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Files on the external USB HDD disappeared after connecting it to the router but still they takes the space

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8helge8

Occasional Visitor
Recently I have fully formatted my external HDD from NTFS to EXT4, before that I copied the content from the disk (video files - movies/tv-series) to PC.
Then I connected it the router and copied some video files back from PC to HDD using the Router's SAMBA server.
But it fails to copy large files this way (14-20+ GB), so then I ejected it from router and connected HDD to PC to copy video files back in normal way.
I have Windows 11 which doesn't understand EXT4 file system so I had to use DiskGenius program to read/write files from that HDD disk, I have moved some part of videos file in one day, everything was fine, on the next day I moved all other video files, ejected the HDD from PC and connected it the router.
Then I noticed that in a video player (Android TV which uses Asus Router MediaServer/SAMBA to play videos) I can only see video files which was moved from PC to HDD using the SAMBA server but all other video files are gone (which were moved directly from PC to HDD connected by USB with DiskGenius program) but still they take space (before copying from PC there were like 80% of free space, but after it was 20% and not it's still 20% even though the video files are gone).
I thought that something wrong with video player app then checked SAMBA server and they really were gone.
I ejected HDD from router and connected to PC and checked with DiskGenius and again they were missing but still it shows that the disk space is almost fully taken.

Why did it happen and how can I get my back video files back?
 
But it fails to copy large files this way (14-20+ GB)

Your router is not a NAS. Most users realize this only after losing data. The advertised USB file share is for light use only. If you push large transfers your router will run out of RAM and start killing processes. This is happening even on routers with 1GB RAM. Your RT-AX58U is a low-end model with 512MB RAM and less than 200MB is available after boot. Majority of the RAM is taken by the system. You'll get router lockups and possible file corruption. Get a proper NAS and leave the router alone.
 
well I didn't have such problems when HDD was formatted in NTFS file system and connected to router , I have been downloading large video files with Asus Router Download Manager from trackers before (40 GB+) and everything was ok.
I'm not saying about router right now.
I was copying files directly from PC to HDD using a usb connector (without router).
Files have been gone as soon as I connected HDD back to the router.
I switched to EXT4 because I was playing with Asus Merlin firmware (and Entware) but it didn't acknowledge NTFS. Though Asus native firmware works fine with NTFS and can install Download Manager there, I was using it for years like this with ASUS DM for torrents and no problems.
And there were no issues when I was connecting the HDD when it was in NTFS to Windows and copying large files to it and then connecting it back to the router, everything was ok with files.
I guess it's better to install native firmware back and format it as NTFS
 
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Sounds like the files are there, but the samba processes can't see them - I would look at the permissions for the directory and the files within...
 
Sounds like the files are there, but the samba processes can't see them - I would look at the permissions for the directory and the files within...
it's just SAMBA, I was connecting it back to PC and checked with DiskGenius program and they were not there as well, those videos files were in the root of storage, but others video files in root which were copied using SAMBA are visible there, so I can't only see those video files which moved to HDD directly from PC using USB connector with DiskGenius program. So I was reconnecting the HDD to PC a couple of times and newly moved files were there.
 
I'm not a Windows user, so there's that up front... What's this DiskGenius? I gave a quick look at their website but came away no wiser. In my "world", finding myself in front of a PC without native EXT4 support, I'd fetch a copy of https://www.linuxmint.com/edition.php?id=305 copy it raw to a thumb drive, and boot that up. Then I'd be able to (properly?) create the partition / filesystem, and copy the files from the Windows partition to it, all without disturbing the Windows installation but for a reboot.

Agree it's got to be a permission thing, sounds like.
 
In addition to what's already been said, one could boot their Windows PC with a Linux boot disk/USB flash drive and try to read the EXT4 formatted USB drive that way to see if the files show up in Linux. There may be additional Linux tools or commands one can run to check the USB drive for problems or files. One example of a Linux OS that can be burned to a DVD disc or through the use of certain tools to a bootable USB flash drive.
PS: Make sure any files you copy to the USB drive do not contain special characters or start with a period (.) .
 
haha

Busy making that post while I'd posted an abbreviated version of the same logic...

Great minds, and all!

Though the thought there might be dot-files hadn't crossed my mind. Running GNU/Linux that makes them relatively "invisible".
 
Recently I have fully formatted my external HDD from NTFS to EXT4, before that I copied the content from the disk (video files - movies/tv-series) to PC.
Then I connected it the router and copied some video files back from PC to HDD using the Router's SAMBA server.
But it fails to copy large files this way (14-20+ GB), so then I ejected it from router and connected HDD to PC to copy video files back in normal way.
I have Windows 11 which doesn't understand EXT4 file system so I had to use DiskGenius program to read/write files from that HDD disk, I have moved some part of videos file in one day, everything was fine, on the next day I moved all other video files, ejected the HDD from PC and connected it the router.
Then I noticed that in a video player (Android TV which uses Asus Router MediaServer/SAMBA to play videos) I can only see video files which was moved from PC to HDD using the SAMBA server but all other video files are gone (which were moved directly from PC to HDD connected by USB with DiskGenius program) but still they take space (before copying from PC there were like 80% of free space, but after it was 20% and not it's still 20% even though the video files are gone).
I thought that something wrong with video player app then checked SAMBA server and they really were gone.
I ejected HDD from router and connected to PC and checked with DiskGenius and again they were missing but still it shows that the disk space is almost fully taken.

Why did it happen and how can I get my back video files back?
I don't understand why you use EXT4 instead of NTFS? Maybe an idiot told you EXT4 is better for router. EXT4 is so unstable. You may lose your data anytime. It happens when you disconnect HDD without quitting mount system completely. It has been fixed with kernel 2.6.30 or above. but it's not 100% fixed. NTFS works great for both router and windows.

OR
Install UBUNTU to USB> Boot with UBUNTU USB> Access a HDD.
 
EXT4 is arguably much more stable than NTFS. I'd venture a guess that at least twice as many websites run EXT4 vs NTFS. Don't have a clue where such information as stated would originate apart from maybe some Microsoft-centered web source.
 
EXT4 is arguably much more stable than NTFS. I'd venture a guess that at least twice as many websites run EXT4 vs NTFS. Don't have a clue where such information as stated would originate apart from maybe some Microsoft-centered web source.
No, it's not. Website is not related in normal use. He's not using Linux at all. He's using Windows. Many EXT4 users are having the same issue like him, even NAS users.
 
Don't you think that maybe it's the way Windows does the EXT4 than the EXT4 itself, regarding the robustness?

My point was that websites are going to use the more-capable /whatever/. And his router sure ain't running anything Windows, except perhaps for the stupid .asp filename extensions for the web server... hahaha
 
Don't you think that maybe it's the way Windows does the EXT4 than the EXT4 itself, regarding the robustness?

My point was that websites are going to use the more-capable /whatever/. And his router sure ain't running anything Windows, except perhaps for the stupid .asp filename extensions for the web server... hahaha
I don't think so. Because Windows is optimized for regular users.
2023 OS Market Share for Desktop.
Windows 75%.
LINUX 3%.

Games for Desktop.
Windows 97%.
LINUX 2%.
This is why most of users are using Windows for normal and multi purpose. If he had used NTFS this wouldn't have happened.
 
Not gonna touch the gaming PC area, have never followed that, but I take exception to your "desktopish" figures. There's no way of knowing how many Windows licences sold never get used from even first boot of a new brought home computer, or abandoned at any point after, but they get counted all the same. And since even native installs of GNU/Linux don't have a license sold (except some few perhaps - but mostly as support contracted), how can "Linux Desktop" installations be tallied?

Were you around when NTFS and EXT* each first came into use? I watched it happen. I'll stick with my understanding of things, thanks anyway.
 
Some time after 3.004.382, Asus' firmware, and its handling of the file server function, turned to unreliable mush.

I had an AC56U, with 256MB of memory, that never missed a beat transferring small (2GB or less) files repeatedly to USB flash drives attached to its port. And rarely had to be rebooted in the 7-8 years it served.

By contrast, the AX86U I have now, with 4x the memory, can't manage to reliably do the same if it hasn't been rebooted before performing the same tasks, with the same drives. It can't be trusted, and unpleasant surprises like corrupt files with zero bytes are a good possibility, despite the appearance of successful transfer operations. The way it handles drives can also be unpredictable, with mounted volumes displaying empty directories.

Attempts to rationalize the situation, by pointing out hardware limitations, or dismissal as a lightweight feature, don't hold up, because a cheaper, older router lacking the same firepower was actually quite good at doing what the more modern model, with better hardware, can't do, despite minimal configuration changes from stock.

The only thing that's certain is that it's a dud of a feature, and can't be trusted, at least on the more recent models. That much is true.
 
You did put the files in at least one folder when you copied them over?
 
Attempts to rationalize the situation, by pointing out hardware limitations, or dismissal as a lightweight feature, don't hold up, because a cheaper, older router lacking the same firepower was actually quite good at doing what the more modern model, with better hardware, can't do

Your observations are correct. It's not only limited hardware, but software issue as well. I used to test extensively different Asus routers and the most reliable one for file transfers to USB was the older RT-AC68U. It goes slow and steady and completes the task. Everything newer from NHD line runs fast initially and errors out after. Models with 1GB RAM have better chances. Slowing down the transfer to USB 2.0 speed also increases the chances of success. At the time I had Archer C2600 and RT-AC86U available - the same hardware devices. TP-Link had no issues, Asus was crashing. Tests were done with the same file transfer to the same external USB HDD. Clearly software issue on top of limited hardware.

You did put the files in at least one folder when you copied them over?

As I remember with Samba on Asuswrt you can't copy files to root directory. It has to be transfer to a folder. What the user has to account for is the maximum path length of 255 characters in Windows. The extra folder on attached USB HDD increases the path length.
 
You did put the files in at least one folder when you copied them over?
I always put video files (movies) in the root of HDD, and it always was working fine (at least with NTFS filesystem).
So as I said previously, all newly files which were copied from PC to HDD (root, no folders) using USB connector are gone. But files which were copied to HDD (also root) using SAMBA server (HDD was connected to router) are still there.
 
I have used WSL to install Ubuntu on my Windows and now I can mount HDD basically in Linux :D this is cool https://www.hanselman.com/blog/wsl2-can-now-mount-linux-ext4-disks-directly
I checked the size of root folder and it says that 208 GB only taken (the first screenshot), the disk space is about 1TB in total.
DiskGenius shows that 75% of disk is taken (the second screenshot), the same about Asus Router when HDD is connected to it.

What I can do in Linux to try to make other files visible, some commands to restore permissions mb?
 

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I always put video files (movies) in the root of HDD, and it always was working fine (at least with NTFS filesystem).
Files in the root directory of a USB drive will not be visible via the router's Samba server (regardless of the filesystem being used) unless you have allowed "guest login".
 
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