Does Ubuntu damage USB drives?


This has little to do with any operating system. This is a file system error, which in most cases indicates that the drive was not unmounted properly (user error). It is not an absolute indication of damage, it merely indicates a possibility of a damage. If present, the damage is usually limited to the last written file(s). Windows "Repair" command in this case scans the drive for sectors marked as "occupied", but not assigned to any file and then assigns this scraps and pieces to new files.

This error can be also created on Windows, if you just yank out the drive during write without unmounting it first (in Windows "Eject" performs the unmount).

Seeing this message means that the drive was not unmounted properly.

You can verify on your own if the file system was really damaged or is it just false positive: if after running "Repair" a new folder named like "found000" appears with some files in it, it means there really was an unfinished write that got...

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Last Updated April 01, 2016 09:00 AM

two years ago I started to use Ubuntu on my HP notebook and noticed a strange behavior: Whenever I unmount a USB drive with Nautilus and plug it to a Windows machine, I receive a warning that the drive needs to be repaired.

(the same message like in this screenshot)

For 10+ years working with windows I never had a corrupted or damaged USB drive but during the last two years three of my USB drives became inoperative, so I cannot prove it, but it's obvious that this is related to Ubuntu's (un)mount behavior.

A friend told me I can prevent such damage using udisks and sync, but I hope this is not the way to do it, mounting drives with shell commands in 2016 :-)

All the best!

Answers 8

This is mostly an issue with Windows. It thinks it is the only OS in the world and acts out if it detects something it does not understand.

Just because Windows says you must...

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Does Ubuntu damage USB drives?

By | April 1, 2016 | Category Uncategorized

By jan6352781

two years ago I started to use Ubuntu on my HP notebook and noticed a strange behavior: Whenever I unmount a USB drive with Nautilus and plug it to a Windows machine, I receive a warning that the drive needs to be repaired.
(the same message like in this screenshot)

For 10+ years working with windows I never had a corrupted or damaged USB drive but during the last two years three of my USB drives became inoperative, so I cannot prove it, but it’s obvious that this is related to Ubuntu’s (un)mount behavior.

A friend told me I can prevent such damage using udisks and sync, but I hope this is not the way to do it, mounting drives with shell commands in 2016

All the best!


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Updated For Ubuntu 16.04

This tutorial shows you how to create a Ubuntu 16.04 USB drive using Windows 10 (although it will also work for other versions of Ubuntu including Ubuntu 15.10, Ubuntu 15.04 and Ubuntu 14.04).

It is written for Windows users thinking of trying Ubuntu out and is part of a larger guide showing how to dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

Download Ubuntu

Download Ubuntu from

The latest version of Ubuntu is 16.04 and it is a long term support
release which means it will be supported until 2021.

You do however need to make sure you choose the correct
flavour. The choices are 64-bit or 32-bit.

To find out whether you are running a 32-bit or 64-bit type
“PC Info” into the search box. Click the “About Your PC” option that appears at
the top of the results.

A settings window will appear and halfway down the right
hand side of the...

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How to make read-only file system writable?

I am not sure since when the filesystem on my digital audio player has been changed to be read-only. I cannot copy files into it or remove files on it.

Are there some possible reasons for the player's file system to change the permission of its file system?

I tried chmod:

$ sudo chmod a+rw SGTL\ MSCN/ chomd: changing permissions of `SGTL MSCN/': Read-only file system

where "SGTL MSCN" is the mounted point of the digital audio player.

I was wondering how to make it writable?

Thanks and regards!

Source: (StackOverflow)

How can I use RAM storage for the /tmp directory and how to set a maximum amount of RAM usage for it?

After seeing the comment by Anonymous on the question How is the /tmp directory cleaned up?, I found that it would be a great idea to implement on my system, since I have 16GB of RAM and I never used all of it.

My temporary files never get written to...

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The title for this guide is "How To Fix A USB Drive Using Ubuntu". This suggests that the USB drive is in some way broken.

The thing is that whilst the drive may have some strange partitioning going on or the block size is reported incorrectly when you open GParted or you get strange errors when running the Disk Utility within Ubuntu the USB drive isn't really broken. It is just a little bit confused.

In this guide, I will show you how to get a USB drive into a state where you can access it again from GParted or the Ubuntu Disk Utility without getting errors.

The Errors

Common errors that you will get on a USB drive, especially if you have installed Linux to it using either the DD command or a Windows tool such as Win32 Disk Imager are that despite being a certain size (e.g.16 gigabytes) drive you can only see one partition which is much smaller or the Disk Utility and GParted show a message stating that you have an incorrect block...

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Format Usb Flash Drive Ubuntu

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Format Usb Drive Ntfs Ubuntu

best answers are voted up and rise to the top Unable to format usb drive (udisks-error-quark, 14) up vote 0 down vote favorite I have been striving hard to format my usb drive. I cannot format it. Whenever I try it...

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This page explains how to use USB drives, like external hard disks and USB flash drives (aka USB sticks, thumb drives, pen drives, etc). The material here also applies to flash cards (like in your digital camera).

USB storage devices have the enormous advantage that for the most part they use a standard set of protocols. Thus, instead of needing individual drivers, as does much computer hardware, a standard driver permits access to the devices, making them very portable and able to easily work on many platforms.

For help with internal hard drives, see Fstab and MountingWindowsPartitions.


By default, storage devices that are plugged into the system mount automatically in the /media/ directory, open a file browser window for each volume and place an icon on your desktop. The rationale for this slight change of behavior can be found here. If you plug in a usb hard disk with many partitions, all of the partitions will automatically mount. This...

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Mar 6, 2010

I have a Coby MP3 player which functions as a USB drive. It has always worked fine, both on Ubuntu Karmic and on the Windows (booted from another disk).

Now, in Ubuntu, it appears as read-only (but it works fine when I boot into Windows on the same machine). How can I deal with this? It's not a matter of my fstab, which I have never manually edited; the USB device is always auto-detected.

Ubuntu Installation :: When I Plug In A USB Drive, The Drive Icon No Longer Appears On Desktop? SUSE :: Persistent Live USB - File System Appears Read Only Ubuntu :: Read A Usb Flash Drive In The Windows O/S I Want To Read Mp3 Player? CentOS 5 :: Crashing And What Appears To Be Hard Drive Errors / Bad Hard Drive? Ubuntu :: External Hard-drive Only Appears On Whoever Desktop Logs On First Ubuntu :: External Storage Drive Appears Connected Whilst Removed? Ubuntu :: When Turn On The Computer, The GRUB Menu Appears, Press Enter, Then A Little Flashing Underscore Appears...
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This guide will teach you how to install Ubuntu from a bootable USB drive to be used in live mode or to run a full installation of Ubuntu operating system on your computer.

As we all know, many operating systems including Ubuntu Linux comes in disk image format (.iso – archive file of an optical disk), therefore their primary mode of installation is either through a CD or DVD plates. As time goes, the use of of CD and even the modern DVDs are being gradually replaced by a more friendly and easy to use USB drives, due to their flexibility and non restrictive usage (most PCs have one CD/DVD rom with multiple USB ports).

Also, this tutorial will be useful for those whose PCs does not come with a CD/DVD drive, and the only option for them to install an operating system via network. They will learn how to install Ubuntu from a bootable disk drive without relying on the use of a network connection.

It is also recommended not to use a USB disk below the size...

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Now that you're in Ubuntu, it is time to format the flash drive. We will make two partitions, one for the actual Ubuntu OS, and another to automatically save your changes and settings back to the flash drive and restore them on each boot. You can also store personal data on the second partition.

Backup all your data on your flash drive before doing this. This will erase all your files on you flash drive

0. Backup the data on your flash drive.

1. Open Terminal, under Applications

2. Type in "sudo su"

3. Type in "fdisk -l", and identify which device is your flash drive. Mine was "sdb". Whenever I type "sdb", put in your flash drive identification. For example, if your flash drive was sda, and I typed "format sdb1" then you would type "format sda1".

4. Type "umount /dev/sdb1"

5. Type "fdisk /dev/sdb"

type p to show the existing partition and d to delete ittype p again to show any remaining partitions (if partitions exist,...
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9l7GB seems excessive for swap. If you have something like 4-8GB of RAM, you would not need nearly that much. If you have a big drive, I guess it doesn't matter. In GParted, you should see the unallocated space in the main window. Click on it to highlight it and then click the Partition tab at the top and you should have the 'New' option, click it and you should be able to set it as swap. If you've done this and it failed you need to post more detail on what exactly you did and the results.

Huh ???. You do


want to use NTFS for Linux.

Swap needs to be in a partition, not un-allocated space.

"dd" is absolutely the worst option in this situation. You can just preallocate partitions and create Linux filesystems on them and copy everything across, or (better) do as suggested by @yooy, and re-install from scratch. Much better option - Ubuntu is (was, last I tried) good at recognising prior userid/password on install.

I've used...

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shai ban wrote:I am confused between between UBUNTU bootable USB drive and UBUNTU installation on USB Drive.

1) Ubuntu (not UBUNTU) bootable USB (not USB drive) : It is a USB (flash, external hard-disk etc.) which contains the contents of Ubuntu live CD and is bootable. You can plug this to any computer and if you boot from USB, ideally you'll get exact same result as you'll get while running from a live CD. Only thing is - improvement in speed (since access time of USB disk is far less than CD).

2) Ubuntu installation on USB : When you install Ubuntu, generally you do it on a hard disk, right? Same way, if you install it on USB disk (say external hard disk), then it is Ubuntu installation on USB. Here, when you'll boot from USB (where you've installed Ubuntu), ideally, you'll not see any difference between booting from hard disk or booting from USB.

Another difference is space requirements. Ubuntu bootable USB requires almost same size as that of live CD...

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Just install Hardy Heron in your USB flash memory stick in the regular way the same as any other hard drive.
Hardy Heron features the latest Xorg 7.3 Xwindow system from X.Org Foundation. Mine has been able to set itself up automatically for all the different computers and monitors around my house that I have been able to boot a USB with so far. This renders the 'Persistent' type liveCD USB installs obsolete.

All we need to do now is just a regular installation, and select 'guided partitioning' and choose the USB as the disk to install in.
Remember to install GRUB to MBR in the USB device rather than let it go to your first hard disk.
In the 'Desktop' Live/Install CD you do that in step 7 of 7 by pressing the 'advanced' button and selecting which hard disk (MBR) for GRUB to be installed in, and select your USB's MBR.
If you are using the 'Alternate CD' to install with, you click 'No' when it asks you if it can install GRUB to MBR in the first hard disk, and...

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Public bug reported:

I am testing in a live system and looking at the very drive, from which
it is booted, the current daily iso file of Lubuntu Xenial i386 (post
16.04.1 LTS). The problem is that the file system cannot be identified,
and several end users may (and will) think that the USB boot drive is
damaged. But it works, it is cloned, which is the straightforward method
to create a boot drive from a hybrid iso file.

this issue was worse in previous versions, where gparted would complain
about an error; now it is at least seeing the partition. The next step
is that it can see the file system too.

lsblk can see it, as illustrated by the following command line (in a
wide terminal window),

sudo lsblk -fm

The attached screenshot illustrates the problem, and shows that it
affects the text mode program parted too.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.04
Package: gparted...

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