USB external hard drive disconnecting

Mikkel L. Ellertson mikkel at
Tue Feb 5 17:48:20 UTC 2008

Reid Rivenburgh wrote:
> Hi.  I bought an external USB hard drive last week and reformatted it
> as ext3.  I can mount it and read/write files, but for some reason it
> periodically disconnects and reconnects.  I would like to use it as
> permanent storage, hooked up to my computer all the time.  I added a
> label to it and put a line in fstab to mount it.  But I'm getting
> lines like these in my /var/log/messages:
> Feb  5 00:07:05 pigpen kernel: usb 1-7: USB disconnect, address 4
> Feb  5 00:07:06 pigpen kernel: scsi 2:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to dead device
> Feb  5 00:07:06 pigpen kernel: EXT3-fs error (device sdd1):
> ext3_find_entry: reading directory #2 offset 0
> Feb  5 00:07:06 pigpen kernel: scsi 2:0:0:0: rejecting I/O to dead device
> (and more...)
> It's then quickly found again, though assigned sde1 in this case and
> of course not automatically mounted.  I'm assuming the filesystem also
> requires an e2fsck because it was disconnected.
Because it is mounted ext3, it may recover all by itself, but 
running e2fsck on it will not hurt.

> Does anyone know what might be causing this?  Is it likely a hardware
> issue?  I have another external drive that I've been using without
> problems for about a year, but it's firewire.  Previously, I was using
> both drives with autofs, but the new drive had some problems with that
> approach, too.  (Now that I've learned about filesystem labels, that
> seems like the way to go anyway.)
> I'm running F8 with all updates (kernel-
> Thanks,
> reid
Does this drive have its own power supply, or is it powered off the 
USB bus? Have you noticed anything happening about the same time it 
has problems? (Moving the drive, the machine suspending, etc?)

The first thing I would do is check the USB cable to the drive to 
make sure it is plugged in all the way on both ends, and is not a 
defective cable. If moving the cable causes problems, that is a good 
indication of a cable problem. If it has its own power supply, check 
that connection as well. Also, check that the supply is not getting 
too hot.


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

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