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tubatodd 02-11-2007 11:04 AM

New External Hard drive is Detected As Read-Only
I received my Valentine's Day gift from my wife. I asked for an Aluratek 250GB USB 2.0 hard drive. ( It is a really nicely built unit, however I am having a problem. I plugged the hard drive into my USB 2.0 port and it was detected, but only as a "read-only" device. So, I tried changing permissions as myself and as root and it keeps saying that it is a "read-only" device and that I can't change the permissions. Now, I know from my previous Slack background, that this probably something simple as the device being detected and autoconfigured as "read-only" which is why it won't allow me to change the permissions.

I guess what I am trying to say is...

1. How can I change it from a read-only device?

2. What should my fstab entry say to mount the drive with read/write/execute access for all users??

Thanks for your help! :)


I just realized it is pre-formatted as Windows NTFS and the device it is linked to is /dev/sdb1. I'm still not sure how to fix this.

tubatodd 02-11-2007 11:41 AM


I did some reading about Windows NTFS file systems and realized that is why it was read-only (I guess it was a Linux compatability issue)

So, I converted the drive to ext3 by doing....

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1
...and now my external drive reads and writes as a Linux files system. That was easy.

My only concern is that the drive is 250GB and when it was an NTFS drive it said that the available space was "232GB" and now after the mkfs.ext3 it says that the drive is "217GB" in size. What happened?? Does the ext3 formatting really take that much more space??

Also, the drive is mounted as "usbdisk" which is very generic. Is there a way I can mount it as "Aluratek" so that I know specifically that it refers to my hard drive and not my flash drive or some other usb device??

Thanks :)

tubatodd 02-11-2007 01:19 PM

Well this thread has become a blog more than anything. Having been a Linux newbie at one time (I guess I still am in some ways...) I thought I might post this for others who may have similar questions.

I managed to correct the mount point and the drive's name.

First I did...


mkdir /media/Aluratek/
then changed my /etc/fstab to have a line that reads...

/dev/sdb1        /media/Aluratek  ext3    rw,user,noauto  0      0
Then I rebooted my system (which I guess I didn't need to do) to see if the drive would be detected properly on bootup. Much to my delight, an "Aluratek" drive icon appeared on my Gnome desktop. Now I have a GREAT backup drive.

I'm still not sure why the drive is showing that it is 217GB instead of 232GB when it was a NTFS drive. I believe that may be because of the ext3 "formatting."

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