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Under Ubuntu, I am trying to mount an external hard drive .

(1). First I tried to find out the name of the device:

$ sudo fdisk -l  

Disk /dev/sda: 100.0 GB, 100030242816 bytes  
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 12161 cylinders  
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes  
Disk identifier: 0xa315a315  

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System  
/dev/sda1               1         383     3076416   12  Compaq diagnostics  
/dev/sda2   *         384        6258    47190937+   c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)  
/dev/sda3            6259       12161    47415847+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)  
/dev/sda5            6259       10338    32772568+   7  HPFS/NTFS  
/dev/sda6           12041       12161      971901   82  Linux swap / Solaris  
/dev/sda7           10947       12040     8787523+  83  Linux  
/dev/sda8           10339       10946     4883728+  83  Linux  

Partition table entries are not in disk order  

I wonder which one is my external hard drive?

(2) Next I will mount the external hard drive assuming it is /dev/sda3

$ sudo mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/extdisk   
mount: you must specify the filesystem type  
$ sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sda3 /mnt/extdisk   
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda3,  
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error  
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try  
       dmesg | tail  or so      
$ sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sda3 /mnt/extdisk   
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sda3,  
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error  
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try  
       dmesg | tail  or so  

I wonder how to know the fs type of my external hard drive?

Thanks and regards!

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4 Answers

If you want to easily find the device name assigned to it:

  • Unplug your external drive
  • Open the terminal and run tail -f /var/log/messages
  • plug your drive in and watch, you'll get output like this:
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 10
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: New USB device found, idVendor=05dc, idProduct=a764
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: Product: USB Flash Drive
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: Manufacturer: Lexar
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: SerialNumber: CCMAR10MYORIAFSF1141
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: usb 1-3.1.3: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
Nov 29 13:24:10 mercury kernel: scsi4 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel: scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access     Lexar    USB Flash Drive  1100 PQ: 0 ANSI: 0 CCS
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 7831552 512-byte hardware sectors: (4.00 GB/3.73 GiB)
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 7831552 512-byte hardware sectors: (4.00 GB/3.73 GiB)
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel: sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
Nov 29 13:24:16 mercury kernel:  sdb: sdb1

it's clear that the device has been assigned sdb. Now we can mount it's first partition:

mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /mnt

If that fails, your drive is probably NTFS formatted:

mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /mnt
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/dev/sda3 is certainly not your external drive, it's the third partition of your primary hard drive. Follow John T's instructions to find out your hard drive's device, or use cat /proc/partitions and look for entries that are not /dev/sdaX.

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fdisk -l prints the partition table of the specified physical hard drive. hence - /dev/sda1 is a partition on the first physical hard drive (/dev/sda). Your external hard drive is most likely /dev/sdb or something like that. sda1 - first physical hard drive - partition 1 sdb1 - second physical hard drive - partition 1 etc.

As for the filesystem type, you can see if with fdisk -l once you have the correct device node :)

You might want to read http://www.linux-tutorial.info/modules.php?name=MContent&pageid=94.

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(2) Next I will mount the external hard drive assuming it is /dev/sda3

/dev/sda3 is the extended partition as indicated by Ext'd (LBA).

To me it seems that your external hard disk is not yet detected, and fdisk is showing you the internal HDD structure

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