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Why does my File Browser keep opening?
April 2, 2009 9:49 AM   Subscribe

There are currently 4 File Browsers open on my desktop, all displaying either the contents of my external hard drive or the folder where it's mounted (/media/). I didn't open them—they just showed up. This morning when I woke up there was 40+ File Browser windows open of the same. Another window just opened; it seems to occur at random intervals. I'm running Ubuntu Linux 8.10, wtf is causing this?

It's been going on for about a week now. My external drive is a 500gb WD network drive that's been ripped out of its original case, rehoused in a new external enclosure, wiped and repartitioned as ext3, and plugged directly into my desktop. I keep my music collection on it, and about a week ago Amarok totally forgot that I have any music files. I checked the path marked for the collection; Amarok still knows where the files are, and will play them if I drag/drop them from the browser into the playlist, but it doesn't report that I have a collection. Oddly, saved playlists still work.

Then, yesterday, the drive wouldn't even mount. Every time I tried I got an odd error message that didn't turn up many results in the Google. (Hasn't happened today and I don't have the text of the msg saved.) The only concrete suggestion I got from searching was to try testdisk to root out any bad sectors, find missing partitions, etc. So I ran that, didn't really find any problems, but had the program re-write the partition table anyway. The drive mounted after I did that, but has so far continued the original bad behavior.

I've banged on all the relevant keyboard keys; it's not a stuck key. I've unplugged the drive to let it cool down and plugged it back in. I've tried prayer and idol worship and what seems like a million other things. I'm running out of ideas here.

What's going on? (4 more File Browsers have opened in the background while I typed this.) How do I make it stop? Do I have a virus? (My computer is acting like I never expected a Linux desktop to, coming from buggy, virusy Windows.) Is my drive dying? How can I get Amarok to recognize my collection again? Failing relevant answers to the above, what's the easiest way to close a zillion (but not all) windows at once?
posted by carsonb to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
 
I don't use Linux that much, but in "buggy, virusy Windows" sometimes it automatically opens an Explorer window when a new drive is connected. Maybe it's repeatedly coming unconnected and then reconnecting, because the cable is loose or something?
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:00 AM on April 2, 2009


If I remember correctly, a new file browser window is spawned whenever you plug in an external drive (I've moved on to Xubuntu which behaves a little differently). It sounds like there's somethign wrong with the USB connection so it thinks you're repeatedly plugging the drive in and out.

What is the output of the 'dmesg' command?
posted by mebibyte at 10:02 AM on April 2, 2009


Update: A flicker just caught my eye, but what I thought was another window opening was actually just the File Browser moving from /media/disk-8 to /media/ all on its own. So it looks like what's happening is the drive is unmounting and remounting on its own. Every time it mounts it opens a new File Browser window at /media/disk-8, and every time it unmounts that window moves up to /media/. Ad infinitum. When I tried accessing the drive after I saw the flicker (it was still listed in the Places pull-down menu), I got two error messages just like yesterday:

Cannot mount volume.
Error org.freedesktop.Hal.Device.UnknownError.
Details: An unknown error occured

and

Unable to mount 500.1 GB Media
DBus error org.freedesktop.DBus.Error.NoReply: Did not receive a reply. Possible causes include: the remote application did not send a reply, the message bus security policy blocked the reply, the reply timeout expired, or the network connection was broken.
posted by carsonb at 10:03 AM on April 2, 2009


On preview: I'd try a new enclosure/usb cable/computer. Your enclosure/usb cable/usb controller might be having hardware issues.
posted by zabuni at 10:04 AM on April 2, 2009


mebibyte, do you want the whole output? It's long. Here's the last bit:

[44073.377819] sd 70:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
[44101.807254] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[44101.807280] EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
[44101.808569] EXT3 FS on sdc1, internal journal
[44101.808586] EXT3-fs: recovery complete.
[44101.809531] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.
[44129.885564] usb 2-3: USB disconnect, address 69
[44129.888634] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 1289
[44129.888649] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.896756] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 1295
[44129.896769] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.898560] Aborting journal on device sdc1.
[44129.899223] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 1289
[44129.899230] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.901242] journal commit I/O error
[44129.902318] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 1027
[44129.902329] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.903863] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 17399810
[44129.903872] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.903883] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 59637762
[44129.903887] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.903895] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 87064578
[44129.903899] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44129.933343] Buffer I/O error on device sdc1, logical block 0
[44129.933359] lost page write due to I/O error on sdc1
[44136.240073] usb 2-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 70
[44136.377371] usb 2-3: configuration #1 chosen from 1 choice
[44136.380092] scsi71 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
[44136.382682] usb-storage: device found at 70
[44136.382690] usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
[44141.380348] usb-storage: device scan complete
[44141.384410] scsi 71:0:0:0: Direct-Access WDC WD50 00AAKS-00TMA0 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
[44141.393634] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] 976773168 512-byte hardware sectors (500108 MB)
[44141.396375] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
[44141.396387] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Mode Sense: 38 00 00 00
[44141.396392] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
[44141.398117] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] 976773168 512-byte hardware sectors (500108 MB)
[44141.400367] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
[44141.400378] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Mode Sense: 38 00 00 00
[44141.400382] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
[44141.400391] sdc: sdc1
[44141.405168] sd 71:0:0:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI disk
[44141.405410] sd 71:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg3 type 0
[44142.000754] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[44142.000803] EXT3-fs warning: maximal mount count reached, running e2fsck is recommended
[44142.001642] EXT3 FS on sdc1, internal journal
[44142.001648] EXT3-fs: recovery complete.
[44142.001657] EXT3-fs: mounted filesystem with ordered data mode.

posted by carsonb at 10:07 AM on April 2, 2009


It's udev (and a udev script) that controls what happens when a drive is detected; if you just want to stop the spawning of windows and automounting, you'd find the right udev script and rename it do it isn't read (allthe scripts start with a number, indicating priority).
posted by orthogonality at 10:12 AM on April 2, 2009


I've tried a new cable, no difference. I'll see about trying a new enclosure.
posted by carsonb at 10:20 AM on April 2, 2009


Your full error report is showing USB disconnects, this is either your cable, your enclosure, or the USB controller that is flaky. Try replacing them in that order.
posted by idiopath at 12:10 PM on April 2, 2009


I posted too soon. It is showing I/O errors. This is bad. Probably it means you need to replace the disk (though trying a different enclosure would not hurt).
posted by idiopath at 12:11 PM on April 2, 2009


Yeah. You're getting disk errors, and the system is trying to compensate by resetting the disk, which Gnome is then happily mounting (and spawning a File Browser), as if it were a newly inserted disk.

Either the controller (that's built into the enclosure) is flaky, or (more likely) the drive is on its way to failing. Back up your data.
posted by toxic at 1:26 PM on April 2, 2009


Well, it's not exactly a top-flight enclosure and I have another disk setting here waiting for a home, so I guess I'll pick up a new enclosure and see what I can see. Any recommendations for external enclosures? Alternatively, I've actually got the space in my case for two more drives but am unsure how to go about stringing them to the motherboard. Do I just need some more cords? I have curious half-thoughts bouncing around my head about adjusting pins and RAID arrays. So if it turns out to be the enclosure and not the drive, how would I go about popping these hds into the slots of my desktop? (Just thinking aloud here, I'll be googling for answers shortly. But, erm, don't let that stop you from chiming in!)

Thanks everyone. Someday I'll learn to use proper what I've wrought clueless.
posted by carsonb at 2:14 PM on April 2, 2009


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