USB drives going read-only

Mikkel L. Ellertson mikkel at
Mon Nov 12 03:10:54 UTC 2007

Bill Davidsen wrote:
> I have some USB drives I use for backup and sneakernet, and I've noted
> that if unused they become read-only after being unused for a while. I
> have seen this on FC[678] and it's annoying rather than critical,
> because of the way I use the drives.
> mount still shows as rw, unmount and mount clears.
> Ring any bells? I don't have enough details to file a good bug yet, if
> this is known I won't bother.
How are the drives formatted? If they are formatted ext2 or ext3,
they may have gone too long between file system checks, and you need
to run e2fsck on them. (The time is configurable using tune2fs - you
can even turn it off.) There is also a counter for the number of
times you can mount it before a check is required, but because you
said unused for while, I suspect date rather then mount count.

If they are FAT formatted drives, what happens if you run a check on
the drives? You can run the check under Windows or Linux, but it
would be interesting to see what Windows reports.


  Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons,
for thou art crunchy and taste good with Ketchup!

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