HOWTO: Mount Partitions in Terminal – FSTab


Here’s a How-to, taken from one of my posts on Ubuntu Forums. This how-to explains how to mount a partition in Ubuntu via the command line, and how to set up an auto-mount in your FSTab 🙂

All the writing in this kind of font, is writting that you type into a command line, either on a CLI system such as Ubuntu Server, or through a Terminal (Applications>Accessories>Terminal). To mount a drive, you first need to know it’s name. Run the following command in a terminal to list all your harddrives and partitions.

 sudo fdisk -l

Take a note of the drive names, and partition numbers of the drive you want to mount. This would be something like /dev/sdb1 or /dev/sdc3. If there are no partitions, you’ll need to create some with fdisk (How-to for this is on it’s way ;))

Now, create a mountpoint for your drive. You can make it whatever you want, but a common place to mount things is in the /mnt dir. Create a folder there with

sudo mkdir mount_name

Of course, you can have “mount_name” as whatever you want.

Finally, after that, we can try to mount the drive to the folder. If the partition you want to access is called /dev/sdb1 the command would be this

sudo mount -t auto -v /dev/sdb1 /mnt/mount_name

The -t option is the filesystem type. Since we don’t know it, leave it to auto and let the mount command figure it out. The -v option is for verbosity, and with luck, should show something like this.

mount: you didn't specify a filesystem type for /dev/sdb1
I will try type vfat
/dev/sdb1 on /mnt/mount_name type vfat (rw)

Now we know that the filesystem is vfat. It could also be ntfs-3g, ext3, ext4 or a few others.

Before we proceed, unmount the drive we just mounted with

sudo umount /dev/sdb1

To tell Ubuntu to mount your drive everytime it boots, you need to edit your fstab file. The options here vary quite a bit, so this guide will be very useful. The following is just an example.

Edit the file using Nano

sudo nano /etc/fstab

As a general rule of thumb, assuming that /dev/sdb1 was an NTFS partition, you would add a line like this to the end of the file. The line with the # in front is commented out, and is just there for your own reference.

#Write whatever comment you want
/dev/sdb1 /mnt/mount_name ntfs-3g defaults,uid=1000,umask=0 0 0

UID is your user id. If your the first user created, this will most likely be 1000. Again, the options you can give here vary a lot, but the Ubuntu docs have quite a good list.

For a Linux partition, the line would be a bit simpler.

#Write whatever comment you want
/dev/sdb1 /mnt/mount_name ext4 defaults 0 0

Finally exit and save the file with Ctrl+X, press Shift+Y and then Enter.

Test that your fstab line is correct by trying to mount it.

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 -v

It should tell you that it has been successfully mounted.

That’s it. You may have to change the permissions of the mounted drive to allow you to read/write to it, but that’s as simple as running

sudo chmod -Rv 777 /mnt/mount_name

followed by

sudo chown -R you_user_name /mnt/mount_name 

That will change the permissions to 777 (Full access to everyone) and list every file as being owned by you.

After all that, your done 🙂


7 Responses to “HOWTO: Mount Partitions in Terminal – FSTab”

  1. 1

    Thank you very much! 🙂
    If I could only add one thing – it should be:
    #Write whatever comment you want
    /dev/sdb1 /mnt/mount_name ext4 defaults 0 0

    instead of:
    #Write whatever comment you want
    dev/sdb1 /mnt/mount_name ext4 defaults 0 0

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