Linux, known for its power and flexibility, is widely used in both server and desktop environments. However, like any other operating system, Linux is not immune to problems related to hard drives. These issues can range from simple ones related to disk mounting or file systems to more complex ones, such as physical damage or hardware incompatibility.

For Linux users, it is important to understand these issues and know how to solve them. This not only helps in everyday work with the system but also prevents data loss and improves the overall performance of the system. Moreover, the skills in solving such problems increase the user’s technical literacy and contribute to more efficient use of Linux in various scenarios, whether it be home computers, corporate servers, or cloud infrastructures.

Common HDD Problems in Linux and Their Detailed Consideration

Unrecognized or Unsupported File Systems

Problem Description: Linux supports many file systems, but there may be difficulty accessing disks formatted in file systems specific to Windows (e.g., NTFS) or macOS (e.g., APFS). This occurs due to the lack of native support or necessary drivers.

Example Scenario: A user connects an external HDD formatted in NTFS to their Linux computer and discovers that they cannot access it.

Problems with Automatic Mounting

Problem Description: Linux may not automatically mount some partitions or disks, requiring manual configuration through the ”fstab” file or the command line.

Example Scenario: After installing a new internal HDD, the system does not recognize it automatically, and the user has to manually add an entry in “fstab” to mount the disk at boot.

Problems with File and Folder Permissions

Problem Description: In Linux, file and folder permissions play a key role in security. Incorrect permission settings can block access to important files or, conversely, provide excessive access.

Example Scenario: A user copies data from one HDD to another and finds that they cannot open some files due to incorrectly set permissions.

Problems with Disk Detection

Problem Description: Sometimes, Linux may not detect an HDD due to BIOS or UEFI settings, especially when using modes other than AHCI.

Example Scenario: After installing a new HDD, the user discovers that the disk is not visible in the system. The reason turns out to be in the UEFI settings, where the disk is configured in RAID mode instead of AHCI.

Problems with Performance Due to Data Fragmentation

Problem Description: Although Linux is more efficient at handling fragmentation compared to other OSes, in some cases, this can reduce performance, especially on old or overcrowded HDDs.

Example Scenario: A user notices system slowdown and increased file access time. Analysis shows that the reason is a high level of file fragmentation on the HDD.

Methods for Solving Some Problems

Unrecognized or Unsupported File Systems

Step 1: Installing Necessary Packages

  1. For the NTFS file system:
  • Open the terminal.
  • Install the ntfs-3g package, which provides read and write support for NTFS. Enter the command: sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g

This command is for Debian/Ubuntu-based systems. For other distributions, use the corresponding package manager.

  1. For the APFS file system:
  • Support for APFS in Linux is less common and may require the installation of specialized third-party tools or the use of programs for reading APFS in Linux. An example of such a tool is apfs-fuse.
  • Searching for and installing such tools may require additional research and caution, as they may be unofficial and have limited support.

Step 2: Connecting and Mounting the Disk

  1. Connect the HDD to the computer.
  2. Open the terminal and enter the command sudo fdisk -l to find out the device name (e.g., /dev/sdb1).
  3. Create a mount point:

Create a new directory where the disk will be mounted, using the mkdir command. For example: sudo mkdir /media/ntfsdisk

  1. Mount the disk:
  • For NTFS, use the command: sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/ntfsdisk
  • For APFS, if you have installed the appropriate tool, follow its instructions for mounting.

Step 3: Checking and Accessing Data

After mounting, check the contents of the disk by going to the mount directory (/media/ntfsdisk in our example) and ensure that the files are accessible for reading and, if necessary, for writing.

Step 4: Automatic Mounting at Boot (Optional)

To have the disk automatically mounted at boot, add the corresponding entry in the /etc/fstab file. This will require identifying the UUID of the disk and specifying the mount parameters. Be careful when editing fstab, as errors can affect the boot process of the system.”

Problem with Automatic Disk Mounting

Step 1: Identifying the Disk Identifier

  • Connect the HDD to your computer.
  • Open the terminal.
  • Enter the command sudo fdisk -l to display a list of all disks and their partitions. Note the identifier of the partition you are interested in (e.g., /dev/sdb1).

Step 2: Manual Disk Mounting

  1. Create a mount point, if not already created, using the mkdir command. For example: sudo mkdir /media/newdisk
  2. Mount the disk. Use the mount command specifying the file system type. For example, for ext4 file system: sudo mount -t ext4 /dev/sdb1 /media/newdisk
  3. Check that the disk is successfully mounted by accessing the /media/newdisk directory.

Step 3: Setting Up Automatic Mounting

  1. Determine the UUID of the disk using the blkid command. Write down the UUID for your partition.
  2. Open the /etc/fstab file in a text editor with administrator rights. You can use sudo nano /etc/fstab.
  3. Add a new line at the end of the file, in the following format: UUID=<you-UUID> /media/newdisk ext4 defaults 0 2

Replace <your-UUID> with the actual UUID of your partition and ext4 with the file system type of your HDD.

  1. Save the changes and close the editor.

Step 4: Reboot and Check

Reboot the system and ensure that the disk is automatically mounted to the specified mount point.

File and Folder Permission Issues

File and folder permission issues in Linux can prevent users from properly accessing their data. Here’s how to solve this problem:

Step 1: Checking Current Permissions

  1. Open the terminal.
  2. Use the ls -l command in the directory with problematic files or folders to display current permissions. For example: ls -l /path/to/directory

Step 2: Changing Ownership of Files or Folders (if necessary)

  1. If the files or folders belong to the wrong user, change the owner using the chown command. For example: sudo chown username:groupname /path/to/file_or_directory
  2. Replace username and groupname with the corresponding user name and group.

Step 3: Setting Permissions

  1. Change permissions using the chmod command. For example, to set read and write permissions for the owner and read-only for others, use: sudo chmod 644 /path/to/file
  2. For directories, the command 755 is often used, allowing the owner to read, write, and execute files, and others to read and execute only.

Step 4: Checking Changes

After changing permissions, check that you can now properly access the files or folders.

Additional Tips:

  • Be careful with using the chmod 777 command, which gives full access rights to all users. This can create security issues.
  • For recursive change of owner or permissions in a directory and all its subdirectories, use the -R flag with chown or chmod commands.

This approach will help solve most problems with file and folder permissions on HDD in Linux.

Disk Detection Issues in BIOS or UEFI

If a hard disk (HDD) is not detected by the Linux system, one of the possible reasons may be related to BIOS or UEFI settings. Here’s how to solve this problem:

Step 1: Reboot and Enter BIOS/UEFI

  1. Reboot your computer.
  2. At the moment of booting, press the corresponding key to enter the BIOS/UEFI settings (often Del, F2, F10, or Esc, depending on the manufacturer).

Step 2: Checking SATA Mode

  1. In BIOS/UEFI, go to the section related to storage or SATA settings.
  2. Check the SATA mode. If it is set to RAID or IDE mode, this may be the cause of the problem. Linux usually works better if the SATA mode is set to AHCI.
  3. Change the mode to AHCI if necessary.

Step 3: Save Settings and Reboot

  1. Save the changes in the BIOS/UEFI settings. Open t
  2. Reboot your computer.

Step 4: Checking Disk Detection in Linux

  1. After Linux boots, open the terminal.
  2. Enter the command sudo fdisk -l or lsblk to view the list of all connected disks.
  3. Make sure the problematic HDD is now displayed in the list.

Step 5: Updating BIOS/UEFI Firmware (if necessary)

In rare cases, updating the BIOS/UEFI firmware can help solve disk detection problems. However, this action should be performed cautiously, as incorrect updating can lead to serious motherboard problems.

Additional Tips and Best Practices

Even after solving the main problems with HDD in Linux, it is important to follow certain best practices and tips to maintain the health of the hard disk and prevent future problems. Here are some of them:

  • Regular Backup: Use Linux’s built-in tools, such as rsync or graphical utilities, for regular copying of data to external media or cloud storage.
  • HDD Health Monitoring: Use SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) tools to monitor hard disk health. Commands such as smartctl allow you to check the state of the HDD and warn of possible problems before they arise.
  • System Update: Regular updates improve hardware support.
  • Optimization and Defragmentation: Although fragmentation is rarely a problem in Linux, in some cases, optimizing file systems can improve performance. Tools like e4defrag can be used for defragmenting ext4 file systems.
  • Choosing Journaling File Systems: Choose journaling file systems, such as ext4 or Btrfs, which provide greater reliability and help prevent data loss in case of failures.


This article reviewed key issues that Linux users may encounter when working with hard drives, as well as methods for solving them. From managing file systems to configuring RAID and solving HDD detection problems, specific steps were proposed to address these common issues.

Understanding HDD problems and knowing how to solve them not only enhances your efficiency in using Linux but also contributes to a safer and more stable operation of your system. Preventive measures, such as regular backup and disk state monitoring, help avoid data loss and other serious problems.