I have an external hard drive that I transferred a lot of music onto from an old Apple computer. When I plug it into ubuntu it never shows up.

I tried looking through the filesystem for it but didnt really see or recognize anything.

  • How is the drive formatted? – Mitch May 26 '12 at 16:13

If you copied the files onto the hard drive using Mac OS X, it is possible that the file system is HFS+. Linux doesn't support journaling on HFS+ so Ubuntu will not mount it automatically. Searching the Internet, I see that there are ways of disabling the journaling so that Ubuntu can mount it but I cannot recommend doing this as the solutions appear to me as dangerous hacks. In my opinion the best solution is to find a friend with an Apple computer and copy the files over the network.

To check what filesystem the hard drive is, run the following command after plugging it in: sudo fdisk -l

  • Can I connect my ubuntu computer to my old mac to transfer files over the network? – Mike Jones May 26 '12 at 16:16
  • 1
    Yes. First you want to connect both computers to the same network. Next plug in the hard drive to your Mac and then share the drive. Here is an apple support page on the topic: support.apple.com/kb/HT1627 . In my opinion the easiest way is to enable ssh (Allow remote login) on the Mac. On your Ubuntu box you can then open your Home Folder, and then in the menu bar choose File -> Connect to Server. A dialog box will pop up where you select the connection type as ssh and then enter you Mac's ip address and your username and password for your Mac. You will have access to the Mac files. – DavidW May 26 '12 at 16:30
  • Linux doesn't (safely) support writing to an HFS+ that has journaling enabled. It shouldn't have a problem reading from it. HFS+ volumes with journaling are mounted by default as read-only, but they're still mounted. If it won't mount automatically/dynamically, it can still be mounted manually. – Eliah Kagan May 26 '12 at 18:48

You could also use a mac with as much free space as you have used on the drive to reformat the drive. That is, move everything onto that mac, use something like Disk Utility to reformat the drive as ext4 or something, and then move everything back onto it. This would be slow and would require 2N space, but would definitely work.

  • This would not work because Mac OS X won't be able to create, or use, the ext4 volume. But it would work if you made it fat32, so long as there are no files bigger than 4 GB and ownership/permissions information doesn't have to be retained. If that's not sufficient, then you can use ufs, as both Mac OS X and Ubuntu support that. (If you have problems mounting a UFS filesystem in Ubuntu, use this technique.) – Eliah Kagan May 26 '12 at 18:51

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