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Posts Tagged ‘Hardware’

If you’ve attached an external hard drive for backing up your files, or created a new partition for storage, only to find you don’t have the permissions to use it, you’d be understandably frustrated. But it’s actually quite easy to remedy by simply running a command in the terminal in the form of:

sudo chown -R username:username /partition/mount-point

Note that the above isn’t the actual command you’ll be using, as you’ll need to replace each instance of username with your actual username, and also determine your mount-point, which is not the device name (eg: /dev/sdb1).

To find the mount-point, run mount in the terminal, and locate the line that corresponds to the drive or partition in question. If you have never named (or set the label for) it, it will probably look something like:

/dev/sdb1 on /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820

If you have set the label with something descriptive, it should like similar to:

/dev/sdb1 on /media/1Tb Pocket Drive

As you can see, your mount-point will look something like /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820 or /media/1Tb Pocket Drive, so all you need to do now is run a command like one of the following, replacing the relevant info with what is appropriate to you:

sudo chown -R billgates:billgates /media/bf9a2c45-491a-4778-9d76-47832fe38820

sudo chown -R billgates:billgates '/media/1Tb Pocket Drive'

Note that if your custom label contains spaces (e.g. 1Tb Pocket Drive) , you will need to enclose the entire mount-point path in single quotes, but won’t need them if it’s a single word or multiple words joined by hyphens or underscores.

That’s it – you should now be able to do whatever you want with the drive or partition in question, as you’re now the owner.

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“Failed to eject media; one or more volumes on the media are busy.”

That is an error message you may come across from time to time, and of course the obvious thing to do is make sure no programs are still trying to access a CD or DVD in your disc drive. And this includes programs that aren’t actively using the device, but are nonetheless keeping it “busy”, like if you have a media player open with files or titles from the disc still in its playlist. But once you have ruled all that out, you still might be left with the inability to eject the disc and get on with things, so hopefully some information here will be of use to you.

In most cases, the following command run in a terminal or via Alt+F2 will successfully unmount the disc, and then eject the tray:

sudo umount -l /media/cdrom0 && eject

Please note: since Ubuntu now automagically creates mount points for discs based on the label, /media/cdrom0 may not work for you, so you may need to ascertain the correct path for the current disc with this command:

mount|grep ^'/dev'

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Here’s some basic info for those wanting to make the move to Ubuntu or another Linux distro. Once you get your head around the folder structure differences to what you’re used to in Windows, you’ll see it’s all quite easy. Basically, you just need to get familiar with some basic concepts like “mount points” and “privileges” (or “permissions”), and remember that while paths (or addresses) in Windows contain \ (backslashes), in Linux it is like the internet, so / (slashes) are used.

Mount Points

Hard drives are not represented as “C:” and “D:” like in Windows, as they are actually accessed from folders serving as “mount points”. So, in effect, other drives, including your DVD drive, are seen as folders in your Ubuntu system, not as separate drives. While the root of a CD or DVD in Windows would be represented as D:\, in Ubuntu and other Linux distros, it would be something like /media/cdrom0 (mount points will vary, but generally found in either /mnt or /media, depending on your distro or Ubuntu version).

The User Folder

In Windows, they’ve increasingly made it difficult to locate your files without using their shortcuts. Back in Windows 95, most of your stuff could be found in C:\My Documents, but by XP it had changed to C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\My Documents. With Vista it changed yet again, this time to C:\Users\YourName\Documents, and will no doubt keep users guessing with each upgrade.

In Ubuntu and most Linux distros, you can always count that every file you own is located in a folder within /home. All other users of the computer will also have their own subfolder within it, and only the owner of each can view and edit files therein. Your documents will be in /home/yourusername/Documents, pictures in /home/yourusername/Pictures, videos in /home/yourusername/Videos, music in /home/yourusername/Music, and so on.

Also, most programs will store their configuration files in hidden subfolders of your user folder. While some settings files will occasionally be in system folders, generally they’ll be in folders like /.mozilla-thunderbird (the . before marks it as a hidden folder, which you won’t see in Nautilus – the default file manager – unless you enable the displaying of hidden files and folders).

System Folders & Permissions

The root of your Ubuntu drive or partition is /, and most of the subfolders belong to the system, or root. In fact, besides the /home and /tmp folders, the rest is controlled by root, so you do not have permission to edit, move, create or delete files in those folders. For that, you need to either log in as root (not recommended), or become the super-user to achieve your goals.

Most people don’t need to go poking in the guts of the system, and as for tweaking programs by manually editing config files, as I mentioned most programs keep all that in your user folder, so you can edit and delete those without need for root privileges.

Filesystems

You’ll see that while Windows does not even recognise a Linux or Mac OS partition, in Ubuntu you can not only access your Windows and Mac drives (and other Linux partitions), but easily write to them as well. This means that if you have a Windows installation, you can access files from that drive while in Ubuntu, and even edit and save them back there. So you can get to all your pictures, etc, without having to reboot, and many file-types will open in compatible programs in Ubuntu (eg: .doc files will open fine in OpenOffice.org Writer).

Devices

Ubuntu is much better with the array of different media storage devices out there than its counterpart. For example, while Windows can handle most devices connected via USB, most versions cannot recognise a drive has been connected via eSATA. Trying to find a way to get eSATA support in XP proved a long and unrewarding process (ie: a big waste of time), while that support is just built into Ubuntu.

Basically anything that can be connected to a computer and has some kind of storage capacity can be accessed in Ubuntu. Don’t be surprised if some devices that need drivers and software in Windows are mounted in Ubuntu without need for anything.

And if you’ve had USB sticks suddenly lose most of their capacity in Windows, and formatting them there did nothing (or actually made it worse), try wiping them in Ubuntu, as I’ve fixed a couple that way!

Drive/Partition Paths

If you’ve ever fiddled with the Windows boot menu or looked at partition information for some reason, you would know that the paths or addresses are actually quite long and complicated compared to the C: you see in My Computer.

In Linux, they’re short and pretty straight forward, which you can see if you open Gnome Partition Editor (sudo apt-get install gparted if you haven’t already got it). Your drives will have names like sda or hda (depending on hardware and Ubuntu version), and the “a” represents the first drive (or Primary Master, if you have older IDE drives). Therefore, your second drive would be sdb/hdb, and other drives would follow in alphabetical order.

Similarly, the partitions start with “1“, so the first partition on the first drive would be /dev/sda1, while the fifth partition on the third drive would be /dev/sdc5, and so on.

For more information on working with devices and partitions in Ubuntu, like finding out UUIDs via the terminal, through to a great graphical disk usage analysis program you can use, check out this page.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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Here are some basic tips for newbies to Ubuntu who are looking for information, whether it be beginners’ guides, ways to customise or tweak the system, or answers to specific hardware related issues. Since many are now entering the computer world with Ubuntu as their first OS, there are even those unaware of search engines, let alone the forums, and other great sources of info. So for many, this info will be stuff you already know, but for total novices out there unfamiliar with the internet, it could be a revelation.

First off, you can’t go past search engines like Google as your starting place. This is especially so when you are looking up issues for specific hardware. Yet while many are familiar with Google and the like, it seems they are at a loss regarding how to effectively use them.

It really is just as simple as type in a question or phrase with as many key, relevent words as possible, and you can omit words that don’t really matter. For example, you could search for “How do I change the icon theme in Ubuntu” and you’re sure to find some results, and equally just with “change icon theme ubuntu gnome” (I’ve added gnome because it is the desktop environment Ubuntu uses, so should yield extra results).

If that still sounds a bit hard, then check out how to Google search via this amusing (and somewhat passive/aggressive!) demonstration.

With hardware issues, you really want to help yourself here and not waste your own time. “How do I get my sound card going in Ubuntu” will just give you a bunch of forum posts of people trying to get their own one going; “enable creative audigy 2 zs audio sound card ubuntu linux” – where I’ve actually added my specific sound card, as well as linux in case users of others distros have some useful info – will yield much better results.

It isn’t rocket science, but pretty much just common sense: gather as much info as possible about the problem or question, and use that to search for your answers. And if you are missing some vital info, then search for that first. Using the sound card example, you’d be wasting your time being vague while trying to sort out issues; but if you don’t know what make and model your hardware is, then search first for “how to find determine audio sound card hardware info properties in ubuntu“.

It’s exactly the same with the Ubuntu Forums – if you’re going there looking for answers from your peers, help them to help you, and supply as much info as possible. But also don’t forget you can search within the forums, and you will get old posts that no longer show up in Google searches; often the answers are already waiting for you, so it’s worth the small effort, as it is much quicker than posting and waiting for replies.

Lastly, if your questions are about pretty basic things like how to find your way around Ubuntu, customise it, or add programs to it, then why not first look in System > Help and Support. You can view by topic or just search it for a word or phrase, and chances are the answer is already there. If you’d just like to learn more about using Ubuntu, then going through the topics there is a good introduction.

You can also search online for informative guides with screenshots made by other users, with phrases like “ubuntu beginner guide tutorial lesson“. And while you can search the forums for specific subjects, you can also just peruse through the different categories and read some of the “sticky” pages (permanent pages stuck at the top of each section). Many of those are there to save newbies posting common questions on that topic or category, so are worth looking through.

Hopefully some of the points here will help you find better answers quicker. Happy hunting!

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Here is funny way to turn your computer into a baby rocker, using your disc tray! What the following command does is continually opens and closes the CD/DVD tray, so you can either move the rocker in close so it ends up getting pushed a little each time the tray opens, or tie some string from the rocker handle to the tray.

while :; do eject ; eject -t ; done

You can check out a YouTube vid of it being done via the latter method (though the guy uses his own script). Don’t forget that if you would like to download this video clip, copy the url and paste it into QtTube for downloading to your Videos folder.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Ubuntu running on Gnome 2.x, so you will not be able to add this to the panel in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3. You can, however, make desktop launchers, or find other ways to execute the eject command. If using Gnome “Classic” or KDE, you can still add eject and close buttons to your panel.

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While the eject command obviously ejects the disc tray, many are stumped when it comes to the opposite: a command to close the disc tray. It is quite simply eject -t, but you can get the equivalent and much more if you install the package cdtool. It is a collection of command-line tools for your disc drive, and the one you are after is cdclose. You can then make a launcher for your panel (for either eject -t or cdclose) to add next to your eject button.

For those interested in some extra tools for their disc drive, all the commands you get in the cdtool metapackage are:

cdctrl   cdloop   cdadd   cdown   cdtool2cddb
cdplay   cdpause   cdstop   cdclose   cdeject
cdir   cdinfo   cdreset   cdvolume   cdshuffle

To find out a bit of info on usage on each, just enter the command in a terminal, followed by a space and -h (for Help). To close the disc tray, all you need is the cdclose command.

To install, either open Synaptic and mark cdtool for installation, or paste the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install cdtool

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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PLEASE NOTE: This article is for earlier versions of Ubuntu running on Gnome 2.x, so you will not be able to add this to the panel in Unity (the default desktop environment) or Gnome Shell, both of which are based on Gnome 3. You can, however, make desktop launchers, or find other ways to execute the eject command. If using Gnome “Classic” or KDE, you can still add eject and close buttons to your panel.

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Here’s a little tip many newbies might not know: there is a Linux command eject which opens your disc tray, and you can make a button for it on your panel. It is included in Ubuntu by default, so all you need to do is make a launcher for it (with eject as the Command) and add it to your panel.

You can also find out how to add a CLOSE button.

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

Buy Ubuntu Genius a Beer to say Thanks!

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