How do I access my network storage from my new computer?
October 21, 2008 11:48 PM   Subscribe

How can I access my WD MyBook World Network Storage Drive from my new (Ubuntu 8.04) computer now that my old (WinXP) box is dead dead dead?

I can access the PUBLIC folder no problem, but I have ~100Gb of music in a different folder that's behind a user/pass that I think I had stored in MioNet but can't remember anymore. So, a few questions if you please,

Is there a way for me to access this folder without MioNet? I downloaded Wine today; can I use that to run MioNet? Would that help? Would an SSH tunnel give me access? (damn damn damn MioNet! I'd much prefer to stay away from that horrid program.)

(I've seen the above question answered on the Ubuntu forums, but get stuck on the first step, thus:)
How can I find out the IP address for my network drive? Ubuntu 'sees' it, but I can't seem to wring any relevant information out of what's presented.

Finally, given the answer to the above question, and if it comes to this, will resetting the admin password on the drive (using a paperclip in the little hole on the back) erase all my data?

There's a small chance I can get my old box up and running for a short time, but I salvaged the network card from it so it's offline. I'm really feeling my way through the transition from Windows to Ubuntu, and am not yet altogether familiar with the Terminal interface, so please try to be clear and refrain from jargon without explanation. Thank you very much for any help!
posted by carsonb to Computers & Internet (18 answers total)
I believe you can reset it - that the reset has to do with the embedded linux on the drive and doesn't delete the material.

Here's the technote on the password.

You could also have mionet reset it's password (via your email)

Western digital webpage along with FAQ and technotes.
posted by filmgeek at 4:13 AM on October 22, 2008

Best answer: Found this helpful snippet in the Wikipedia article on the MyBook drives:

The drives of the World Edition are ext3 formatted, which means that the drive can be mounted as a standard drive from within Linux if removed from the casing and installed in a normal PC.

So, if you really do have no way to retrieve the username and password you need to access your hundreds of gigs of Stuff via the MyBook's usual NAS methods, you should be able to pop the drive out of the MyBook, stick it in a standard USB2 drive enclosure, plug that into your new Ubuntu box and access it directly.

This would, I think, be easier and less risky for you than using ssh or some other method to work with a command-line shell on the Linux that runs in the guts of the MyBook.

When you plug the USB2 enclosure into your Ubuntu box, Nautilus (the file browser) should just open it for you. You will probably find that many of the files and folders are inaccessible because their ext3 permissions will all be set with respect to user and group ID's that don't exist on your Ubuntu box, or mean something different there. However, if you re-launch Nautilus as root (the super user) and navigate to the same spot in the filesystem where the drive got auto-mounted (probably a folder inside /media), you'll get full access to the whole drive.

You can run Nautilus as root by using Alt-F2 to bring up the Run Application box, then typing

gksudo nautilus

as the command to run.
posted by flabdablet at 4:14 AM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: In the process of trying out these various suggestions. Thank you both very much—you've brought some clarity to what was a cloudy mind and situation.
posted by carsonb at 10:05 AM on October 22, 2008

"How can I find out the IP address for my network drive?"

There are different networking protocols in LAN technologies. One of them is the famous TCP/IP which runs the Internet. I'm not familar with MyBook technology, but I'm guessing they use the SMB aka CIFS protocol (the Windows File Sharing stuff) that can work without TCP/IP.

But it seems silly to not support TCP/IP. If you have a router your that Ubuntu and the MyBook are plugged into, you can try looking there for any "DHCP leases" it's handed out. Alternatively try browsing the PUBLIC folder and then running the Terminal command "netstat". There be a lot, but any open TCP/IP connections will be listed at the top if you scroll up.

Finally, while I've never paid attention to MyBook before, there seems to be a sizable modding community and wiki. Of course all the documentation assumes you know the IP address.
posted by pwnguin at 11:48 AM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: Alright, have decided to dismantle the drive and use an external enclosure. I had another WD external drive (non-NAS) and attempted to swap HDs, but the World Edition was full-SATA (power and comm) without a 4-pin connector, while the older USB drive only had SATA comm and Molex power cables. =(
So I just ordered a cheap enclosure. Should be here tomorrow!

OK, rereading that para I can understand how easy it is to slip into jargon and it makes me hate the ubuntu forums people a little less. =)
posted by carsonb at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: Finally, while I've never paid attention to MyBook before,

Good work, sir, and carry on! Avoid MyBook NAS drives like the plague. The modding community is robust, yes, but their one big complaint (and it's BIG) is that the chipset can only handle a fraction of the advertised data transfer speed. Sure, the ports are capable and they're compatible with that GigaBit Ethernet nonsense, but the hardware can't keep up. No matter what you do to it, it can only fill/serve so fast. And, in this case, 'so fast' is so slow.

Thanks for the DHCP leases tip, good to know.

And thanks again for the help in general, folks. Once again AskMe has pointed me in the right direction when I had no idea where to go.
posted by carsonb at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2008

OK, rereading that para I can understand how easy it is to slip into jargon and it makes me hate the Ubuntu forums people a little less. =)

I really wish the forum had never been started, but it was inevitable and I'm glad they avoided many of the worst case possibilities. FWIW, Ubuntu has a service on Launchpad similar to AskMeFi, called Answers. It's hit and miss, but easily more focused than the forums are.

But I still subscribe to the Ubuntu askmefi tag RSS, if you hate Answers for some reason.
posted by pwnguin at 12:43 PM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: Hey guys. Here's hoping some of you check your recent activity this morning.

Anyway, I bought another external enclosure. First I shoved my old, dead 350GB USB drive into it. Worked like a dream; mounted automatically, and I was able to move everything off a drive I thought was toast. Took that one right out again in favor of the 500GB NAS I've been trying to access.

Now the external drive doesn't mount. I can't wipe it 'cause I still need the media stored on it, but it's not showing up in all the usual spaces. Oddly, I can see the drive (partitioned into sdc1, sdc2, sdc3, sdc4) when I open Partition Editor (gparted) and when I enter
sudo fdisk -l
into Terminal I get this:
Disk /dev/sdc: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00007a00

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 4 369 2939895 fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/sdc2 370 382 104422+ fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/sdc3 383 505 987997+ fd Linux raid autodetect
/dev/sdc4 506 60801 484327620 fd Linux raid autodetect
Which is gibberish to me. The device shows up nowhere else I can find, and again doesn't mount in the normal 'place', if at all.

So, if y'all are still reading, what's next? How can I get into this damned drive?
(If this doesn't go anywhere, it's new question time.)
posted by carsonb at 7:05 AM on November 3, 2008

The output of fdisk -l is telling you the basics of the partitions: which block number the partition starts on, which one it ends on, how many blocks total, etc. Not very readable by human eyes.

Automount may not try if the device has multiple partitions, perhaps? Try making a directory and mounting the big partition manually at that point.
posted by pwnguin at 1:49 PM on November 3, 2008

Response by poster: Try making a directory and mounting the big partition manually at that point.

I'm sorry, I don't know how to mount manually. I know the command in Terminal is 'mount', but I'm not sure what to put after that to make it happen.

Rather than continue to bother you with further trivialities, where should I go to learn me some Terminal usage?
posted by carsonb at 6:43 PM on November 3, 2008

Response by poster: I'm going to try Answers first, of course. Any other suggestions?
posted by carsonb at 6:44 PM on November 3, 2008

Best answer: I'm sorry, I don't know how to mount manually. I know the command in Terminal is 'mount', but I'm not sure what to put after that to make it happen.

Rather than continue to bother you with further trivialities, where should I go to learn me some Terminal usage?

Well, the big ticket item for learning command line programs is the program man, short for manual. The problem of course is that sufficiently old programs have incredibly detailed minutia within their "manpages". I encourage you to try anyways. In this case, man mountis the command you're after. If it's too intimidating to learn command line basics... on the command line... then this Ubuntu wiki page can help.

The command you're probably looking for is sudo mount /dev/sdc4 /mnt/sdc4. You're right though, that this is an area where an expert could likely do this in under a minute, or spend an hour bleeding through their minds explaining the vast array of trivialities. Such people do exist, on IRC for example.
posted by pwnguin at 11:35 PM on November 3, 2008

Best answer: OK, let's decode that fdisk -l output.

Your drive has four partitions on it. The partition type code for all of them is hex code FD, which means the partition type is "Linux RAID autodetect". Normally, an ext3 partition would have partition type hex 83, which just means "Linux". I'm guessing that the USB insertion auto-mounter is getting frightened off by the RAID partition code.

Since there was only actually one drive in that MyBook, the contents of the RAID-marked partitions have very little choice but to be complete filesystems - no striping or mirroring tricks will be in use. If I'm wrong about that we can play with actually using Linux's RAID support to do things "properly", but for now, let's just try mounting these things as if they were non-RAID partitions and see what happens.

First thing is to make a mount point, which is just a folder somewhere in your filesystem. If you make it a subfolder of /media, the mounted filesystem will automatically show up on your desktop and open in the file browser as soon as you mount it. Let's do that.

sudo mkdir /media/mybook

Now we can try mounting the biggest partition there:

sudo mount -t ext3 -o ro /dev/sdc4 /media/mybook

If that command completes silently, and you find "mybook" showing up on your desktop, you should be good to go. The "-t ext3" option shouldn't really be necessary, because the mount command should be able to figure it out by sniffing at the disk contents, but I prefer to be explicit about these things - if we don't see the ext3 filesystem we're expecting, I want to know about that. The "-o ro" option means that the mount will be done read-only; we'll be able to copy stuff off the drive but not make changes. This is reflexive paranoia on my part. Just In Case what? I dunno. Just in case.

If you get a mount error saying something about unknown filesystem types or bad superblocks, post back and we can play with RAID commands.
posted by flabdablet at 3:17 AM on November 4, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: flabdablet, my hero!
posted by carsonb at 6:37 AM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: Thank you so much, flabdablet. Not just for giving me the key to accessing my precious files, but for explaining it in a way I could follow. Invaluable. I've been trying to figure out the correct syntax for the mount command for about a week now. None of the documentation I've seen is as clear as your explanation was for just a tiny bit of information.

So... if I *do* want read/write privileges I just unmount the partition (which I can do easily enough), take out the "-o ro" from that command, and run again?
posted by carsonb at 6:46 AM on November 4, 2008

Response by poster: man looks like just what I'm after as well, in terms of learning about the command line. Gracias, pwnguin.
posted by carsonb at 6:50 AM on November 4, 2008

If it mounted without complaint, and it all looks kosher, and you just want to use it as a standard external drive, here are the commands I'd use. First thing is, as you say, to unmount it and remount it read/write:

sudo umount /dev/sdc4
sudo mount /dev/sdc4 /media/mybook

Note that "umount" is not a misprint for "unmount".

Next thing is to change the owner and group of every file on the drive to your own username:

sudo chown -R carsonb:carsonb /media/mybook

The -R option makes the chown command operate recursively - it will change the owner and group for /media/mybook and every file and folder inside.

You should now be able to use the file browser to do whatever you like to that disk, including modifying file permissions, without needing to start it up via gksudo.

You will still need to mount it by hand after connecting it, though. If you'd rather that it auto-mounted, just change the partition ID on partition 4 from FD to 83:

sudo umount /dev/sdc4
sudo sfdisk --change-id /dev/sdc 4 83

Note that the disk device name and the partition number are two separate arguments to sfdisk - there really is supposed to be a space between /dev/sdc and 4.

If you then disconnect and reconnect the drive, you should find it auto-mounts somewhere under /media (the folder name it picks will depend on the filesystem's label).
posted by flabdablet at 7:35 AM on November 4, 2008

By the way, another command line documentation tool you should know about is


which was a bold attempt by the Gnu folks to drag man pages kicking and screaming into the Eighties. Most of the Gnu tools have better info pages than man pages, and info will also show you a whole heap of available commands you may have missed otherwise. Try

man info

Another useful one is apropos, which will show you what man pages have the specified keyword in their Name sections. Try

apropos partition

posted by flabdablet at 7:47 AM on November 4, 2008

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