Sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/HDD2

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As you may have read I recently jumped on the netbook bandwagon and have been playing about with the Asus Eee PC 901 for a while now.  For the past few weeks I’ve been using it as I travel for TechDays as an email and web surfing machine but decided I should put some music and videos on there to watch on the road.  That was were the fun began.

I had installed Ubuntu Eee as I like to have one Linux based machine accessible in case I want to try something out or I am bored.  It is a nice little OS for the little notebook netbook and for email and web surfing it did a suitable job.  The fun began when I tried to do more.  I had already given up on a good Twitter client or blog editor and have gotten used to the lack of features in Pidgen IM and was pretty happy with how things were working.  Then came that multimedia idea.

The Eee PC 901 has two storage devices, a 4GB flash drive and a 16GB flash drive.  The OS is installed on the 4GB drive leaving 16GB for music and movies (or other data), more than enough for a few days on the road, so I connected to a network share and attempted to download a few gigs of data.  Where is the 16GB secondary drive?  It shows up in GPart, the partition manager, so physically the drive is working and recognized so thinking something else was wrong I deleted the partition, recreated it and formatted it.  Still not available.  Hmmmm…

After about 20 minutes of searching online I had the answer, I needed to mount the drive, and as simple as that sounds it really couldn’t be more convoluted. Open Terminal and…

sudo mkdir /media/HDD2

chmod 777 /media/HDD2       (I am sure I gave too many permissions)

Logout and then log back in and then

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/HDD2

With the drive mounted I was able to copy data over to it and I was ready to go on my way.  So a few days later after a successful TechDays Montreal I am in the hotel unwinding before an early flight the next day and decide to watch a TV show I had recorded on my Media Center and re-encoded to AVI format using the DivX codec.  The same problem shows up again with the 16GB drive missing.  Hmmm so I run the last command from the set posted above and the drive mounts but I am thinking shouldn’t it auto mount?  Well it can you just have to edit the /etc/fstab file, of course, silly me for having to look that up online as well. Another 20 minutes of searching and I am back in Terminal and…

 sudo nano /etc/fstab

Then add the following line, save, ext and reboot!

/dev/sdb1 /media/HDD2 auto user,auto,exec,rw 0

Now when I reboot the drive is automatically mounted!  Great now I can watch my TV show!  While enjoying some time with my feet up, watching Crusoe I got to thinking.  Yeah the fit and finish has come along way, but it still has a long way to go before it hits mainstream.  You should not have to jump into a command prompt, elevate privileges, create mount points and edit obscure files just to access a drive and have it auto mount.  If the drive is there during install, shouldn’t the install take care of that?  Am I missing something? Just for fun I threw a typo into the fstab file and well that is a story for another day…

As I thought about it more I wondered if your everyday PC user like your mom, dad, brother, sister, etc… could figure this out and why this isn’t just automatic? 

Maybe we have become lazy, there was a time when you had to start your car with a crank and now some cars you just get in and press a button and go :)

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  • Oh I could make a comment about Linux installations, but I won't. :-)

  • A couple of quick hints. Yes, Ubuntu normally does automatically map any volumes it detects during installation or even just upon booting but i'm told the Eee version of Ubuntu doesn't for whatever reason.

    If you're already in terminal and want to know what drives/partitions exist or what mount points have been established... 'fdisk -l' and 'mount' are your best friends. ('mount' just by itself displays all current mounts)

    Also... not sure if it would be supported on Ubuntu Eee but aMSN (http://amsn.sourceforge.net/) is the closest to a Linux MSN clone that i've found. Haven't used it for a little while but it was very featureful last time I checked.

    Signed,

    The Anonymous Linux User

  • But Rodney, that's what makes it so much FUN!

    Breaking out the legos and slapping them together :)

    BTW.... Sorry about your keyboard (in advance)

  • Thanks for the tips Anonymous Linux User :)

    Glad to see most of the issues are related to the custom Eee build.  It does make me wonder why they don't automount since most Eee PC's have two storage drives.  Oh well!

  • A few comments from someone you know.

    1- As said by the anonymous linux user: many problems are related to the build - EEEbuntu ain't the best version out there. I'd personaly recommend a vanilla Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex with a little magic on the side.

    2- for the MSN client: as you are an MS employee, i'd recommend Emesene (look it up in synaptic). You'd be surprised at how close it emulates WLM8's interface (for a clone, i'll say). I don't like aMSN because it doesn't integrate well. A "little" dowside of Emesene is that it remembers your passport password... in a cleartext file. That actually sucks.

    3- chmod 777 (something) is as bad as me deactivating UAC! (see previous blog post on Vista and a Macbook)

  • Rod,

    You what they say... "with power, comes responsibility"

    Sometimes, although a pain, not automounting can be a good thing...

    In the good ole days of unix (not sooo many years ago early 90's) rebooting the OS without unmounting *would* kill the filesystem, and fsck usually didn't fix it... I remember asking my local unix guru about the undelete command in unix... (He just laughed and pointed... "no such command son...)

    Those same systems typically didn't unmount the mounted filesystems before it rebooted... They would just blindly shut themselves down...

    I remember one system I use to work on would say (after doing a fsck) power cycle machine without umount and sync to commit changes to the filesystem... MAN the first time I turned the Keyswitch to remove power on the system without shuting it down first was REALLY scary...

    Before the days of automounting and unmounting was a real pain with floppies... you had to mount and unmount each one *BEFORE* removing it... fun times indeed!

    Dan

  • Rod,

    You what they say... "with power, comes responsibility"

    Sometimes, although a pain, not automounting can be a good thing...

    In the good ole days of unix (not sooo many years ago early 90's) rebooting the OS without unmounting *would* kill the filesystem, and fsck usually didn't fix it... I remember asking my local unix guru about the undelete command in unix... (He just laughed and pointed... "no such command son...)

    Those same systems typically didn't unmount the mounted filesystems before it rebooted... They would just blindly shut themselves down...

    I remember one system I use to work on would say (after doing a fsck) power cycle machine without umount and sync to commit changes to the filesystem... MAN the first time I turned the Keyswitch to remove power on the system without shuting it down first was REALLY scary...

    Before the days of automounting and unmounting was a real pain with floppies... you had to mount and unmount each one *BEFORE* removing it... fun times indeed!

    Dan

  • Ahhhh waddaya expect for sub $400? :)

    I would suspect a little less R&D from Asus. But it's definitely a cool little box all the same.

    And I'll bet you could squeeze in some Mame roms on there to boot!