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Using USB Hard Drive Enclosures with Linux

Using a USB hard drive enclosure with Linux is quite straightforward and very convenient.


I followed these excellent directions, which boil down to:
  • Look in /var/log/messages for the new drive device (/dev/sda in my case)
  • Carefully check that that device is not already mounted by looking at the output of mount
  • Using fdisk to partition the blank drive
  • Using mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdaX to put an ext3 filesystem on the drive
  • Using tune2fs -m 0 /dev/sdaX to not reserve any space.
  • Using mount /dev/sdaX /mnt/usbdrive to mount the drive for use


I am using a Thermaltake Silver River Duo enclosure. It supports IDE and SATA drives, along with USB 2.0 Hi-Speed and ESATA interfaces.

When using the USB interface with a Maxtor 200GB 7200RPM Ultra ATA/133 drive I was able to write:

  • 3.9GB in 3 minutes, 23 seconds (203 seconds)
  • Write rate: 153 Mbps (19 MB/s)
This is less than the advertised 480Mbps transfer rate for USB 2.0 Hi-Speed but more than enough to handle recording multiple 19.2 Mbps HDTV streams simultaneously.
Last modified on 10 Aug 2015 by AO

Copyright © 2016 Andrew Oliver