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I have an old hard disk I'm trying to check for data and format before recycling/donating. I'm using an IDE to USB adapter to connect the disk to my linux laptop. In my syslog I see the following when I plug it in:

Mar 19 15:01:35 precision kernel: [62196.815766] usb 1-1: new high-speed USB device number 26 using xhci_hcd
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.966683] usb 1-1: New USB device found, idVendor=152d, idProduct=2338
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.966689] usb 1-1: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=5
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.966693] usb 1-1: Product: USB to ATA/ATAPI Bridge
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.966697] usb 1-1: Manufacturer: JMicron
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.966700] usb 1-1: SerialNumber: 152D203380B6
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.968421] usb-storage 1-1:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision kernel: [62196.968714] scsi host2: usb-storage 1-1:1.0
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision mtp-probe: checking bus 1, device 26: "/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:14.0/usb1/1-1"
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision mtp-probe: bus: 1, device: 26 was not an MTP device
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision colord-sane: [bjnp] create_broadcast_socket: ERROR - bind socket to local address failed - Address already in use
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision colord-sane: [bjnp] create_broadcast_socket: ERROR - bind socket to local address failed - Cannot assign requested address
Mar 19 15:01:36 precision colord-sane: [bjnp] create_broadcast_socket: ERROR - bind socket to local address failed - Address already in use
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.984793] scsi 2:0:0:0: Direct-Access                                    PQ: 0 ANSI: 2 CCS
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.985346] sd 2:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg0 type 0
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.986216] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] 0 512-byte logical blocks: (0 B/0 B)
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.986221] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] 0-byte physical blocks
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.986752] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Test WP failed, assume Write Enabled
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.987244] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Asking for cache data failed
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.987251] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Assuming drive cache: write through
Mar 19 15:01:37 precision kernel: [62197.990117] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Attached SCSI disk

But it doesn't show up in lsblk or fdisk. It does show up in lsusb:

Bus 001 Device 026: ID 152d:2338 JMicron Technology Corp. / JMicron USA Technology Corp. JM20337 Hi-Speed USB to SATA & PATA Combo Bridge

When I try to run fdisk against it I get:

precision ~ # fdisk -l /dev/sda
fdisk: cannot open /dev/sda: No such file or directory

When I try to write to it with dd I get:

precision ~ # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512K
dd: error writing '/dev/sda': No space left on device
1+0 records in
0+0 records out
0 bytes copied, 0.000915617 s, 0.0 kB/s

What is going on here? Is the disk just bad?

System Information:

System:    Host: precision Kernel: 4.15.0-43-generic x86_64 (64 bit) Desktop: Cinnamon 3.4.6
           Distro: Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya
Machine:   System: Dell (portable) product: Precision 5520
           Mobo: Dell model: 04GFKY v: A00 Bios: Dell v: 1.5.0 date: 08/30/2017
CPU:       Quad core Intel Xeon E3-1505M v6 (-HT-MCP-) speed/max: 900/4000 MHz
Graphics:  Card-1: Intel HD Graphics P630
           Card-2: NVIDIA GM107GLM [Quadro M1200 Mobile]
           Display Server: X.org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa)
           tty size: 95x24 Advanced Data: N/A for root
Network:   Card: Intel Wireless 8265 / 8275 driver: iwlwifi
Drives:    HDD Total Size: NA (-)
Info:      Processes: 294 Uptime: 23:09 Memory: 3856.0/32018.6MB
           Client: Shell (bash) inxi: 2.2.35
  • yep, see answer below, almost certainly a bad drive. without doing anything but unplugging/re-plugging the usb cable sometimes it shows up, sometimes it doesn't, and when it does show up it will suddenly disconnect with I/O errors in syslog. I have other old drives that connect fine so I don't think the adapter is at fault either. – Dylan Cali Mar 19 at 20:32
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After re-trying for the umpteenth time I was finally able to get it to show up in lsblk and fdisk. However it suddenly "disconnected" again. In syslog there were a ton of partition/IO errors just before the disconnect. This pattern repeated itself a couple times.

So the answer is that yes, this is almost certainly a bad/failing disk.

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