Cannot Mount 3TB MyBook USB HD

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Hello, new Linux user here and I cannot mount a new (empty) WD MyBook Essentials 3TB USB external hard drive (Model WDBACW0030HBK-NESN).

I’m only about 3 weeks into this linux thing and so please forgive me if any of my syntax is off

My linux OS is CentOS 5.4 x86-64 running on a dedicated HP z400. The WD
MyBook is to back up the large data files we are creating on the HP400
(it’s used to run a DNA sequencer)

I plugged the brand new MyBook into my XP system and cleaned out all the pre-installed WD files as soon as I got it, then plugged into my Linux system (2 completely separate machines). It failed to auto-mount with this error:

Failed to read last sector (732558079): Invalid argument HINTS: Either the volume is a RAID/LDM but it wasn’t setup yet,
or it was not setup correctly (e.g. by not using mdadm –build …),
or a wrong device is tried to be mounted,
or the partition table is corrupt (partition is smaller than NTFS),
or the NTFS boot sector is corrupt (NTFS size is not valid). Failed to mount ‘/dev/sdc1’: Invalid argument The device ‘/dev/sdc1’ doesn’t seem to have a valid NTFS. Maybe the wrong device is used? Or the whole disk instead of a partition (e.g. /dev/sda, not /dev/sda1)? Or the other way around?

I’ve been searching in many forums and such but so far nothing I’ve tried has worked, including:

Reformatting the HD (on the XP machine), NTFS format using 4096 byte allocation size (slow format, took hours)

Reformatting the HD (on the XP machine), NTFS format using 512 byte allocation size (that the size used on the two ext3 internal drives;
used “quick format” option this time)

Adding a new directory:

# mkdir /media/MyBook

Then changing fstab to add line:

/dev/sdc1 /media/MyBook ntfs-3g rw,umask00,defaults 0 0


# mount /media/MyBook

Which returned the same error each time

I installed gparted, then opened the GUI program. It nicely displays the info on the two installed ext3 hard drives but that’s all it shows

Here’s some info on other packages which were investigated, installed or updated in an attempt to mount this USB drive:

ntfs-3g would not install, yum reported conflicts with fuse-ntfs-3g

dkms-fuse is not installed

dkms not installed

fuse-ntfs-3g (updated to latest version)

parted (updated to latest version)

When I run

# parted /dev/sdc


# parted /dev/sdc1

I get this message:

Warning: Device /dev/sdc has a logical sector size of 4096. Not all parts of GNU Parted support this at the moment, and the working code is HIGHLY EXPERIMENTAL.

When I use “print” command in gparted I get

Error: unable to open /dev/sdc (or /dev/sdc1) – unrecognized disk label

I also tried fdisk

# fdisk /dev/sdc

And received this message:

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 45599. There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024, and could in certain setups cause problems with:

1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)

2) booting and partitioning software from other Oss (e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

WARNING: The size of this disk is 3 TB

DOS partition table format can not be used on drives for volumes larger than (2199023255040 bytes) for 512-byte sectors. Use parted(1) and GUID

partition table format (GPT).

Similar results when I used

# fdisk /dev/sdc1

Except some number were different (ie number of cylinders report as

What am I doing wrong? Is all this problem simply due to the size of the hard drive (3TB)? I also have a 1TB Seagate used to backup several other computers (all XP or Win7). Would I be better to use the Seagate on the linux and the WD on the windows systems?


Jason Miller

Aquatic Contaminants Research Division

National Water Research Institute Environment Canada – Canada Centre for Inland Waters
867 Lakeshore Rd. Burlington, Ontario, Canada L7R 4A6


8 thoughts on - Cannot Mount 3TB MyBook USB HD

  • Did you try mounting this drive as type dos or fat or vfat?

    It looks like it might be old dos format. Not NTFS.

  • lots of details which will help, but I think it’d be good to add what end game you want to get to. e.g. just want to use this drive under linux, want to use it under linux and NT both, etc. I have a similar setup with a 3tb usb3 and CentOS6. I ended up reformatting the disk to have a 200g (I think?) partition formatted to fat32 and the reset as a ext3 partition for linux use. I’d have to do some verification to be sure it all works nicely (since I put it on my linux machine, I’ve had no use to pull it back off), but I can add all the files I’d like to either partition on linux and access the fat 32
    from various windows hosts.

  • zGreenfelder wrote:

    Several thoughts: first, you said gpartd had questions about it. *IS* it a RAID (I don’t know the device)? Esp. if not, I’d recreate the partition, and… 3TB, use gparted *NOT* fdisk, which can only handle up to 2TB. Make sure the partition type is GPT. I don’t believe FAT or FAT-32 can handle a drive this big.


  • GPT is actually the LABEL type for the whole disk, and not the partition type.

    iirc, fat16 has a 2GB max due to inherent limitations, and FAT32/VFAT
    starts to get sketchy somewhere north of 128GB, but tthe absolute max size is 2TB with standard sector sizes. FAT32 also has a max single file size of 4GB

    anyways, for sharing data between windows and unix systems, I highly recommend this thing called ‘networking’. put the disk on a server or NAS and share it with SMB (for windows clients) and/or NFS (for unix/linux clients).

  • John R Pierce wrote:

    Sorry, I meant replace the MBR, if any, with a GPT. Label, partition table…. Happy? Then make the partition.


  • Am 08.03.2013 22:32, schrieb Miller,Jason [Burlington]:

    [ … ]

    Your drive is most certainly not compatible with CentOS 5. See

    4 kilobyte physical sectors, 4 kilobyte logical sector harddisks

    4 kilobyte physical sectors, 4 kilobyte logical sector harddisks require firmware and software modifications to function. This type of 4
    kilobytes sector disks is currently not supported in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

    In addition:



  • Hi.

    If the external drive is already formatted with NTFS, then:

    install fuse. remove fuse-ntfs-3g install ntfs-3g.

    I had problems with fuse-ntfs-3g and those problems were resolved when I
    swapped to straight ntfs-3g.
    (CentOS 5.9). Mine was a 1TB external drive that was NTFS because it is used on windows machines as well.

    If you want to use your 3TB exclusively for for Linux, it might be ( as suggested) ) best to change the partition to GPT and format it with ext{3|4}.