Please clearly document how users can return usb drive to a storage drive or better yet provide a means to do so

Bug #1549603 reported by Doug McMahon on 2016-02-25
42
This bug affects 6 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
usb-creator (Ubuntu)
Medium
Unassigned
Nominated for Xenial by Alberto Salvia Novella

Bug Description

While sdc now works well it creates partitioning/formatting that the default installed Disks app cannot deal with. This will make it hard for users to return the usb drive to use as a storage device after using to install *buntu.
Test case:
Create a boot/install drive with sdc.
Open Disks app & try to format the drive to a usable storage format or try to delete either of the 2 partitions sdc created.
What happens : operations fail, see attached screens.

One method that works requires users to install gparted, dismiss the error popups (disconcerting), then figure out they need to create a fresh partition table.

Related bug report -
https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu-website-content/+bug/1558139

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 16.04
Package: usb-creator-gtk 0.3.2
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 4.4.0-6.21-generic 4.4.1
Uname: Linux 4.4.0-6-generic x86_64
ApportVersion: 2.20-0ubuntu3
Architecture: amd64
CurrentDesktop: Unity
Date: Wed Feb 24 23:09:12 2016
InstallationDate: Installed on 2016-02-02 (22 days ago)
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 16.04 LTS "Xenial Xerus" - Alpha amd64 (20160131)
SourcePackage: usb-creator
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :
Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

attempt to format

Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

Attempt to delete

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

It is good that the new SDC is very simple and *works* :-)

An extra button might be OK - would not make it much more complicated: 'Restore a USB drive for data storage'.

- That button can display documents.

- That button can also start a tool that restores a USB install device to a device with MSDOS partition table
and FAT32 partition (to store and transfer files). I'm editng and testing such a tool ...

jamie (jgwild) wrote :

Using Ubuntu 15.10 fully patched but held back on older kernel due to problems with 4.2.0-19
Linux happy 4.2.0-18-generic #22-Ubuntu SMP Fri Nov 6 18:25:50 UTC 2015 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

I attempted to blank the USB stick that I used to install 15.10 on this machine.
Startup Disc Creator complained of not enough space even after "Erase drive".
Gparted issued the attached error message.
The utility Disks only deleted a portion of the stick.
I used mkusb to wipe the first MiB.
Gparted then created a new partition formatted FAT32 (whole drive, 8GB)
Used Unetbootin to create a new bootable installer (Xubuntu 14.04 32bit)
It refuses to boot, error is "missing operating system"

This is day two of trying to do something that is usually very easy :(

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

In a discussion I suggested that it would be a good alternative to supply a tool to do it, to repartition and reformat the pendrive.

We think the best method would be to build that tool into the SDC, and to access it via a button in the main window. The button can have the text 'Restore a USB drive for data storage', and the target, the USB drive is simply selected by the same box as is selectíng the target when flashing the content of the iso file. It would be possible (but not necessary) to let the user select a label.

So I took the bash script function mk_msdos from mkusb:

- modified it for this purpose
- wrapped it into a main program to make a verbose command line demo program, 'restore-pendrive'

The intention was to let some people test it. Four people have tested this demo program, and it does what we expect it should do.

- One alternative is to use the function mk_msdos with a minimal main program around it (not the verbose demo program we have now), and to call it via a system call from the SDC.

- Another and maybe better alternative is to build it into the SDC. I guess it means that it should be translated to python, and the echo command lines should be removed or replaced.

- Of course it is still an alternative to provide information via that button (or another button), but if the tool is there, we need no detailed information.

-----
$ md5sum restore-pendrive
78f8727194210ab633eaff1b4fd1f5a7 restore-pendrive
-----

Grab the attached file and run it in a bash shell :-) See the screenshots at the following link (post #13)

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2314875&p=13446485#post13446485

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

screenshot of the user dialogue attached

The attachment "restore-pendrive" seems to be a patch. If it isn't, please remove the "patch" flag from the attachment, remove the "patch" tag, and if you are a member of the ~ubuntu-reviewers, unsubscribe the team.

[This is an automated message performed by a Launchpad user owned by ~brian-murray, for any issues please contact him.]

tags: added: patch
Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Doug McMahon (mc3man) on 2016-03-15
summary: - Please document how users can return usb drive to a storage drive
+ Please clearly document how users can return usb drive to a storage
+ drive or better yet provide a means to do so
Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

This really needs to be addressed & I'm not too sure that an 'informational' fix is good enough.
Clearly breaking users hardware is unacceptable & that's what SDC is in effect doing.
(- I wouldn't doubt some users may actually think there drive is broken.
Plus the idea of leaving people to use potentially unfamiliar partitioning software to 'fix' their drives is a risk that they shouldn't be placed in.

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

@ Doug McMahon:

Can you specify in detail what you want,please!

Maybe you can give an example.

-o-

On the other hand, there is a lot of instructions that promote

dd if=distro.iso of=/dev/sdx

at the web pages of several major linux distros. And I seldom see any warning or hint how to restore the pendrive to a data storage drive with an MSDOS partition table and FAT32 file system.

I don't say it is good, and you certainly have a point, but I think many people, maybe particularly people who read bug reports, think it is trivial to use gparted or some other tool. So I think you have to use other channels too in order to create opinion and make something happen.

A button
There should be an obvious to it's use button that opens a confirmation
dialogue & if accepted restores the chosen device to storage, ie. FAT32
No options, just basically ask for permission to take care of this &
confirm chosen device (which should be chosen by SDC with 100% accuracy
that it is a SDC created boot/live disk

On 03/16/2016 01:41 AM, sudodus wrote:
> @ Doug McMahon:
>
> Can you specify in detail what you want,please!
>
> Maybe you can give an example.
>
> -o-
>
> On the other hand, there is a lot of instructions that promote
>
> dd if=distro.iso of=/dev/sdx
>
> at the web pages of several major linux distros. And I seldom see any
> warning or hint how to restore the pendrive to a data storage drive with
> an MSDOS partition table and FAT32 file system.
>
> I don't say it is good, and you certainly have a point, but I think many
> people, maybe particularly people who read bug reports, think it is
> trivial to use gparted or some other tool. So I think you have to use
> other channels too in order to create opinion and make something happen.
>

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

Most of this should be possible to do.

But the SDC *clones* the pendrive. This means that there is no way to tell if it was cloned by the SDC or by some other cloning tool (for example dd, gnome-disks, mkusb). It can be confirmed, that it is a drive, that is cloned from an Ubuntu family iso file, but not that it was cloned by the SDC.

Doug McMahon (mc3man) on 2016-03-17
description: updated
Doug McMahon (mc3man) wrote :

Just to note;
It has been mentioned that this is the purview of gnome-disks which is currently unable to handle SDC formatting.
Well maybe or maybe not but at the time of this change to SDC it was obviously known that gnome-disks was deficient.
So why wasn't that addressed is one way or the other back in early Dec before or at the latest the release of SDC 0.3.0 by those who created & or uploaded it?

Also note that windows disk management can't handle this formatting so it's not a feature considered needed by the general purpose user.

Marc Deslauriers (mdeslaur) wrote :

It doesn't make sense to copy most of the gnome-disk-utility code into SDC just to format a USB stick. What we should do is actually fix gnome-disk-utility so that it can correctly detect and erase a USB stick that was images with a Ubuntu boot disk.

Once that is done, we can then add a button to SDC that will pull up gnome-disk-utility to format the USB stick.

Marc Deslauriers (mdeslaur) wrote :

As soon as I have some free time, I'll try and isolate the race that is preventing udisks2 from working correctly.

ventrical (dale-f-beaudoin) wrote :

@mdeslaur

Marc. Please take look at screenshot in this post. I don't totally understand what happened to the development of SDC because it works just fine in earlier distros. Is it too difficult to back-step code?

Regards..

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2314875&page=7&p=13457060#post13457060

Marc Deslauriers (mdeslaur) wrote :

@ventrical: the old SDC created a single partition and attempted to perform all required operations in it for it to boot on different devices. That unfortunately didn't work properly. The new SDC simply copies the boot image to the device, multiple partitions and all, so that the resulting USB stick works on all devices, included UEFI machines.

ventrical (dale-f-beaudoin) wrote :

@marc,

Yes .. I see that now. In fact I am used to just using the restore option on gnome 'disks' which works just beautifully.

Regards..

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

The following bug report is related to this one, in the meaning that this new (and I think much improved) Ubuntu Startup Disk Creator, usb-creator-gtk, has made the problem visible to many more people. I am thinking of Bug #1622313, 'gparted does not recognize the iso9660 file system in cloned Ubuntu USB boot drives' at

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gparted/+bug/1622313

Until these bugs are fixed, many people need help to restore their USB drives from read-only booters to standard storage devices. (At the Ubuntu forums I tell them that mkusb can do the job.)

Changed in usb-creator (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
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