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Last night my wife's laptop running OpenSUSE appears to have had some sort of failure such that on start-up it gives a whole bunch of errors and ends up prompting for a root password to start up with read-only access to a shell.

In this read-only mode I was able to view that all of the important files appear to still be there so I want to back them up before doing anything.

I attached an external USB drive and it comes up with a message:

usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 3
usb 4-3: new device found, idVendor=152d, idProduct=2338
sub 4-3: new device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=5
scsi3 : SCSU emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
scsi 3:0:0:0: Direct-Access WDS WD25 WD-[...more hard drive info...etc.]
sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] Assuming drive cache: write through
 sdb: [mac] sdb1 sdb2 sdb3 sdb4
sd 3:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk
sd 3:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0

So I assume all that means is that it found the drive.

Now, I want to mount it to be able to copy files to it.

Two questions?

  1. How do I find it i /dev/
  2. Even if I find it, how do I mount it when I only have read-only access?

Thanks for any help here.

share|improve this question
OK - I just ran mount -n -o remount,rw / and now appear to be in read-write mode. Still could use help mounting the external drive though. – chaimp Dec 17 '10 at 16:09
Can we get the output if fdisk -l? But if I have to gues I'd say mkdir /mnt/tmp && mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/tmp. – Bobby Dec 17 '10 at 16:10
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can even remount the file system by force remount - just remember you need to fsck the system. if the system mount it as read only there must be something wrong with the filesystem.

mount -n -o remount /

for the usb stick, usually it is emulated as scsi, you can use

fdisk -l

to list all the connected drives at the moment. for mounting e.g. a ntfs drive, on /dev/sdb1, try:

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt

substitute vfat if you are using fat16/32.

share|improve this answer
Alright. fdisk -l gives me: "Disk /dev/dd: 250.0 GB .... Disk /dev/sdc doesn't contain a valid partition table" I tried mounting with the above command and that did not work. I have tried several things and at one point, I did manage to get it to mount read-only, but since I'm trying to write to it that was not what I'm trying to do. What do you think the next best option is? I could try a regular usb stick. Do you think it will make a difference? – chaimp Dec 17 '10 at 16:31
i think you want to post the whole fdisk output in your original question. if you want to copy things out i think you can try to get the harddisk out and use explore2fs/mount it in other box. – bubu Dec 17 '10 at 16:34
Ah - I got it read-only again using "mount /dev/sdc3 /mnt/" (by process of elimination). It gives me "hfs: write access to a jounaled filesystem is not supported, use the force option at your own risk, mounting read-only." (I'm guessing jounaled is "journaled") So this probably means better to go with a USB stick that I can easily reformat. There's stuff on this external drive that I don't want to lose. – chaimp Dec 17 '10 at 16:37
you are correct – bubu Dec 17 '10 at 16:41
worked with the usb stick - thanks for telling me about fdisk -l. I have everything backed up (using cp -a and also made a .tar.gz just in case...). Now ready to wipe the drive. Do you have any recommendations about fixing the drive or will a clean install of Ubuntu where I let it format the drive fix things through reformating? – chaimp Dec 17 '10 at 19:21

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