Ubuntu disappearing disk window problem

Can anyone help with this annoyance?

Local box running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, with internal boot/work SSD and a spinner named “Big Data”. Big Data mounts at startup and shows in the sidebars. I can open a window to it in the disk explorer (called Nautilus?), and list its contents. But whenever I switch to a different program and switch back, that window is gone. I have to re-navigate into Big Data all over again. This issue does not occur with the boot drive. Is there a fix?

One further clue… Big Data is inaccessible from Jupyter, say for listing and opening files, until I once open a window to it manually in Nautilus, even though it shows as mounted. After that, it behaves normally when accessed from a Jupyter notebook.

Thanks for your help.

about problem number one:

As you report no issues with the boot SSD, and only a transient “disapearing” problem with the separate spinning HD, it may be a hardware issue. If you are still having the issue, please post the last few lines of dmesg soon after you observe the disappearing drive problem.

Use the following or something similar, this returns the last 20 lines of dmesg
$ dmesg | tail -n 20

Posting the result(s) of the following command (when the drives are working properly and when one drive has disappeared) might help troubleshoot as well
$ ls /dev | egrep “sd|nvme”

I am also using Gnome on my version of Ubuntu, but I never use Nautilus. You may also have luck on just switching to a terminal/bash for most file operations if the disappearing-drive issue is actually software not hardware, and if your problem is isolated to Nautilus.

about problem number two:
Because you note another issue with the spinning HD not being available from Jupyter until you open nautilus you may want to examine the following to see if there are any “missing entries” or unexpected options (note especially the “noauto” option that will stop devices from being mounted on boot)

$ cat /etc/fstab

$ man fstab

$ man mount

  • Although it has been many years since I have edited /etc/fstab manually, knowing about fstab gives another search term for you to investigate (I particularly like the Arch Linux Wiki for all linux problems)
  • Fstab configuration issues do not necessarily relate to the disappearing drive problem, but seems you have two separate problems going on (drive disappearing problem and drive not available until opened in nautilus)

Thanks for the tips.

After you posted I looked at problem 1 again. It’s not that the disk window disappears as I thought, but that Nautilus fails to bring it to the front. The missing window still exists behind other application windows.

In particular, Nautilus (called File in Ubuntu) when chosen from the sidebar brings a single window to the front, and not even the one that was previously active. Double click on apps in the sidebar normally displays all their windows in miniature, allowing you choose one. Not File: unlike every other app, it only shows one of its windows despite several being open.

So go figure. Maybe this is a bug, maybe my error, maybe some obtuse configuration file I could find and edit. In the end, I installed a utility call upfront that brings all of an app’s windows to the front. That’s my new workflow, just for File. Blech!

As for problem 2, I will check out fstab for clues.

Thanks again for your help.