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Linux mistake on Windows FAT32 USB drive

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#1 Alchemist


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Posted 14 September 2018 - 01:53 PM

I plugged a USB drive into a system with Linux Mint running and used it to transfer some files. But it did something to the file system and it now shows in Windows as having 8 Gb free when it's only a 2 Gb drive. Every time I plug it into a Windows system now, I get a prompt to scan it for problems. But problems are never found. It just shows as having more free space than it could possibly have. Is this a known problem with any particular Linux drivers for FAT32? Is there also a known fix?

Edited by Alchemist, 14 September 2018 - 01:54 PM.

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#2 svim


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Posted 04 October 2018 - 01:15 PM

Was that USB drive originally formatted as FAT32? If all you did was transfer files that wouldn't have done anything to change its file system. Support for FAT32 is part of the kernel, so that's probably a non-issue.

When you have that drive mounted on your Windows PC, copy its contents off, reformat it (as FAT32), and confirm that it's back to showing as 2GB. Copy the contents back onto it, dismount it and put back in your Mint PC. Check that it's showing up as 2GB there too, copy some files onto it as a test, and go through the process to mount it back on your Windows PC to check that it's still a 2GB volume.

#3 Chiragroop


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Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:24 PM

Just to get a clarification first:


Wait, does it still show the files in Linux or Windows? Or are the files gone? Also, was the drive ejected before being removed?


If the files are there, then it's probably best to copy files and reformat as @svim suggested. If your files are missing, then that is a problem. If you have transferred all the missing files, you can probably just reformat it and copy it back. Otherwise, you would need to run data recovery software.



#4 pcpunk


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Posted 05 October 2018 - 07:04 AM

Is this a known problem with any particular Linux drivers for FAT32?

No, it's not. 


I've had some issues when I pulled the usb out before ejecting it, or before the pc fully shut down etc.  If you have another USB that is good you could put it in the linux machine and look at the permissions and see if they match.  Sometimes the Permissions will get messed up and cause issues.  Make sure to backup the USB Before you try this.


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#5 rp88


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Posted 10 October 2018 - 05:01 PM

I've often seen this happen, although if memory serves me correctly as to the history of the USB sticks of mine on which it happened each of them was one which was written to from linux when brand new and before anything had been written to them from a windows machine. I've never had any problems with just ignoring the error warning on windows, those USBs all seem to work fine.
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

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