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External USB Hard Drive problems...



I am trying to use an external IDE HD plugged into a USB port for backups.
I have chosen a WD 120Gb and RH9 recognises it as /dev/sda1
 
I do fdisk and create the 120Gb partition OK, but when I do a:
 
mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1
 
it creates the first 91 inode tables almost instantly and then it slows
down to a crawl, doing 1 every couple of minutes. Then it will suddenly
instantly do 5 or 10 and then slow down to a crawl again. It finally
completes the 895 in about three quarters of an hour:
 
======================================================================= #
mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda1
mke2fs 1.32 (09-Nov-2002)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
14663680 inodes, 29304560 blocks
1465228 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user First data block=0 895
block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group 16384 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
        32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632,
        2654208, 4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872
  
Writing inode tables:  96/895
 
=======================================================================
 
After this completes, I can mount the drive and use rsync to write to it
with no errors, no speed issues and no apparent problems. :-)
 
However:
 
When I re-run rsync to update the backups I get many errors, saying files
don't exist. On further inspection I find that the file that it is looking
for is ".thisisthefile", when the file backed up is "thisisthefile".
However, many files names are correct (without the dot) and there are no
errors when reading/writing to them. Huh?
                                                                                                                                                             
I try and rename the file with mv and it says that there is no space left
on the device. I do a df and find that I have only used about 30Gb of the
120Gb total. It seems as though this is a default error message as the OS
is having trouble talking to the USB subsystem.
                                                                                                                                                             
I can create a file on the mounted /dev/sda1 with vi or touch with no
problems, in spite of the "no space" error.
                                                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                                             
All of this seems to point to some sort of HD/Controller/Interface type
issue. I have 2 of these external WD drives and I have tried both of them
and they both react the same way. The motherboard is an ASUS P4P800 with
USB2 ports. I can't use hdparm to talk to the drive as Linux thinks that
the USB drive is a SCSI drive. I understand that a 120Gb-sized partition
can be easily accommodated by the 2.4.20-13.9 kernel.
                                                                                                                                                             
If you think that I am nonplussed, you would be correct!! :-)
                                                                                                                                                             
Does anyone have ANY IDEA what is going on????
                                                                                                                                                             
Cheers,
Brad




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