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Hello, Mr. Mkitwrk. Ever since I'd installed my Linux Mint 16 Petra Cinnamon OS, the operating system won't allow my usb external drive to open or install a new program. A pop-up window will appear telling me that the software is not mounted. I had no problem when I had Windows XP Service Pack 3 OS. I am not computer savvy, so my Internet terminology is shamefully deficient, but I'm getting better. With that installment problem I cannot introduce new softwares. My Internet device is a Gateway LT2022u Netbook. Thank you very much.

Hi Adonis,
A vanilla installation of linux will generally attempt to query any USB device that is plugged in.
There are many different USB devices - ranging from flash drives to wireless network devices...
I'm guessing that your USB external drive is in NTFS format...
It could be that the filesystem drivers for NTFS are not installed/available.
Here is how to see what linux found.
Plug in your drive and turn it on and wait until the drive spin-up settles down.
Start a terminal session and at the bash prompt enter:
That should show a list of the USB hubs and devices plugged into them -and- the manufacturer name of the external disk drive should appear.
In my case it shows
Bus 002 Device 098: ID 0bc2:0502 Seagate RSS LLC
Bus 002 Device 097: ID 045e:002b Microsoft Corp. Internet Keyboard Pro
Bus 002 Device 096: ID 0451:1446 Texas Instruments, Inc. TUSB2040/2070 Hub
Bus 002 Device 005: ID 8086:0188 Intel Corp. WiMAX Connection 2400m
Bus 002 Device 002: ID 8087:0020 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 002 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Bus 001 Device 003: ID 0c45:6406 Microdia
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 8087:0020 Intel Corp. Integrated Rate Matching Hub
Bus 001 Device 001: ID 1d6b:0002 Linux Foundation 2.0 root hub
Where the Seagate RSS LLC is the external disk drive.
Now to disk devices....
ls -l /dev/sd*
In my case it shows
brw-rw---- 1 root disk   8,  0 May  6 17:49 /dev/sda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk   8,  1 May  6 17:49 /dev/sda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk   8,  2 May  6 17:49 /dev/sda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk   8,  5 May  6 17:49 /dev/sda5
brw-rw---- 1 root floppy 8, 16 May 13 10:09 /dev/sdb
brw-rw---- 1 root floppy 8, 17 May 13 10:09 /dev/sdb1
/dev/sda is usually the 1st internal hard drive in the computer.
I only have 1 internal drive, so the external drive showed up as /dev/sdb.
It also shows that the drive /dev/sdb has 1 partition on it which is /dev/sdb1.
If you have 2 internal drives, then the external drive may show up as /dev/sdc...
So, I'm using /dev/sdb as the example below, but it might be sdc, sdd, etc...
In every case the device sdX represents the entire drive and sdXN represents a partition on the drive. (like having C: and D: partitions both on a single drive under Windows...)
Now to find out what type of filesystem is on /dev/sdb1.
Be careful with the next utility, since it can wipe the drive if you use some the the commands...
Just stick with the commands to print out the partition information and then exit...
fdisk /dev/sdb
If that doesn't work, you need to run it as root, so try:
sudo fdisk /dev/sdb
One you see the prompt "Command (m for help)", enter
In my case it shows:
Disk /dev/sdb: 200.0 GB, 200049647616 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 24321 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xb16eb9ae

  Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1          1       24321   195358401   83  Linux

I formatted my external drive as a linux ext3 partition to allow hard links, symbolic links, etc. which FAT32 nor NTFS have...

Then enter:
to quit and exit without saving anything.

Now you should know:
1) that the device is recognized
2) that it is a disk device
3) what /dev/sdXN entries refer to it
4) what type(s) of partitions are on it

Now to see if your linux installation has the tools to mount the drive on a directory:

mkdir ext1
mount /dev/sdb1 ext1
(if that fails, use sudo...)
sudo mount /dev/sdb1 ext1

If that works, then you have access to everything in that mounted partition by traversing the directory tree in ./ext1
Then you can search for automount tools and ensure your options are to always automount hotpluggable devices when they are detected - so you don't have to do it manually...

If something above doesn't work, then some other tools are needed and I'd need all the output from the commands shown above up to the point of failure. In addition, I'd need the output from:
I'd be looking for a module called "fuse" in the list - which enables mounting of FAT/FAT32/NTFS filesystems...

Hope that helps!

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