How to mount a USB External NTFS Hard Drive that won’t mount in Ubuntu

Feb 19th, 2010 | By | Category: Linux / Freebsd

So I was having a problem with my external USB hard drive lately.  The USB connectors on this LG laptop are a bit shady so things get disconnected if you bump them and this would happen with my hard drive.. The problem being that if the Hard drive was disconnected like this and not properlyy unmounted that it wouldn’t come back up 50% of the time when I plugged it back in.

It would show up when I run fdisk -l and in dmesg but when I try to mount the drive it would return with the error ‘special device does not exist’.  The only way I could get it back online was to reboot the machine, until now! 🙂

I tried installed usbmount and pmount but neither fixed the problem.

After some research I discovered the MAKEDEV command.  So what I tried was to run MAKEDEV from inside of /dev/ and it would give me an error: “.udevdb or .udev presence implies active udev.  Aborting MAKEDEV invocation.”

So I went on and looked into /dev/.udev/ and found a /failed/ directory which had a blocked file in there referring to the hard drive that wasn’t mounting.  For some reason I ran the MAKEDEV [device] command here and VIOLA, it worked.  Apparently it just needs to be run in a directory that doesn’t have a .udev subdirectory in it

So for me the command was MAKEDEV /dev/sdd and it created sdd1 through sdd10.  Not sure what the other ones are for but I was able to mount sdd1 properly and access my hard drive.  I mean this is a pretty backwards work around but I can access my hard drive without rebooting, so I’m good to go!

So to sum it up, if you have a device that isn’t mounting properly but you can see the device with #sudo fdisk -l then:

  1. try creating a temporary directory for your new mount points
  2. Then run MAKEDEV [device] inside of that directory.  So if the partition your trying to mount is say /dev/sda1 then you’ll want to run MAKEDEV /dev/sda and hopefully that gives you access without needing to reboot.
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