Different bevahiour by USB falsh drives formatted in ext3/4 and Windows' formats

Basil Chupin blchupin at iinet.net.au
Mon Oct 4 11:01:10 UTC 2010

I noticed this for a while but after doing this today to confirm my 
observations, I thought I would mention this because there was some 
discussion recently about how to properly remove an USB flash disc from 
Ubuntu (at least 10.04 which I am now using). The same applies, BTW, to 
an external USB HD.

When the device is plugged in, or switched on in the case of the HD, the 
appropriate icon appears on the workspace (desktop) and nautilus runs 
and shows the contents of the device. All normal. In nautilus the device 
shows up in the left-hand-most panel with a pyramid-looking "up pointer" 
at the end of the device name.

However, as you know, when it comes to 'disconnecting' such a device, 
one has to "Safely remove" the device and not simply "Eject" it or just 
pull it out of the connection on the computer (or switch off the 
external USB HD).

If the device is formatted in ext3/4 then you can right-click on the 
*icon on the workspace* and select "Safely remove" - and watch the light 
on the flash disc or the HD if you want to ensure that any unwritten 
data has been written to the device and the device can then be "removed" 
from the system.

However, if the device has been formatted in FAT/ntfs then using the 
above method results in an error message stating that the device cannot 
be accessed (or some such - I'm working from memory). What you need to 
do is to either go to Places>(device) which will start nautilus or to 
nautilus itself and use the "up pointer" at the end of the device name 
to Safely Remove the device.


"So where's the Cannes Film Festival being held this year?"
           Christina Aquilera

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