I have a Western Digital 250GB NTFS-formatted external hard drive that I use primarily to store backups of my Windows machine. Since I’m away from my house for a couple of days, I used the drive to bring along some entertainment, but encountered some troubles getting Debian Lenny to play nice with it:
sudo fdisk -l
from the terminal, which brought up a summary of all disks currently recognized by the machine:
jon@debtop:/$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0xcccdcccd
Device BootÂ Â Â Â Â StartÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â EndÂ Â Â Â Â BlocksÂ Â IdÂ System /dev/sda1Â Â *Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 31Â Â Â Â Â 248976Â Â 83Â Linux /dev/sda2Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 32Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 4864Â Â Â 38821072+Â 83Â Linux Disk /dev/dm-0: 39.7 GB, 39751725568 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4832 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0x00000000 Disk /dev/dm-0 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/dm-1: 38.0 GB, 38067503104 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4628 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0x00000000 Disk /dev/dm-1 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/dm-2: 1681 MB, 1681915904 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 204 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0x00000000
Disk /dev/dm-2 doesn't contain a valid partition table
Disk /dev/sdb: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Disk identifier: 0x5b6ac646 Device BootÂ Â Â Â Â StartÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â EndÂ Â Â Â Â BlocksÂ Â IdÂ System /dev/sdb1Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1Â Â Â Â Â Â 30401Â Â 244196001Â Â Â 7Â HPFS/NTFS
Judging by the size of the drives, I figured out that the OS saw my drive at the location /dev/sdb, and the partition that I wanted to mount (the only partition on the drive) at the location /dev/sdb1.
Now, to determine why Linux wasn’t mounting the drive, I checked the fstab file at /etc/fstab to see if there was some other entry for sdb that was preventing it from mounting correctly:
# /etc/fstab: static file system information. # # <file system> <mount point>Â Â <type>Â <options>Â Â Â Â Â Â <dump>Â <pass> procÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â /procÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â procÂ Â Â defaultsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 /dev/mapper/debtop-root /Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ext3Â Â Â errors=remount-ro 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 1 /dev/sda1Â Â Â Â Â Â /bootÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â ext2Â Â Â defaultsÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 /dev/mapper/debtop-swap_1 noneÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â swapÂ Â Â swÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 /dev/scd0Â Â Â Â Â Â /media/cdrom0Â Â udf,iso9660 user,noautoÂ Â Â Â 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 0 /dev/fd0Â Â Â Â Â Â Â /media/floppy0Â autoÂ Â Â rw,user,noautoÂ 0Â Â Â Â Â Â 0
Since there was no entry there that should have overwritten sdb, I gave up on that line of inquiry, and decided to try manually mounting the drive. I know that Debian can read ntfs drives using the -t ntfs argument for the mount command, so I navigated over to the /media/ directory and created a folder to mount the drive in:
jon@debtop:/$ cd /media/ jon@debtop:/media$ sudo mkdir WesternDigital jon@debtop:/media$ ls cdromÂ cdrom0Â floppyÂ floppy0Â WesternDigital jon@debtop:/media$ sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sdb1 /media/WesternDigital/ jon@debtop:/media$ sudo -s root@debtop:/media# cd WesternDigital root@debtop:/media/WesternDigital# ls KeePass.kdbxÂ nwsÂ $RECYCLE.BINÂ System Volume InformationÂ workspace.tc
As you can see, the contents of my external drive were now accessible in the location where they ought to have been if Debian had correctly mounted the drive when it was plugged in. The only caveat to the process is that the mount function is available only to root users, meaning that the mountpoint was created by root, and my user account lacks the necessary permissions to read or write to the external drive:
I figured that this issue could be solved by using chmod to grant all users read and write permissions to the mountpoint:
root@debtop:/media# chmod +rw WesternDigital chmod: changing permissions of `WesternDigital': Read-only file system
Well what the hell does that mean? According to this post (again on the Ubuntu forums), the ntfs support in Linux is experimental, and as such, all ntfs drives are mounted as read only. Specifically, this drive is owned by the root user, and has only read and execute permisions, but lacks write permissions.
According to this thread on the slax.org forums, there is another ntfs driver for Linux called ntfs-3g that will allow me full access to my ntfs-formatted drive. After sucessfully adding the ntfs-3g drivers to my system, I dismounted the drive, and attempted to re-mount it with the following command:
mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/WesternDigital
This time, the mount command appeared to almost work, but I got an error message along the way, indicating that the drive had not been properly dismounted the last time it was used on Windows, and giving me the option to force the mount:
Mount is denied because NTFS is marked to be in use. Choose one action: Choice 1: If you have Windows then disconnect the external devices by clicking on the 'Safely Remove Hardware' icon in the Windows taskbar then shutdown Windows cleanly. Choice 2: If you don't have Windows then you can use the 'force' option for your own responsibility. For example type on the command line: mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/WesternDigital -o force
Well, since I didn”t have a Windows box lying about that I can use to dismount the drive properly, I’ll took a shot at using the force option. After warning me again that it was resetting the log file and forcing the mount, the machine finally mounted my drive with full permissions for the owner, group, and other users!
drwxrwxrwx 1 root rootÂ 4096 2009-09-18 15:40 WesternDigital
After a couple of manual tests, I confirmed that both my user account and the root user had full read/write/execute access to this drive, and that I could use it like any other drive that the system has access to. Further, thanks to the painful XBMC install process, I already had the codecs required to play all of the TV shows that I brought along.