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External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:26 pm
by mountainhick
Did a search on the forum and didn;t find much, but what I found is a bit disturbing.
: viewtopic.php?f=58&t=91030&p=523381&hilit=western+digital+passport#p523381

I need(ed) to copy a lot of files to an external HD and bought a WD passport 1 TB drive off Amazon. Received it to find I can not transfer files through the Linux Mint xfce system on my net book. Can;t write to that drive from the metbook HD nor another external HD. Just doesn;t make it through th Linux OS.

The netbook will however access files written to the drive by a windows machine. I am copying the info from one Passport drive to this new one using my friends Windows laptop.

And, the drive I am copying from is also a WD passport 1 TB which does work with my netbook/Linux.

I am perplexed.

I called WD and they just said "we don't support Linux"... Zero help from them. I am pissed. I just spent a bunch of dollars on a new drive and it isn't working as needed, and I am on the road and have limited time to copy these files before leaving here.

I am on the fence whether to bail on the WD HD or Linux and go back to slow but reliably performing Windows 7.

Anyone have any experience/fixes for this?

Should I just wipe this one when I get the chance and return or resell it?

And if so, what pocket size drives do you like and actually work via plug and play?

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 2:03 pm
by bigj231
Hmmm. What are the outputs of lsusb before and after you plug in the drive? You need to make sure your computer is recognizing it first.
If you can read and access the drive, it sounds like it is mounting read-only. Someone else has had this problem. Here's one result I found. Remember, Google is your friend, and most Ubuntu fixes work in Mint.http://askubuntu.com/questions/150813/problem-mounting-external-usb-drive-in-ubuntu-12-04

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 9:37 pm
by mountainhick
Thanks for your reply, I will have a look at the link you provided.

I don't know what the i/o usb status is nor whether you mean for the OS or the drive itself. However another passport drive works fine both reading and writing on all usb ports on the machine.

The problem is in the drive itself. I can't access the WD installed files on this drive with either Linux or windows, and Windows can't access permission to look at them or configure anything.

And by the way, I did numerous searches on Google and searched this forum prior to posting. I am humbly a Linux noob, and dont yet know the Linux terminology Mint/Ubuntu relationships, command line config is new to me etc. I don't yet know the appropriate search terminology to turn up the results I need. But I did search.

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 4:20 pm
by bigj231
Sorry if I sounded condescending, sometimes I come off that way in real life too. Some people tend to post questions without looking for answers first.
For future information, Mint is based on Ubuntu, so most fixes and packages for Ubuntu can work for Mint.
If you can't access files from Windows or Linux, then the drive is most likely bad. You could try taking the drive out of the enclosure and testing the physical disk without the enclosure, but that will void your warranty. I would definitely contact WD and see about getting it replaced. Bad drives can and do happen. <off topic>I had a Hitachi portable drive that wouldn't stay awake long enough to write anything larger than 2MB. I ended up installing the disk into the second space in my laptop and throwing the enclosure away. Worked up until my screen died.</off topic>

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:18 pm
by cwsnyder
I had a WD external USB Passport drive, and it had proprietary software to backup your Windows hard drive installed from a separate partition hidden on the drive, which was autostart, and a pain in the pudding. Since you have already begun transferring your data, I won't tell you to re-partition your drive and risk losing what data you have transferred, but you may want to be aware that there may be more than one partition on the drive.

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:09 am
by usbtux
Your external drive should be formatted to FAT32 for windows to use it.

Are you saying xfce cant see them, or cant popen them or cant save to the drive?

Have you tried chown

Open a terminal on the directory where you have all your music files (or the directories with the music files). You can do so from your file manager, browse to the directory and from the file manager's File menu choose Open In Terminal. Then run the following command to transfer ownership of all the files and directories to you. That should fix it.

sudo chown -R $(id -un):$(id -gn) *

You can try changing the owner and group via the command line using:

sudo chown -R owner:group /sdX/yourusername

In the above command you need to change three things to reflect your computer username. Assuming your user account on your computer is "nineacres", it would look like this:


sudo chown -R mountainhick:mountainhick /sdX/ mountainhick

Where sdX is your external drive check what it should be via DIsk Utility

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:55 pm
by mountainhick
Thanks all,

I got the drive to work on windows so I could at least copy the needed files to the drive, but data transfer rate was crawling! Took around 16-20 hr for around 400gb of transfer. For now until I return home again and copy these files to yet another backup drive, I am not going to do a thing with this passport drive. I don't want to risk losing the copied files.

Linux will access the files copied to the drive, but will not write files to this drive. That's fine for now, but
once I transfer/backup the files at home, I'll try some of these suggestions before wiping the drive and returning for refund.

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 3:13 pm
by bigj231
That speed sounds a bit slow for a USB 2.0 drive. You definitely have something going on there. Could be that you only have USB 1.1 enabled on the port, but it's still a bit slow for that. I would still recommend returning the drive after you finish with it.
400GB*(1000MB/GB)/(18H*(3600S/H))=6.17MB/S
If you have to copy more files with windows, I would use teracopy. It is significantly faster in my experience.
My old USB HDD got about 20 MB/s when it worked FYI.

Re: External pocket sized HD s for Linux Mint? WD problem

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:30 pm
by Inie
I remember someone I know having trouble with one of those passports. Something about a controller reserving space for magical backup software most people don't want to use but thanks to the chip not being able to get rid of...

There is a video on Youtube of a kid splitting the case and removing the chip but to me it would be best just to avoid these drives altogether.

Anyway, I've been using Toshiba drives that come in 500 gb and 1 tb sizes that aren't much larger than a cell phone and they have been working pretty well for me.