On my new Ubuntu Linux machine, I was having difficulty writing to my external FAT32 Buffalo USB hard disk. Although my pen drive was mounting read-write, the larger Buffalo drive was mounted read-only. Since I use this for backups, it wasn’t much good.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make a note of the errors at the time to be able to include them here. Part of it was a disk panic, which caused the switch to read-only. After much faffing about with Eventually I figured that there might be an error on the disk (although most of the other people reporting similar things seemed to be having problems connecting their iPods).

I tried to run fsck.vfat, but that crashed out with a segmentation fault every time I tried it. So instead I connected the disk to my XP laptop and ran a thorough scandisk on it. This seems to have done the trick. I’ve now used the Simple Backup tool to create a backup, and it went without a hitch.