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I have an external 2.5" 1TB Samsung hard drive, and it fails mount. Here's what palimpsest says about it:

enter image description here

It's even able to do a benchmark on it:

enter image description here

When I try to mount it normally, it fails:

$ sudo mount /dev/sdb3 temp
mount: you must specify the filesystem type

So I specified the filesystem type:

$ sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sdb3 temp
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/sdb3,
       missing codepage or helper program, or other error
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail  or so

Specifying ext2, ext3, and ext4 fails with the same error. Specifying ntfs fails with a different error:

$ sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sdb3 temp
NTFS signature is missing.
Failed to mount '/dev/sdb3': Invalid argument
The device '/dev/sdb3' doesn't seem to have a valid NTFS.
Maybe the wrong device is used? Or the whole disk instead of a
partition (e.g. /dev/sda, not /dev/sda1)? Or the other way around?

I'm pretty sure that the filesystem type is either vfat or ntfs. I checked the other types just to make sure, especially because that's what palimpsest claimed. (update: I later discovered that this GUI tool says Partition Type is Linux (0x83) even if there is no filesystem on the partition)

Here's what the beginning of the partition looks like:

# head -c 1024 < /dev/sdb3 | hd
00000000  d1 f5 9f 3b 5b ca 7e 8f  d7 8b be f8 b8 39 cc 1d  |...;[.~......9..|
00000010  e2 48 4f a3 e7 8e 64 68  34 6e 92 3c 5f 6e 59 e7  |.HO...dh4n.<_nY.|
00000020  a6 d0 7b f1 f9 2a 13 3d  43 61 f9 90 eb bd 0e ec  |..{..*.=Ca......|
00000030  ed 81 86 bb 09 64 8f c7  7f ea 01 dd a9 bf 49 7f  |.....d........I.|
00000040  f9 9b 76 cc bf 94 a4 50  fe f5 d1 cd 14 d4 cd e7  |..v....P........|
00000050  cf c7 e3 62 25 0c cb 78  3c 1b b5 31 18 8d bb 79  |...b%..x<..1...y|
00000060  7e 65 da 54 17 74 15 f2  0f 99 a3 82 61 b2 ab 27  |~e.T.t......a..'|
00000070  7f d6 fd 60 10 14 2f ea  09 1f 15 b6 66 78 fc b8  |...`../.....fx..|
00000080  b7 14 60 bb 7e 9f bb 25  b0 5c e2 fc 90 93 5b a2  |..`.~..%.\....[.|
00000090  01 47 3b 49 c6 23 fd d7  56 42 fb 05 cf 77 27 fa  |.G;I.#..VB...w'.|
000000a0  06 c1 fa f4 16 34 b6 cf  3f f1 68 8a 73 42 ff fb  |.....4..?.h.sB..|
000000b0  b9 6e 2c 7e a9 6e 22 bd  6f 7b fd 7a 17 27 18 d3  |.n,~.n".o{.z.'..|
000000c0  05 fb d3 37 0e aa 49 9c  8f b1 d3 b7 15 34 9d f3  |...7..I......4..|
000000d0  29 7f f4 34 c1 1f ea 89  3c 9f bb ae cc 0b df 0b  |)..4....<.......|
000000e0  7a ee d7 26 b2 f3 e8 ca  fb 5d dd 54 d5 b0 1a f8  |z..&.....].T....|
000000f0  fe f8 62 8a 0a a6 4a 2f  da cf 2b 8e 46 c2 fc ee  |..b...J/..+.F...|
00000100  4b c8 fd 17 33 2b 58 3c  fe ae 10 4f ff d1 0c 9d  |K...3+X<...O....|
00000110  4e 73 7d 91 ad 7f d9 41  79 ee 21 ed 87 2d c3 52  |Ns}....Ay.!..-.R|
00000120  60 cc f4 a0 7c de 88 68  86 c7 53 f8 bc 98 50 af  |`...|..h..S...P.|
00000130  44 58 cf 39 93 3e cb f7  cb 98 ff 72 35 92 7d 97  |DX.9.>.....r5.}.|
00000140  1e 30 ff 79 3c 89 fa 0f  33 36 44 01 f1 af df e6  |.0.y<...36D.....|
00000150  01 df f2 c1 9b 85 e3 13  41 5f ba ed 97 5e 40 1b  |........A_...^@.|
00000160  de 5f 72 ae 24 1a 5a c1  5e e6 8d 64 fe e3 1a f7  |._r.$.Z.^..d....|
00000170  1f 93 7f 29 85 3e 32 4d  aa 96 fd c5 f6 30 58 17  |...).>2M.....0X.|
00000180  3d 84 3c 1f 3b e7 88 3d  fa 7a 70 7d 8a df 13 dc  |=.<.;..=.zp}....|
00000190  60 fa ea 10 cd f7 db 9a  c4 ec 95 97 17 f9 e7 9d  |`...............|
000001a0  1b 54 30 7e e3 45 f5 5c  fd 9e 66 e8 25 d4 17 7a  |.T0~.E.\..f.%..z|
000001b0  0d b3 83 21 6b 3b 1e c8  fd b2 75 4a 28 ff f7 9c  |...!k;....uJ(...|
000001c0  ec c1 1f ad 1c 61 4a d9  45 f9 bb 7d cc 3f d4 0b  |.....aJ.E..}.?..|
000001d0  fe e1 f9 40 16 f9 3c 7a  4c f3 d3 23 d6 05 63 bf  |...@..<zL..#..c.|
000001e0  b0 9f d3 e7 b4 84 c9 9c  4d fd 6f 4b d7 56 43 e3  |........M.oK.VC.|
000001f0  cb eb 59 13 f7 15 41 e9  19 4d f9 b0 51 57 6b 60  |..Y...A..M..QWk`|
00000200  38 5c 4a 7c c7 bd 3b 1c  b1 51 d0 13 39 76 36 12  |8\J|..;..Q..9v6.|
00000210  d6 9f 5e c2 51 9e 17 7a  80 c5 df 2e b1 a4 47 ff  |..^.Q..z......G.|
00000220  ad 27 b3 e9 a6 9b 74 1e  4f bd 39 18 67 ff a5 eb  |.'....t.O.9.g...|
00000230  2b 78 c6 fc e5 cc 4c 9a  af 19 78 30 0b 9a a1 bc  |+x....L...x0....|
00000240  9f 2b 7b 95 1f 16 09 f3  29 b7 79 24 63 90 a0 3f  |.+{.....).y$c..?|
00000250  75 bb 7b 1c ac e3 78 7f  e5 e6 03 61 d0 1d 79 08  |u.{...x....a..y.|
00000260  d9 9e ec f9 a6 39 94 df  c7 51 3e a7 cb c4 0a a8  |.....9...Q>.....|
00000270  03 79 fd f7 f5 bb 8e 68  28 d9 45 f5 08 fb e3 21  |.y.....h(.E....!|
00000280  50 0c 7c cc e7 89 dc 65  31 d6 bb 2f a8 ff fd 66  |P.|....e1../...f|
00000290  3b 4f 28 1e 9e 20 fc ed  52 a8 86 b6 67 a2 d4 ce  |;O(.. ..R...g...|
000002a0  d5 b6 9f ff 0e c5 e0 e1  c2 79 6a 15 04 e3 c9 db  |.........yj.....|
000002b0  a4 87 12 73 cf 17 da 4b  d3 c8 9e 05 2b b3 a0 3c  |...s...K....+..<|
000002c0  ec 47 f6 49 1d a1 c4 ee  7f 79 7e 70 4d 84 37 8c  |.G.I.....y~pM.7.|
000002d0  ce 67 b1 c0 16 df f4 7d  c4 f0 d3 82 16 64 2f 86  |.g.....}.....d/.|
000002e0  be 1f 0b dd 64 9e 7f 70  aa 4b 82 65 93 2b e5 bb  |....d..p.K.e.+..|
000002f0  ff d7 43 09 d3 b6 67 d8  29 e7 73 87 b7 82 6e 60  |..C...g.).s...n`|
00000300  01 f5 7f cd e9 fa a6 7e  ba 13 32 ff bf e3 b0 22  |.......~..2...."|
00000310  a8 eb 78 7c 35 e7 7f 0c  af 77 3f c8 f9 d5 93 12  |..x|5....w?.....|
00000320  a0 18 e1 4c f3 93 5f 85  c7 42 d1 85 d7 cf 37 d7  |...L.._..B....7.|
00000330  7a e0 71 b9 30 df de 2e  1e ea f7 96 52 be 3c 30  |z.q.0.......R.<0|
00000340  3c 15 0d 31 41 92 1c 9f  f7 9e c5 ec 81 e6 00 cd  |<..1A...........|
00000350  bf ea 77 af 06 96 b3 7c  5e e1 b4 0f 5b c1 94 58  |..w....|^...[..X|
00000360  20 39 ca f9 4e f7 54 68  ad bf 49 45 8e 36 fe c0  | 9..N.Th..IE.6..|
00000370  88 02 e8 d7 71 fe 4d f2  cf 2e 18 26 d8 eb 65 c9  |....q.M....&..e.|
00000380  ee a8 2d 13 e6 bf 06 db  43 7f b8 0e b2 3d d9 d0  |..-.....C....=..|
00000390  d0 14 e6 fd 97 f1 95 6d  ff 3a 97 b6 c6 35 81 6f  |.......m.:...5.o|
000003a0  3e 95 ad 5c 9b f0 8c ad  c3 e6 af 8d f6 2c 1e e6  |>..\.........,..|
000003b0  7c fc 63 11 2c fe be 7c  9c e2 91 38 ef 30 98 17  ||.c.,..|...8.0..|
000003c0  3e 20 fb b6 bc 3b fb fc  e6 67 34 0f 35 f9 69 30  |> ...;...g4.5.i0|
000003d0  14 ed eb 29 fe 39 7d ce  01 fa a3 fc fb 3a 0c 4b  |...).9}......:.K|
000003e0  83 e5 0c 9f 3f 33 79 8b  12 d6 77 78 fd ba 74 3d  |....?3y...wx..t=|
000003f0  c3 67 cb 39 de cf e9 52  08 ed 6b a5 74 c1 76 7d  |.g.9...R..k.t.v}|
00000400
share|improve this question
1  
What does file -s /dev/sdb3 show? From the information in your question so far, it looks like you have a valid disk, but whatever is on the partition is not a filesystem that's supported by your kernel. It could be a different filesystem, an encrypted or LVM volume, blank space, … –  Gilles Jun 9 '11 at 21:31
    
Output of that command is /dev/sdb3: data. –  Tshepang Jun 9 '11 at 21:42
    
Looks like nothing on your system recognizes what's on that partition. Are you sure there's supposed to be something? Post the output of head -c 1024 </dev/sda | hd. –  Gilles Jun 9 '11 at 21:53
    
I updated the question. –  Tshepang Jun 9 '11 at 22:24
    
(I meant /dev/sdb3 indeed.) That looks pretty random. Are you sure there's supposed to be data in there? It might be encrypted. Does cryptsetup luksUUID /dev/sdb3 find anything? –  Gilles Jun 9 '11 at 22:56

4 Answers 4

Is there a question here? Have you tried to manually mount the drive? It looks like the auto-mount functionality isn't working, but you don't mention if you're failing to mount the drive and if so, what error messages (if any) are being produced. You might try

mount /dev/sdb1 /somedir (and repeat for the other partitions)

That should mount the partitions and make them accessible -- assuming the kernel can determine the filesystem used.

share|improve this answer
    
Good point. I've updated the question. –  Tshepang Jun 9 '11 at 14:21

I don't have a definitive answer, but I thought I'd offer my experience of dealing with the same problem. A little while ago I bought a 1TB Iomega external HD and tried to mount it on my Dell Inspiron 1420 running slackware 13.2. The drive came pre-formatted with some Windows format (vfat maybe) and I couldn't mount it. After struggling for a while I decided that the problem might be its size or the combo of the size and the format (my vfat thumb-drives have no problem) So I created 3 partitions, 2 ext3 and 1 ntfs (not equally). After I did that, it mounted cleanly.

So, have you thought of re-formatting the disk to ext3? Is it important to you to have it be vfat?

share|improve this answer
    
I want to recover the data claimed to be there first. –  Tshepang Jun 9 '11 at 22:52
    
Well, if you want a sideways answer, you can borrow a friend's windows machine and recover the data that way. When I was having the mounting problem I tried mounting it on several windows machines and it worked every time. (not an endorsement for windows!) I would bet you won't have any problems mounting it there. –  bev Jun 9 '11 at 23:41

The first kB of the partition contains random-looking data. It doesn't seem to have a header for any known format.

This could be a partition encrypted with a system that is indistinguishable from random noise (e.g. dm-crypt, TrueCrypt). This could be just random (as in, unknown) garbage that happens to be there from prior use (before you repartitioned the disk the last time).

You could try to recover data on that partition with carving tools such as Foremost, MagicRescue, PhotoRec (from the makers of TestDisk), RecoverJPEG, …

share|improve this answer
    
I am able to recover some data using Foremost. It's still running, so I haven't tried the other tools yet. –  Tshepang Jun 10 '11 at 10:31

This is kind of a long shot.

If this is a usb drive is it getting enough power?

Is it possible to provide external power to it? Can you use that usb cable that uses 2 ports on the pc?

I have noticed that some external harddrives works well with some pc:s and not with others, and in those cases it is usually a power problem.

share|improve this answer
    
It's not a power problem. I also thought that it might be an issue, so I used a USB cable that has two slots. Also, I was able to do a dd copy of the entire partition (900GB+) without fail, so power definitely isn't a problem. –  Tshepang Jun 14 '11 at 7:37

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