All right,

I am not entirely sure I understand what is going on, but bear with me please. I have an Ubuntu desktop with a small SSD drive (256Gb) and a bigger HDD (3Tb). When it was set up (by me, 2 years ago), I chose to have the /home folder on the 3Tb drive and the rest of the system on the SSD. One of the motivations for that was that I needed a lot of space in my home folder, and space for installing a lot of stuff (for example, I might want to have a very large MySQL database).

Now, this is an important sidenote, I do not know whether I also moved the /usr to the HDD. I have not messed with the configuration of the system since I set it up and I don't remember the details...

The reason I am writing is that recently, after a while of not using the computer, I found that my /home folder is back on the SSD (?!) and not only I have no space to do anything, I also am not able to install anything.

Another, less important, sidenote, is that I do not know what happened. I did not do that on purpose for sure. But this is irrelevant now - the question is: can I fix it without reinstalling everything?

After reading SO and SU for a while I understand this is a problem in how the different partitions are mounted and how various folders are assigned to them - they are now different to what I set up initially. But I would like to know if it's just /home or is it /usr (or any other folder that is used for installations)? The output of my /etc/fstab as it is now is:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
# / was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=e1452b7f-decd-4f14-875c-6ee48b8d81e3 /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda6 during installation
UUID=81793f7f-3423-480d-982c-a925cb1c812d none            swap    sw              0       0

But it doesn't help me too much. I do not understand how such a large change in the organisation of the filesystem could happen "unattended" but I would like to know even more if it is fixable, or worth to be fixed... How to even diagnose what is going on or what happened?

I am sorry to be lacking in details and/or understanding, but I am not sure where to go. Any ideas would be appreciated...

UPDATE 2017-11-09

I believe I now have a better understanding of what I want to do, if not necessarily of what went wrong.

I still have two physical internal drives. The smaller one, SSD256 hosts the Windows partitions and two smallish Linux partitions. The big one, HDD3Tb, was supposed to be holding the entire normal installation of Ubuntu. I.e. unlike what I said above, I only even had all my Linux system on the big drive.

The problem is that now when I start the computer, it boots - I think - from the SDD256 drive (but doesn't it imply there is another Linux system installed there...???) and definitely mounts the HDD3Tb as an "external" drive. What I want is the entire system to be on the big HDD and boot from there. Below I am posting outputs from some of the commands suggested in the comments.

I realize that I have already spent more time on this than it would take me to reinstall the system, so that's going to be my weekend project if I don't find the easy solution quickly. I am essentially posting this for posterity... :-( And I still don't know how this happened.

Model: ATA HFS250G32TND-311 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 250GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system     Flags
 1      1049kB  106MB   105MB   primary   ntfs            boot
 2      106MB   3327MB  3221MB  primary   ntfs            diag
 3      3327MB  103GB   100GB   primary   ntfs
 4      103GB   250GB   147GB   extended
 5      103GB   181GB   78.1GB  logical   ext4
 6      181GB   250GB   68.6GB  logical   linux-swap(v1)

Model: ATA WDC WD30EZRZ-00Z (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdc: 3001GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system     Name  Flags
 1      1049kB  32.0GB  32.0GB  linux-swap(v1)
 2      32.0GB  3001GB  2969GB  ext4

Below is where I think the problem is - the mountpoint on /media//uuid - the 3Tb as an external drive. I want /dev/sdc be my main partition with my Linux system there.

sdb      8:16   0 232.9G  0 disk 
├─sdb1   8:17   0   100M  0 part 
├─sdb2   8:18   0     3G  0 part 
├─sdb3   8:19   0  93.1G  0 part 
├─sdb4   8:20   0     1K  0 part 
├─sdb5   8:21   0  72.8G  0 part /
└─sdb6   8:22   0  63.9G  0 part [SWAP]
sdc      8:32   0   2.7T  0 disk 
├─sdc1   8:33   0  29.8G  0 part 
└─sdc2   8:34   0   2.7T  0 part /media/usernameedited/aef152ac-4422-4387-ad0c-705269b14e83
sr0     11:0    1  1024M  0 rom  

Best yot

  • How did you initially confirm that /home was on HDD? As I can't see how happened in the first place. Nov 8, 2017 at 0:15
  • According to your fstab, everything is on /dev/sda5 including /, /home, /usr, ... Nov 8, 2017 at 0:33
  • Investigate with (read man xxx first): sudo blkid, sudo lsblk, sudo parted -l, journalctl -b -x.
    – waltinator
    Nov 8, 2017 at 5:11
  • like Mr Anderson says, your fstab does not correlate with your expectation. Is your 3TB device still in the machine, can you mount it's filesystems to see what you have on them? What's the output of ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid/? Nov 8, 2017 at 7:19
  • The 3Tb drive is in the machine (it is an internal drive). Moreover, the 3Tb drive is now visible as a separate drive in the file browser (in the left hand column), whereas previously it was "invisible", ie it did not show as a separate drive. Thanks for your comments so far and I will get to these manuals, see if I can deduce something.
    – yotiao
    Nov 8, 2017 at 7:59


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