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Old 03-03-2011, 07:44 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2005
Location: Derbyshire
Distribution: Originally Suse 9.1 Professional, currently Knoppix 3.7, migrating to Slackware
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Success: Mounting USB Hard disks with partition table error

This was a really frustrating problem which turned out to have a really simple solution, so I'll share it with people who might be having the same struggle.


You plug in a usb hard disk and try and mount it using:

mount /dev/sda1 /media/usb
or similar. And it doesn't work, not even as root. I think it says you need to specify the filesystem type (which means it doesn't know what to do). You try:

fdisk -l
to see what is going on with the hard disk and it says something about the partitions not matching the partition table, partitions extending beyond the end of the disk, physical/logical partitions don't match up or something like that.


Don't specify a partition number, just mount the whole hard disk.

For example, instead of:

mount /dev/sda1 /mount/usb

mount /dev/sda /mount/usb
I spent hours - days - hunting around for the solution! (And felt a bit humiliated when I realised how simple it was!)

PS, There used to be a "Success story" section on LQ, but I couldn't find it; if this is better in another section, please move it.

PPS, I'm on a public computer and won't have Linux access for a looong time - if anyone can copy the message that fdisk prints out to help people who are searching for it, that would be a big help.

HTH, Andy.
Old 03-03-2011, 08:44 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ayteebee View Post

Don't specify a partition number, just mount the whole hard disk.
As far as I've experienced this usually only works with devices that contain only one partition. The errors fdisk spits out may then be caused by vendors partitioning the disk in a less than compatible way. The easiest way to determine what the disk contains is to run 'disktype' ( if not in your repo).


fdisk, mount usb

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