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nimitonttu
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: USB drives showing up as unknown file systems ? Reply with quote

Recently I plugged in a friend's USB stick (FAT32 Windows formatted it) on my computer and instead of seeing /dev/sdg and /dev/sdg1 it only showed sdg.
I ran fdisk -l /dev/sdg and this is what I got:
Code:
Disk /dev/sdg: 1997 MB, 1997799424 bytes
62 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1015 cylinders, total 3901952 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x84766f74

This doesn't look like a partition table
Probably you selected the wrong device.

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdg1   ?  1769372022  6054207975  2142417977    d  Unknown
/dev/sdg2   ?   545551475  2397951458   926199992   79  Unknown
/dev/sdg3   ?  1919251566  1919254138        1286+  6c  Unknown
/dev/sdg4      2885681152  2885734081       26465    0  Empty

Partition table entries are not in disk order


I was wondering if I set up gentoo wrong and I broke the disk. We plugged it into his computer (Win 7) and it shows up as some unrecognized drive.
I was wondering as well if maybe it'd reached the end of it's life. I had a drive for about eight years that just recently died. So, we didn't think much about it.

Then a new drive brand new maybe been used twice (both Kingston by the way. No trouble from them when I've used their hardware). Plug it into my computer again nothing is being read out.
fdisk -l:
Code:
Disk /dev/sdh: 15.7 GB, 15737028608 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 15008 cylinders, total 30736384 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x6f20736b

This doesn't look like a partition table
Probably you selected the wrong device.

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdh1   ?   778135908  1919645538   570754815+  72  Unknown
/dev/sdh2   ?   168689522  2104717761   968014120   65  Novell Netware 386
/dev/sdh3   ?  1869881465  3805909656   968014096   79  Unknown
/dev/sdh4   ?  2885681152  2885736650       27749+   d  Unknown

Partition table entries are not in disk order


Almost the same thing but different partitions that I can't really find any info about except 65 and 0. So now I'm thinking I've just ruined someone's last two years of school work. We plugged it into his computer Fedora 16 and it shows up fine. Copy all files to the computer then I check the disks utility and it says it's unpartition. So, now I'm about ready to curse out my crummy computer or gentoo that I plug in one of my USB drives which shows the correct partitioning scheme.

Now I'm wondering if it has anything to do with where the sticks have been plugged in. His are at home, my computers, and school. Mine are my computers and my school (different schools). Now wondering if there is something fishy going on at the school.

If anyone could shed some light on what might have happened I would be greatly appreciate it. And maybe what are these unknown partitions ? Do I just reformat the drives ? Will this happen again ? Anyway to prevent it from happening again ? Is it my computers fault ? Schools ? Something else ?

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from someone sometime soon.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember plugging in a friend's android device and it showed up as sdb, not sdb1. sdb was readable. What I mean is that a conventional partition table may not be always available.

However, check your kernel config for available partition table types.
Code:
Enable the block layer -> Partition Types

Also, revise the USB drivers section for some screwed up stuff. What kernel are you using btw?

In general, somehow either the partition table was read out wrongly, or it was damaged. I think the former is more likely, because in the latter case it would show up on all computers in the same damaged form. But, even that cannot taken for granted, because once the table is damaged, each OS can read it out differently. However, it should be about the same within Linux distros.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Technically you don't need a partition table at all to access a disk, it's just a way to split it up so you can keep things separate from each other. If the kernel doesn't detect a normal partition table (and fdisk is reporting the partition table is kind of messed up) it won't create the partitions.

The problem is that some OS may make assumptions and get confused with this...

But as for the initial problem, it could be wearout. It could be corruption because disks weren't synced before removal, who knows... It also could be your computer's power to the USB port isn't sufficient as well...

The question remains: Can the disk still be wiped/repartitioned/reformatted? If the data on the disk is a lost cause then might well try. Also you could force some partitions on it such that it looks like what it should have been and see if you can recover data from it.

Then the last word of wisdom: Even though it's a USB stick, it still needs to be backed up...
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@smartass (great name by the way lol):Is there a reason it wouldn't be available ? I would think google is doing some funny stuff and why show an empty partition and a Novell Netware partition and six others that are none existent that's really confusing to me.

And this kernel part it should only apply to gentoo right as Fedora 16/17 should be generic and trying to account for most hardware ? And not just that. The fact that Windows doesn't know what to do with it.
Although if it is Gentoo related when I ran lspci -v it says you should have EHCI and either UHCI or what was the other one OHCI ? However only EHCI shows up. I've tried compiling with EHCI and one other or and both and none and it seems to work just the same. And always get a kernel panic if I boot up and a USB HDD/Flash drive is plugged into the computer could this be the reason ? Although it's my sticks that that's happened with not with the two shown above.

Kernel version 3.6.11

How would I get all computers to read it out right ?
Oh right and would this be the option to select in Partition Types ?
Windows Logical Disk Manager (Dynamic Disk) support
I don't know if I read the guides entirely wrong but the only thing I saw mentioned about adding in there was the EFI something or other option.

@eccerr0r: Okay I don't need it that's fine and all but in a Windows predominant world if Windows can't read it I'd say my friend is a bit screwed.
And I would get it if Gentoo or if Fedora had partitioned them but it was Windows for one and whatever Kingston uses to partition their drives and mine I think it was last partitioned by Windows and it works fine...

Wearout on a few days old drive ? And here I thought Kingston was a respectable company. x'D
Doubtful on the user removing it prematurely. I didn't think there could be someone crazier than me on assuring oneself that the disk was properly unmounted and safe to remove than I but there is and with two messed up drives now. And I sometimes turn my computers off before removing them! Hell, I have another friend a mac user who as data is being written to his stick or mine for that matter (*****) he just grabs it and unplugs them. Miracle that they still work lol. Unless you meant something like the sync command. And if it's that necessary I can't believe my USB sticks are still alive. Or my Mac friend's lol.

By my computer you mean all three on various ports USB 2.0 and 3.0 ? But then why do my USB sticks/external HDDs work fine on them ? I doubt these two need more than they did before. Especially like I just thought of two HDDs one with a power brick and one without work fine and I would guess that they take up even more power ? The one without is a 7200 RPM drive. (This doesn't sound condescending does it ? Totally not my intention just trying to fill in gaps that were unknown and asking a million questions as I hardly know anything about computers and the way they work)
If something else might be the cause be sure to let me know and I'll see if I've left out more details.. ^_^;;

I'm pretty confident that they can be. Should I reformat them on Linux then on Windows ? I don't think Windows would allow a formatting but then again Windows totally gets confused with a multipartitioned USB stick (but not a USB HDD for some reason ?)
The data on the disc seems to have been fine and copied onto the computer without problems. I don't think I need to force it to get data but if forcing it for some other reason would help before trying to format let me know.

Don't tell me lol. Although I guess he just exaggerated. It's two years worth of work but it hasn't been backed up today. What a way to freak one out am I right ?
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A kernel panic shows that something is definitely wrong with your kernel if it doesn't cause a kernel panic with e.g. the Fedora kernel (on the same computer I presume). If that was on a different computer, try booting a live system on the same computer with the USB stick plugged in.

I need a bit more info about your kernel. Did you configure it on your own? Did you use a kernel seed? You could always make a generic kernel with genkernel and see if that helps.

But eccerr0r may be also right that this could be hardware related. Perhaps some bus in your computer has trouble reading it out properly.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So what is wrong with my kernel ?
Sorry I've been busy but right I first tried setting up an initramfs but that didn't solve anything(forgot to change grub). Then genkernel and it worked. Plugged in a USB dev and it didn't work(I'd initially forgotten to set root= parameter) but luckily no panic just asked me where it was. I pointed to it and it worked. Thanks to these oversights I got to thinking. I set up my regular kernel (which I did compile myself) to use the initramfs and no panic but it asks me where my root partition. I enter in the path but it says I'm wrong. Apparently, if I have a USB drive plugged in it swaps around my drives. Seeing as root is in sde1 and with a USB drive it becomes sde1 and my root HDD becomes sdf1 it wasn't working. Was this the cause of the panic ?
So, I went online looking on how to setup UUID in GRUB there were arguments of initramfs being required or not. I tried without and it didn't work. With and it did. So, I checked online for gentoo UUID requirements and found another argument now some guy (gentree I think ?) basically saying it was completely stupid to use UUID and no need for it seeing as /dev/sdXY works fine and flawlessly. So, then I'm guessing I did something wrong when I compiled the kernel that my last internal hard drive becomes the last drive after my USB drives. Although, I must admit I don't find it the stupidest thing in the world to use UUID I actually prefer it as it fixes the issue on my regular kernel, however, I suppose that it should be working without the need of UUID. Would be nice to not need initramfs seeing as it doubles my boot time.

Fedora is installed on my laptop not the desktop with Gentoo.
But right to clarify my own no kernel seed.

Some bus on my computer has trouble reading it and then writes to it so that ALL computers read it as wrong ? Or do you mean that it could show up as all those partitions on my desktop but it should show up right on all other computers ? Because if that's what you meant that I think not ? We've tried on three computers. Also I've plugged in all of my drives to the same computer same ports and that hasn't happened once.
So, I'm still hoping my hardware/gentoo setup aren't the causes of this issue. But then why after being plugged into my computer did this issue arise ? And now I'm wondering if it was already like this beforehand. It was plugged into F16 before and it worked fine. But then again it was auto mounted there so no one would notice anything wrong there. I still wonder about the school computers but then I was think why would some sort of malware or whatnot change the partition table but leave all the user data intact ? It seems impractical. So, this does make it seem like it would be my computer rather than anything else. But all my stuff works without that happening...now I'm stuck in a loop. And two drives in two days that were only plugged into school computers and mine...
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm getting a little lost in your narrative. Could you give a chronological log of the actions/attempts you've taken, with computer/OS versions and drive names? NAd I would prefer shorter sentences, or at least use proper linking words please.

UUID is perfectly fine for use, you can't believe every rant on the internet. The only case where it may fail is with identical drives with identical partition tables, because the filesystem will create identical UUID. But that can be set manually too. An alternative is to use a filesystem label.
In any case, an initrd with the blkid program (or compatible) included is required, genkernel does this with the disklabel option.


Drives getting moved around during boot could also be caused by the BIOS or bus firmware and that's what UUID/labels are used for. But the BIOS shouldn't be responsible for writing/reading stuff from the disk after the OS is booted.

If boot time is important to you, try resuming to disk/RAM instead.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lol, yeah, sorry so do I. Attempts at what ? Kernel panic ? It's gone just added the initramfs and UUID.

And if you mean about the USB drives okay I plugged in the two drives with the fdisk -l output on top into my computer and they showed up like that. First one was plugged into a Windows 7 x86 machine and there was an error can't remember what it was. Second one was plugged into a Fedora 16 auto mounted nothing seemed wrong. Plugged it into mine and the output is on the first post. I've plugged in all my USB drives into my computer repeatedly since then and their partition layout has remained the same and Windows detects them fine. I just remembered I have Windows on my laptop so I booted into that to see if I could tell you the error but now I'm not getting that error anymore Windows detects the two drives in question as good and healthy FAT32 drives. Booted into Fedora 17 and it still shows up as all those other partitions in my original post. Mount shows that sdb was mounted instead of sdb1 but like everyone has said guess that doesn't really matter.
So, do I just leave this alone ? Reformat them and see what happens ? Give one of my drives and see what reads out after using it at the school ? I mean it could also be whatever hardware is at the school their bus causing this ?

Yeah, I get that that happens and that that's what UUID is for. I don't quite get the BIOS shouldn't be responsible for writing/reading stuff. Did I say something about that ? It's been a stressful week and if I missed something I do apologize I'm all over the place at the moment.

I would resume if I could figure out how to turn off the damn LEDs(only during sleep mode) from the fans it's really difficult to sleep with about three blue lights in a pitch dark room flash on and off every couple of seconds. x'D

And if hardware needs clarifying I have a desktop with Gentoo (about two years old) and a laptop (about 1 month old) with Fedora 17 that also has a trial of Windows 7.
Friend's hardware is laptop with Fedora 16 and Windows 7(about five or six years old).
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

nimitonttu wrote:
I would resume if I could figure out how to turn off the damn LEDs(only during sleep mode) from the fans it's really difficult to sleep with about three blue lights in a pitch dark room flash on and off every couple of seconds. x'D


black tape :)

I've gotten used to it, blinking LEDs doesn't keep me up. Even fan noise ... it's soothing white noise...

both of these were acquired from years from college with the machine left on at night when suspend/resume wasn't even an option...
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm glad to hear you got the USBs to work at least a few times, remember to backup any data on them ASAP!
So they still show up in the strange way EVERY time in Fedora 17? And what about in your current Gentoo system? What I'm after is whether it's random or not.

Reformatting won't help, because formatting only changes filesystems, not the partition table. Actually, if you write down the exact (NOT DAMAGED) partition table as reported by fdisk -l if you get the chance, you could make a new DOS partition table in fdisk (action o) and set up the partitions as they were before in the correct form.
This would modify only the partition table, filesystems and data would remain intact. BUT it's quite dangerous, missing the partition table by one sector messes up everything.

As for LEDs, check the kernel config, some LEDs actually have drivers (I've seen people have a led blink when they receive mail in Kmail). Another option is to control them by directly writing to e.g. some PCI register, but that can be dangerous if you don't know precisely which one. And as a last resort just put something over them or at least surround them with non-reflective materials.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd just like to say thanks for all the help I've been getting I really appreciate it. And don't know what is going on with my writing and all the basic mistakes I keep making it's atrocious. So thanks for bearing with that as well. x'D

@smartass:
It was already backed up on the day that this occurred seeing as Fedora 16 auto mounted them. But they are currently being used as working drives with new data being added to them daily.
Yes, they show up exactly the same as what I listed before Gentoo or Fedora/desktop or laptop seems to be listed like that on any system running Linux. I have no clue how to do much of anything on Windows other than surf the net so I couldn't tell you what it's showing up as or if Windows cares...But at any time plugged into any computer running Linux I get that.
Oh and one more thing I don't know if it has any use or not but the day that I first noticed this occurrence everything was transferred at the school from drive 1 to drive 2. Drive 2 was sort of bought as a replacement for the first one seeing as the first one was in service for many years and 16GB seemed more tantalizing than 2GB.

No clue what they originally were. Maybe I'll start writing down these values from now on. x'D Maybe within Windows seeing as it seems to treat it as a FAT32 partition ? But like I said I'm useless in Windows.

Actually I have done that before grabbed a blanket and a couple of chairs but it doesn't help much. Or well doesn't bother me it's everyone else that complains.

@eccerr0r:
Yeah, I know. If it was up to me I'd just leave the computer on and listen to some music. It really is quite soothing..I need better room mates. x'D
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