I'm trying to mount an external Toshiba USB drive in Ubuntu 19.04. No entry appears in the file manager gui when the drive is plugged in. fdisk shows...

ewan@tiny:~$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sdb: 698.7 GiB, 750156374016 bytes, 1465149168 sectors
Disk model: External USB 3.0
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt

I used gdisk to partition the drive, and listing partitions shows:

Command (? for help): p
Disk /dev/sdb: 1465149168 sectors, 698.6 GiB
Model: External USB 3.0
Sector size (logical/physical): 512/512 bytes
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
Main partition table begins at sector 2 and ends at sector 33
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 1465149134
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 2014 sectors (1007.0 KiB)
Number  Start (sector)    End (sector)  Size       Code  Name
   1            2048      1465149134   698.6 GiB   8300  Linux filesystem   

The partition changes were saved with the gdisk 'w' command.

Using lsblk shows (drive info redacted):

ewan@tiny:~$ lsblk -fa
loop22 squashfs                                                    0   100% /snap/gnome-system-m
loop23 squashfs                                                    0   100% /snap/gnome-characte
├─sda1 vfat           XXXXXXXXX                               503.4M     1% /boot/efi
├─sda2 ext4           XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX    412.8M    34% /boot
└─sda3 crypto_L       XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX                  
    │  ext4           XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX    110.5G    47% /
       swap           XXXXXXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXXXXXXXXXX                  [SWAP]

When I try to mount:

ewan@tiny:~$ sudo mount /dev/sdb /media/usb/
NTFS signature is missing.
Failed to mount '/dev/sdb': Invalid argument
The device '/dev/sdb' 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?  

Any suggestions please?

  • 1
    What happens if you try to mount /dev/sdb1?
    – Hermann
    Nov 16 '19 at 17:50
  • 1
    Can you add the output of lsblk -fa to your answer
    – printf
    Nov 16 '19 at 19:03
  • @Hermann sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb gives the same error message as for mounting /dev/sdb (albeit referring to /dev/sdb1 of course)
    – Ewan
    Nov 17 '19 at 12:02
  • 1
    It seems you havent added a filesystem on your sdb disk, you should first add a filesystem then try to mount after. To create a NTFS filesystem use mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb, After this you should mount using /dev/sdb1 /media/usb, Reply to me if this does or does no work please.
    – printf
    Nov 17 '19 at 12:34
  • 1
    @Ewan nice just remember the 3 steps to disks in linux, 1) partition, 2) add filesystem 3) mount (or add entry to fstab for automatic mounting)
    – printf
    Nov 17 '19 at 20:45

gdisk just modifies the partition table, it does not actually create the filesystem metadata structures into new partitions (aka "formatting" the partition). For that, you'll need some variant of the mkfs command.

As you've created a partition /dev/sdb1 and marked it as a Linux filesystem, you should now create the filesystem of the desired type on it. For example, if you choose to use the ext4 filesystem type, you should run sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb1; if you chose XFS instead, you should run sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1 instead.

After the mkfs command is successfully executed, the filesystem should be ready for mounting. And you should use the partition device (/dev/sdb1), not the whole-disk device (/dev/sdb) for mounting.

  • Perfect. Thanks very much, I created an ext4 filesystem as above.
    – Ewan
    Nov 17 '19 at 12:30

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