Fedora 17: Possible data loss when copying files to an external HDD with Nautilus

system-file-managerI would like to warn you all about a serious bug discovered in Nautilus in Fedora 17 (GNOME 3.4). If you use it to copy files from your computer to an external HDD, you might experience a data loss (some files missing/corrupted). The problem is that Nautilus doesn’t show notifications properly when you want to eject the drive and all data is not written out yet. The bug has been fixed in Fedora 18 (GNOME 3.6), but it is still present in Fedora 17, and it is reported in bug 886435. It does not affect flash drives, only external HDDs (at least according to my tiny statistical data).

Ideally, it should look like this – if you try to eject the device, you are told that data are still being written: umount-notification-writingOnce that is complete, you are told that you can finally eject the device:


However, none of these notifications are shown in Fedora 17, if you eject the drive using Nautilus. You then assume that everything is OK and disconnect the drive – and some of your data is silently lost.

The workaround is to use GNOME Shell notification area to unplug the drive:


That works well and notifications are shown.

If you happen to use some other desktop environment, like XFCE or MATE or something else with Nautilus, then probably the safest choice it to open up a terminal and run “sync” command. Once it finishes, all your data is written out correctly.

Hope this helps.

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3 thoughts on “Fedora 17: Possible data loss when copying files to an external HDD with Nautilus

  1. Bullshit, notifications are shown in Fedora 17. I was writing to external hdd and notifications were in place. All data was written ok.

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