I have an old HP Pavilion dv9000 series laptop that I've installed Ubuntu 12.04 on. The laptop is large enough to have two hard drive bays. One has one of the two original Samsung hard drives (it's the primary) and the other has a newer Western Digital Scorpio Blue hard drive. (Both are SATA II by the way.)

Before I installed Ubuntu, the Samsung drive had Windows Vista on it and I had formatted the WD drive in NTFS (it's blank right now). So when I first boot Ubuntu, it shows a 250 GB filesystem (the Western Digital drive) in my file browser. But if I click on the link, it gives me an error message saying it had a problem mounting the device.

Then if I close the file browser and reopen it, the link is gone. I've tried using GParted to find the device, but it doesn't know it's there either. The WD drive doesn't even show up in the list of drives. Is there anything else I can do to get Ubuntu to detect the device?

  • It is possible that the HDD failing...
    – user371765
    Mar 2, 2015 at 6:03
  • GParted didn't show it clearly (only shows first HDD at startup). it may help others to go to GParted -> Devices -> /dev/'your device'
    – eqzx
    May 3, 2016 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


Try the command

cat /proc/partitions

It will print a list of physical block devices reported by the kernel like USB memories and attached hard drives. If you can't find your disk there, your disk or secondary controller port is probably broken.

With the command

 dmesg |more

you might get some more information from the kernel regarding any potential problem.

If it does show up there under /proc/partitions, it sounds like it could be some filesystem that bugs out when you try to mount it. Since it's empty, create a filesystem on it:

sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdX

where X is the hard drive letter. Make sure to pick the CORRECT disk since this command will erase everything on that drive.

  • Says "/dev/sdb2 is apparently in use by the system; will not make a filesystem here!" on sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb2 May 29, 2014 at 16:41

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