Red Hat Bugzilla – Bug 194296
USB drive icon shows as unmounted before write cache flushed
Last modified: 2013-03-05 22:45:34 EST
When unmounting a USB drive, the drive's icon shows the drive as being
unmounted, giving you the impression that it's safe to remove even though it
isn't. Usually, after unplugging the drive, an error is displayed, saying that
it was unable to unmount the drive. The drive becomes corrupt with a lot of
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Plug in USB drive.
2. Open USB drive icon.
3. Drag/drop many large files to the drive.
4. Wait for copy to finish
5. Right click drive's icon and choose to unmount it
6. After the icon changes indicating that the drive has been unmounted unplug it.
Drive is corrupt and has a lot of lost space.
I would expect all writes to have been committed and the drive completely
unmounted before the icon changes to the unmounted state. Either that or some
other indication to that effect would be nice.
I want to add to this.
I just ran into the same problem yesterday with FC4.
I repeated the problem three times.
It is even harder to know that the drive is still being written to if there are
no indicators lights on the drive.
What I found.
1. The syncing of the data isn't done as soon as you copy it. Not that much of
2. When the drive is mounted, "df -h" shows proper mount and usage status.
3. When the drive is unmounted by clicking on the desktop, there is no
indication in the logs of this occuring and the icon waits a bit then disappears.
4. But "df -h" now shows the wrong drive structure for the drive, yet it is
still being written to. For my 1 gig drive, it showed the same details as my
19Gig partition (/dev/hda2) but under /dev/sda
My situation was an empty 1Gig USB stick with no indicator lights.
Using terminal to copy ~600M of files "cp -r ~/data_to_stick/* /media/usbdisk "
Right click drive icon and unmount the drive.
Wait for icon to disapear and then remove drive.
Remount drive and find corrupted files and/or file system.
After the first time, I couldn't remount the drive because the fat was wrecked.
dosfsck /dev/sda saved the drive. Later repeated with only file corruption.
Need a pop-up or message to not remove the drive or to say that the drive is
safe to remove as in Windows. If I hadn't backed up all the files on this drive
just before doing this, I would have been very, very upset. Or if this had been
a move instead of a copy, it could have ended worse.
I think that this should be a high priority as it does cause data corruption and
loss. I cannot change the priority.
This seems to be a hal issue. It sets the volume to unmounted before the kernel
is finished with the unmount it seems.
It's definitely not a HAL issue - that's just how the kernel works. You can
easily detach a file system while there unwritten blocks in the block cache. The
problem for the user remains though.
I think the way to solve this is to make gnome-mount call sync(1) after
unmounting and put up a dialog if this doesn't return within 0.5 seconds. I'd be
happy to take patches, I'm pretty busy and probably won't get around to doing
this for some weeks.
As long as the user is informed that the drive is "not safe" to remove, the
issue is resolved. In Windows, there is a pop-up that states the drive is safe
to remove. In Gnome, we look for the icon to disapear.
In making Linux/Fedora more user friendly, especially for those with less
experience, a message stating that users should wait until the drive is actually
finished all transactions. If this is called by sync, then don't remove the
drive icon until sync is finished or provide a pop-up that the drive is "done
syncing and can be safely removed." AKA, windows again.
Yes, what is requested in comment 4 is exactly what comment 3 describes.
I did see the mountpoint listed in the output of "mount" while the writing was
As I stated, the drive does show up with "df" but the data is wrong. (comment
1) Somewhere the system gets confused. Maybe this is where the communications
between the desktop and the kernel is getting confused. Maybe this is where the
desktop thinks the drive is unmounted.
Where does the "df" information come from and why would it change when I want to
unmount my stick?
*** Bug 192528 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I've fixed this and the necessary changes will appear in (yet unreleased, will
release both in a few days) HAL 0.5.8.1 and gnome-mount 0.5. Here's a screenshot
that shows how it looks
This notification will appear if it takes more than 750ms to Unmount the volume
and it will be displayed for at least two seconds (to avoid flashes) but will be
removed as soon as it's safe to unplug the device etc.
We should push gnome-mount 0.5 and HAL 0.5.8.1 as FC6 updates just after FC6 is
Looks great! Bravo!
Ah, the nag is a bit worrysome. I would shorten it and just switch the
notification to "Drive is now safe to remove" when it is unmounted. I would
also remove the word unmount though it apears in the UI anyway. Personnaly I
would just say "Writting data to removable storage", "Please do not remove the
drive" or something to that effect.
Comment 11 sounds sane. So I did that
Specifically the last notification goes away after the default timeout.
Is the wording OK now? Just asking as English is my 2nd language etc. etc.
Changed "put away" to "removed" already!
The first message is still a bit wordy but it is good for now until we can get
some designers on it.
I like this idea and it looks good. It would be nice if the "safe to remove"
message comes up at all times. A green icon or text for safe to remove.
The "Do not remove message" could use a red icon or message to indicate not safe
I hope it gets back ported to earlier versions of FC.
"USB device is syncing, please do not remove."
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This may have been fixed as I noticed on F7 that there is now a message that it
is safe to remove the USB stick under Gnome. In KDE, there is no message, the
icon just disappears (my configuration).
I have just tested this in F8 with KDE and I cannot unmount the drive while data
is being written to it.
Again the icon just disappears when the device is ready to be unmounted.
changing to Fedora 8 based on comment #17
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