally Posted by bdentremont View Post
    I'm not sure I like the #99 thing. If I mount a drive, it comes up as owned by my user name, not number. You may indeed have a simple permissions problem and we can fix that.

    Please try the following in your terminal, and post the output:
    Code:
    ls -la /media
    However, I also think it's likely you have a file system problem, which can be pursued along the lines of what toz suggested.
    that returns:
    Code:
    total 12
    drwxr-xr-x  4 root root 4096 2011-07-04 22:05 .
    drwxr-xr-x 21 root root 4096 2011-03-19 14:20 ..
    drwxrwxrwx  1   99   99   20 2011-06-19 14:56 BIggirl
    lrwxrwxrwx  1 root root    6 2010-04-19 11:32 cdrom -> cdrom0
    drwxr-xr-x  2 root root 4096 2010-04-19 11:32 cdrom0
    -rw-r--r--  1 root root    0 2011-06-08 21:42 .hal-mtab
    The "Biggirl" with the 99 99 is the one in question... I did have changed permissions issues once before with an external drive I had used on a Mac, but I was able to mount it on that Mac and simply change permissions there...

    So I am thinking/hoping I can change the permissions? I should know what those above permissions mean, but... use it or lose it... and I don't use it, so,,,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    47
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    Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Quote Originally Posted by Toz View Post
    What filesystem did you use? (NTFS, Fat32)?
    Embarrassed to say I cannot remember. Spent a great deal of time researching and deciding since I use Mac, Ubuntu and occasionally Windows. Aha I do recall now that I formatted it to be best for OSX and Linux; didn't care about Windows.

    Open a terminal window, plug in the device, then type:
    Code:
    dmesg
    Post back the last 10-15 lines
    Code:
     4853.474043] usb 1-1: USB disconnect, address 2
    [ 4895.200147] usb 1-1: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
    [ 4895.350082] scsi7 : usb-storage 1-1:1.0
    [ 4896.390737] scsi 7:0:0:0: Direct-Access     ST950032 5AS                   PQ: 0 ANSI: 2 CCS
    [ 4896.391661] sd 7:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg1 type 0
    [ 4896.393728] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] 976773168 512-byte logical blocks: (500 GB/465 GiB)
    [ 4896.395917] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
    [ 4896.395924] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 34 00 00 00
    [ 4896.395929] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [ 4896.400282] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [ 4896.400294]  sdb: sdb1 sdb2
    [ 4896.725538] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
    [ 4896.725547] sd 7:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
    [ 4897.243428] hfs: Filesystem was not cleanly unmounted, running fsck.hfsplus is recommended.  mounting read-only.
    Then type in:
    Code:
    sudo fdisk -l
    and post back the results.
    Code:
    Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xe197e31e
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1               1        1567    12582912   27  Unknown
    /dev/sda2   *        1567        1580      102400    7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda3            1580       23873   179072433+   7  HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda4           23874       30401    52436160    5  Extended
    /dev/sda5           23874       30128    50243256   83  Linux
    /dev/sda6           30129       30401     2192841   82  Linux swap / Solaris
    
    WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sdb'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.
    
    
    Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xa973ff7c
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sdb1               1       60802   488386583+  ee  GPT
    If its a Fat filesystem, you can run:
    Code:
    sudo dosfsck -v /dev/xxx
    (where xxx is the device name) to run a check on the drive.
    So, is it NTFS? Or is that just the partition on my internal drive? Confused. Thanks for this help.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Texas
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    28,911
    Distro
    Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Hi, it looks like the usb drive is 500 gig drive it says it is GPT but I am not familiar with that, so we will wait for someone that knows that partition system to show up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    UK
    Beans
    435
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    strange try;

    sudo mount /dev/sd?1 /media/myusb
    sudo chown -R normuser:normuser /media/myusb64
    sudo chmod -R 764 /media/myusb64

    maybee this will force the drive to be readable again file by file?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Hamilton, New Zealand
    Beans
    540
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: External USB drive suddenly read-only?

    Code:
    [ 4897.243428] hfs: Filesystem was not cleanly unmounted, running fsck.hfsplus is recommended.  mounting read-only.
    This line seems to suggest the solution. Have you tried doing what it says?
    Life's a pitch. And then you sing!

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