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How To Copy Files to an External Hard Disk in Ubuntu Terminal?

Ubuntu 10

In this tutorial, we will walk you through the process of copying files to an external hard disk using the Ubuntu terminal. This process involves understanding and using Linux commands, specifically the cp command, and managing file permissions.

Quick Answer

To copy files to an external hard disk in Ubuntu terminal, you can use the cp command followed by the source file or directory and the destination location. Make sure your external hard disk is recognized by your system using the lsblk command. If you encounter any issues, check the file permissions of the destination folder using the ls -l command. If necessary, format the external hard disk to a compatible file system like FAT32 using the mkfs command.

Understanding the Terminal and the cp Command

The terminal, also known as the command line, is a powerful tool that allows you to control your computer using text-based commands. One such command is cp, which stands for “copy”. This command is used to copy files or directories in Linux.

The basic syntax of the cp command is as follows:

cp [options] source destination
  • source: This is the file or directory that you want to copy.
  • destination: This is the location where you want to copy the source file or directory.

Checking the External Hard Disk

Before you start copying files, you need to ensure that your Ubuntu system recognizes the external hard disk. Plug in your external hard disk and use the lsblk command to list all block devices, as follows:

lsblk

Your external hard disk should appear in this list. Note down the device name as you’ll need it later.

Copying Files to the External Hard Disk

Now that you have the device name of your external hard disk, you can start copying files. For example, if you want to copy a file named example.txt from your desktop to the external hard disk, you would use the cp command as follows:

sudo cp -b /home/UserName/Desktop/example.txt /media/HD-LBU3
  • sudo: This command runs the following command with root privileges. It may ask for your password.
  • cp: This is the copy command.
  • -b: This option tells the cp command to make a backup of each existing destination file.
  • /home/UserName/Desktop/example.txt: This is the source file that you want to copy.
  • /media/HD-LBU3: This is the destination where you want to copy the source file. Replace HD-LBU3 with the device name of your external hard disk.

Checking File Permissions

If you encounter any issues while copying the files, it might be due to file permissions. You can check the permissions of the destination folder using the ls -l command, as follows:

ls -l /media/HD-LBU3

If you need to change the permissions, you can use the chmod command. For example, to give read, write, and execute permissions to the user, you would use the chmod command as follows:

sudo chmod 700 /media/HD-LBU3

Formatting the External Hard Disk

If the files are not showing up in Windows, it could be due to the file system format of the external hard disk. You can format the disk to a file system that is compatible with both Ubuntu and Windows, such as FAT32 or exFAT.

To format the disk to FAT32, you can use the mkfs command as follows:

sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX

Replace /dev/sdX with the device name of your external hard disk. Note that formatting will erase all existing data on the disk, so make sure to back up any important data beforehand.

Conclusion

Copying files to an external hard disk in Ubuntu terminal may seem complex at first, but once you understand the basic commands and principles, it becomes a straightforward task. Remember to check the file permissions and the file system format of the external hard disk to avoid any issues. If you need more information about the cp command, you can check the Ubuntu man page.

How do I check if my Ubuntu system recognizes the external hard disk?

To check if your Ubuntu system recognizes the external hard disk, you can use the lsblk command in the terminal. This command lists all block devices, including your external hard disk. Simply plug in your external hard disk and run the command lsblk. Your external hard disk should appear in the list with its corresponding device name.

How do I copy files from my desktop to the external hard disk in Ubuntu terminal?

To copy files from your desktop to the external hard disk in Ubuntu terminal, you can use the cp command. The basic syntax of the cp command is cp [options] source destination. For example, if you want to copy a file named example.txt from your desktop to the external hard disk, you would use the command sudo cp -b /home/UserName/Desktop/example.txt /media/HD-LBU3, replacing HD-LBU3 with the device name of your external hard disk.

How do I check the file permissions of the destination folder?

To check the file permissions of the destination folder, you can use the ls -l command followed by the path of the destination folder. For example, to check the permissions of the folder /media/HD-LBU3, you would use the command ls -l /media/HD-LBU3. This command will display the permissions for the files and directories within the specified folder.

How do I change file permissions in Ubuntu terminal?

To change file permissions in Ubuntu terminal, you can use the chmod command. The basic syntax of the chmod command is chmod [permissions] file. For example, to give read, write, and execute permissions to the user for the folder /media/HD-LBU3, you would use the command sudo chmod 700 /media/HD-LBU3. The numbers 700 represent the permissions for the owner, group, and others respectively.

How do I format an external hard disk to a compatible file system in Ubuntu?

To format an external hard disk to a compatible file system in Ubuntu, you can use the mkfs command. For example, to format the disk to FAT32, you would use the command sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdX, replacing /dev/sdX with the device name of your external hard disk. Note that formatting will erase all existing data on the disk, so make sure to back up any important data beforehand.

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