[xubuntu-users] partition intermittently mounts: dying hard drive or bug?

fred roller fredroller66 at gmail.com
Wed Jan 11 15:03:27 UTC 2017

On Wed, Jan 11, 2017 at 3:25 AM, JMZ <florentior at gmail.com> wrote:

> I'm wondering: is this a hardware or software problem?

Eliminate choices by testing... If you are comfy with cli then:

opt 1:
$ sudo fsck /dev/sdz

where "z" is the drive letter for your external drive when mounted usually
found with the "df -h" command.  "man fsck" for complete command

opt 2:[1]
$ sudo apt-get install gnome-disk-utility -y

then once installed:
$ gnome-disks

which will bring up a GUI utility.  Your disk should be listed.  Click on
the disk and from the menu in the upper right choose the SMART check
option.  This should give you a status and do a disk check if you use the
option in the lower left corner.

opt 3:[1]
$ sudo apt-get install smartmontools

then once installed:
$ man smartctl

this will get you the man page for the Control and Monitor Utility for
SMART Disks.  From here you can find the options that best suits your
needs.  I have not used this myself so read carefully.

Something tells me I should just do a final backup, brick the drive, and
> just start over.

You should backup in any case.  Especially until you figure this out and
before you start running checks of software/hardware.

> Though maybe the current drive can be salvaged (it's only four years old
> -- do drives die that fast now?).

Three years is the average life expectancy but the actual life span is
measured in running hours which your disk brand's total life can be looked
up on the net.  The SMART tools will tell you how many hours your disk has
on it which compared to its operational life span will tell you if it is
time to "brick" it.  Also, being an external drive check connections and
idle functions.  If it is an older spinner then the platters may just be
spinning down and the disk going to sleep which can cause a disconnect but
that is just a wag.  Change out the cable, which if four years old too, may
have micro breaks in the line or build up on the contacts (use an eraser to
clean the leads if you can get to them.)

Another option is to back up the data and reformat the whole drive (Z out
the drive and start over).  This should reset any software issues you may
have unless you want to troubleshoot the software.  Search for firmware
updates for the disk as well.

Hope this helps and gets you headed in the right direction.


-- Fred
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