USB Hard drives docking loosing partition info

Problem: I’m having problems with USB Hard drives docking where I drop in “naked hard drives” loosing the partition tables when using one USB Hard drives docking vs another one.

Situation: I have a laptop with 2 usb toasters (blacx and ugreen). I use them mostly for backup purposes. The hard drives are all formatted EXT4 and it works properly as long as the usb hard drive docking stays the same.

If I use any hard drive formatted in the BlacX on the ugreen, the drive will be recognized but not mounted because it can’t find the partition table. The data is still there, gparted can recreate the partition table from the data. And it’s the same if I use a drive formatted in the ugreen on the blacx.

Right now I use ‘stickies’ to keep track of which drive was formatted on what… Any suggestion on what to do?

**$ **inxi -SMCDP 
**System:    Host:** localhost **Kernel:** 5.3.18-59.37-default x86_64 **bits:** 64  
           **Desktop:** KDE Plasma 5.18.6 **Distro:** openSUSE Leap 15.3  
**Machine:   Type:** Convertible **System:** LENOVO **product:** 81X2 **v:** IdeaPad Flex 5 14ARE05  
           **serial:** <superuser/root required>  
           **Mobo:** LENOVO **model:** LNVNB161216 **v:** SDK0J40709 WIN  
           **serial:** <superuser/root required> **UEFI:** LENOVO **v:** EECN36WW **date:** 05/17/2021  
**CPU:       Topology:** 8-Core **model:** AMD Ryzen 7 4700U with Radeon Graphics **bits:** 64 **type:** MCP  
           **L2 cache:** 4096 KiB  
           **Speed:** 2246 MHz **min/max:** 1400/2000 MHz **Core speeds (MHz):****1:** 1397 **2:** 1397 **3:** 1397  
           **4:** 1397 **5:** 1397 **6:** 1397 **7:** 1397 **8:** 1397  
**Drives:    Local Storage:****total:** 6.83 TiB **used:** 3.33 TiB (48.7%)  
           **ID-1:** /dev/nvme0n1 **vendor:** Samsung **model:** MZVLB512HBJQ-000L2 **size:** 476.94 GiB  
           **ID-2:** /dev/sda **type:** USB **vendor:** Seagate **model:** ST4000DM004-2CV104 **size:** 3.64 TiB  
           **ID-3:** /dev/sdb **type:** USB **vendor:** Western Digital **model:** WD30EFRX-68EUZN0  
           **size:** 2.73 TiB  
**Partition: ID-1:** / **size:** 74.31 GiB **used:** 8.37 GiB (11.3%) **fs:** ext4 **dev:** /dev/nvme0n1p2  
           **ID-2:** /home **size:** 383.81 GiB **used:** 80.05 GiB (20.9%) **fs:** xfs **dev:** /dev/nvme0n1p3  
           **ID-3:** swap-1 **size:** 16.44 GiB **used:** 256 KiB (0.0%) **fs:** swap **dev:** /dev/nvme0n1p4 


I would say that when one has problems with a partition tables, that it is then important to look at those partition tables.
With both devices connected (and as root):

fdisk -l
lsblk -f

Also you comlpain that a file system is not mounted. How is the mount procedure? Are they in /etc/fstab and/or are you using a mount command. When a mount command, then also post that with all the output.

Here are the first few lines of output from “fdisk”:

fdisk -l /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 931.51 GiB, 1000204886016 bytes, 1953525168 sectors
Disk model: WDC WD10EZEX-75Z
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt

Notice that line “Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes”

I have an external disk container which, if I use that, gives me:
“Sector size (logical/physical): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes”

And, if I use that, I see the same problem you are describing. It is that mismatch of logical sector size that causes the problem. I’m guessing that’s also what is causing your problem. The physical sector size is what is on the actual drive. The logical sector size depends on mapping done by the disk container.

I’m not complaining about not mounting, I just state the fact that the drive is recognized and assigned sda but sda1 is not there.

BTW, the mounting is done automatically by kde. No autorun, just automount.


Yes that’s the problem:

same drive: in the blacx

**$ **sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda 
**Disk /dev/sda: 2.73 TiB, 3000592982016 bytes, 732566646 sectors**
Disk model: 2105             
Units: sectors of 1 * 4096 = 4096 bytes                        <<<<<<<<
Sector size (logical/physical): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes        <<<<<<<<
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes 
Disklabel type: dos                                            <<<<<<<<
Disk identifier: 0x00000000 

**Device****Boot****Start****       End****   Sectors****Size****Id****Type**
/dev/sda1           1 4294967295 4294967295  16T ee GPT

same drive in the ugreen

**$ **sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda
**Disk /dev/sda: 2.73 TiB, 3000592982016 bytes, 5860533168 sectors**
Disk model: EFRX-68EUZN0     
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes [FONT=monospace]                        <<<<<<<<
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes        <<<<<<<<
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes 
Disklabel type: gpt 
Disk identifier: 98CBDE10-23E0-4EBD-9309-D3171FD17FDA         <<<<<<<<

**Device****Start****       End****   Sectors**** Size****Type**
/dev/sda1   2048 5860532223 5860530176  2.7T Linux filesystem

Anything I can do about it?

  • change driver/format like ext2 or ext3?
  • change kernel? I’m using 5.3.18-59.37-default x86_64
  • tough banana, live with it (at least I know).


You may use eSATA.

I’m afraid it is the tough banana.

I pretty much don’t use that bad external disk container. I still keep it around, because it happens to also support IDE drives. I no longer have any computers with IDE drives, so I should probably just toss it.

Yes, it would also still work for smaller SATA drives with 512 byte physical sectors. But I don’t think they make those anymore, and I don’t have any sitting around.

These usb toasters do not have esata connectors.


I’ve never liked the tough babana things, but thanks.

At least I know what the problem is.