Problems with a LinkSys NSLU2 and Maxtor external hard drive.
February 22, 2005 7:07 PM   Subscribe

I have a Maxtor 250GB OneTouch FireWire and USB external hard drive. It has been connected to a LinkSys NSLU2 network storage device. That is until I could no longer access my drive last Friday.

I could no longer connect to the shares from any machine on my network. Going into the admin interface on the NSLU2 showed the drive as "Not Formatted". I found some basic tips at http://www.nslu2-linux.org/ that revolve around power cycling the devices and plugging the drive back in after the NSLU2 device has powered up. Nothing worked.

I downloaded the Mac OS X Ext2/3 drivers from https://sourceforge.net/projects/ext2fsx/ and connected the drive directly to my PowerBook G4 (running Panther 10.3.7). I tried both the USB and FireWire connections. The drive cannot be mounted from the Ext2/3 preference pane. It says to run disk utility to repair the drive. All of the options for the drive and its partitions are greyed out in disk utility.

I tried running fsck and fsck.ext2 in Terminal. I get various "bad superblock" and "magic number wrong" messages. I've tried specifying about 20+ backup superblocks I obtained through newfs -N for the device.

I am not a Unix guru but I am fairly proficient with just about all tools if I am pointed in the right direction. Does anyone have any other ideas? I was in the process of consolidating lots of data onto this drive in order to burn to CDs and DVDs. Unfortunately I've been slow and there was probably over 100GB of miscellaneous files that now appear to be gone.

If there is no hope, then tell me that as well. That will at least allow me to move from denial and anger and start working towards acceptance.
posted by rglasmann to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
 
Did you fill the drive to capacity?
posted by odinsdream at 7:43 PM on February 22, 2005


Did you fill the drive to capacity?

No. There was about 100GB open the last time I was able to access it.
posted by rglasmann at 7:51 PM on February 22, 2005


Is the Linksys still showing a 250 gig drive, and just refusing to use it?

Is there a USB/Firewire switch anywhere on the device? Have you tried using both USB and Firewire with the same results?

If the data is more important to you than the device, I would say open it up and connect the drive somewhere else. I've not see one of these in person, but I'd bet it is just an IDE drive. If it is two IDE devices, hooking it up to a computer gets much more difficult.

Have you checked the power supply with a multimeter?
posted by bh at 8:49 PM on February 22, 2005


Can you pull the drive out of the box and mount it as a normal IDE hard drive? It might just be the interface that's pooped -- or maybe just the power supply. That multimeter suggestion is a good one.
posted by krisjohn at 12:39 AM on February 23, 2005


I agree with bh. If you're not afraid to open up the enclosure (probably a not a destructive action but then I've never tried to open the drive in question) then trying the drive in another machine is probably the easiest way to find the root of the problem. Judging from the physical dimensions listed in the datasheet there is probably only a single drive inside. If possible you might also want to try using something like Recovery is Possible on a PC just to eliminate any uncertainties with the OS X ext2/3 drivers.

One other point is if you try to mount file system make sure you mount it read-only (-oro in linux). If the data on the drive is corrupt it is very possible to further corrupt it by mounting read-write.
posted by darksquirrel at 12:39 AM on February 23, 2005


Is the Linksys still showing a 250 gig drive, and just refusing to use it?

It does not show the size of the drive, but when the drive is connected, it shows "Not Formatted" as the status. When the drive is not connected, it shows "Not Connected".

Is there a USB/Firewire switch anywhere on the device? Have you tried using both USB and Firewire with the same results?

No switch. Just two different ports on the back and different cables. I have tried both on my Powerbook with the exact same results. The Linksys only supports connection via USB.

If the data is more important to you than the device, I would say open it up and connect the drive somewhere else.

This is part of my delimma. The data is important to me, but not mission critical. I am still considering how far I want to go to recover it. Right now I don't feel good about cracking the case on the drive as it is still under the manufacturer's warranty. However, a call to Maxtor yesterday wasn't helpful. They told me to reformat it. :-)

Have you checked the power supply with a multimeter?

I'll try and find my multimeter and check the power supply.

Thanks for the help so far. I'm still listening if anyone has anything else.
posted by rglasmann at 5:49 AM on February 23, 2005


I'm not that familiar with OSX, so I can't tell if the 'not formatted' is useful. If it were me, I would try booting up with Knoppix and viewing the partition table with fdisk. This can give you a lot of information. Then try mounting it read only.

If you open the case, you'll likely void the warranty. But other than that, you won't be doing any real damage. darksquirrel has a good point about the size of the enclosure. If it is only one drive, it should be no problem. If you have that multimeter, make sure the power connector to the drive is the same as the power connector you'll be using inside of a computer. It should be, but might not be.
posted by bh at 6:07 AM on February 23, 2005


You could try booting your system with the Mac OS X installation disk, which comes with a Disk Utility accessible via the menubar. If you connect the drive at that time, perhaps you'd get more information than you are with the full system running?

I wouldn't worry about opening the case. It ought to be designed to open easily, but some screws might be hidden under stickers. Feel for depressions and make sure you get them all before you start prying it open. You should be able to do it with minimal-to-no damage.
posted by odinsdream at 7:35 AM on February 23, 2005


Myself, and other associates of mine (both personal and business) have experienced numerous Maxtor drive failures over the past year and have never been able to recover the drives. Not saying this is the case and of course it's a personal bad spell in the Toronto region but I'm never purchasing Maxtor again.
posted by juiceCake at 8:10 AM on February 23, 2005


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