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2.2. Mounting a File System

To attach a certain file system, use the mount command in the following form:
mount [option] device directory
When the mount command is run, it reads the content of the /etc/fstab configuration file to see if the given file system is listed. This file contains a list of device names and the directory in which the selected file systems should be mounted, as well as the file system type and mount options. Because of this, when you are mounting a file system that is specified in this file, you can use one of the following variants of the command:
mount [option] directory
mount [option] device
Note that unless you are logged in as root, you must have permissions to mount the file system (see Section 2.2.2, “Specifying the Mount Options”).

2.2.1. Specifying the File System Type

In most cases, mount detects the file system automatically. However, there are certain file systems, such as NFS (Network File System) or CIFS (Common Internet File System), that are not recognized, and need to be specified manually. To specify the file system type, use the mount command in the following form:
mount -t type device directory
Table 2.1, “Common File System Types” provides a list of common file system types that can be used with the mount command. For a complete list of all available file system types, consult the relevant manual page as referred to in Section 2.4.1, “Installed Documentation”.

Table 2.1. Common File System Types

Type Description
ext2 The ext2 file system.
ext3 The ext3 file system.
ext4 The ext4 file system.
iso9660 The ISO 9660 file system. It is commonly used by optical media, typically CDs.
jfs The JFS file system created by IBM.
nfs The NFS file system. It is commonly used to access files over the network.
nfs4 The NFSv4 file system. It is commonly used to access files over the network.
ntfs The NTFS file system. It is commonly used on machines that are running the Windows operating system.
udf The UDF file system. It is commonly used by optical media, typically DVDs.
vfat The FAT file system. It is commonly used on machines that are running the Windows operating system, and on certain digital media such as USB flash drives or floppy disks.

Example 2.2. Mounting a USB Flash Drive

Older USB flash drives often use the FAT file system. Assuming that such drive uses the /dev/sdc1 device and that the /media/flashdisk/ directory exists, you can mount it to this directory by typing the following at a shell prompt as root:
~]# mount -t vfat /dev/sdc1 /media/flashdisk

2.2.2. Specifying the Mount Options

To specify additional mount options, use the command in the following form:
mount -o options
When supplying multiple options, do not insert a space after a comma, or mount will incorrectly interpret the values following spaces as additional parameters.
Table 2.2, “Common Mount Options” provides a list of common mount options. For a complete list of all available options, consult the relevant manual page as referred to in Section 2.4.1, “Installed Documentation”.

Table 2.2. Common Mount Options

Option Description
async Allows the asynchronous input/output operations on the file system.
auto Allows the file system to be mounted automatically using the mount -a command.
defaults Provides an alias for async,auto,dev,exec,nouser,rw,suid.
exec Allows the execution of binary files on the particular file system.
loop Mounts an image as a loop device.
noauto Disallows the automatic mount of the file system using the mount -a command.
noexec Disallows the execution of binary files on the particular file system.
nouser Disallows an ordinary user (that is, other than root) to mount and unmount the file system.
remount Remounts the file system in case it is already mounted.
ro Mounts the file system for reading only.
rw Mounts the file system for both reading and writing.
user Allows an ordinary user (that is, other than root) to mount and unmount the file system.
See Example 2.3, “Mounting an ISO Image” for an example usage.

Example 2.3. Mounting an ISO Image

An ISO image (or a disk image in general) can be mounted by using the loop device. Assuming that the ISO image of the Fedora 14 installation disc is present in the current working directory and that the /media/cdrom/ directory exists, you can mount the image to this directory by running the following command as root:
~]# mount -o ro,loop Fedora-14-x86_64-Live-Desktop.iso /media/cdrom
Note that ISO 9660 is by design a read-only file system.

2.2.3. Sharing Mounts

Occasionally, certain system administration tasks require access to the same file system from more than one place in the directory tree (for example, when preparing a chroot environment). To address such requirements, the mount command implements the --bind option that provides a means for duplicating certain mounts. Its usage is as follows:
mount --bind old_directory new_directory
Although the above command allows a user to access the file system from both places, it does not apply on the file systems that are mounted within the original directory. To include these mounts as well, type:
mount --rbind old_directory new_directory
Additionally, to provide as much flexibility as possible, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.10 implements the functionality known as shared subtrees. This feature allows you to use the following four mount types:
Shared Mount
A shared mount allows you to create an exact replica of a given mount point. When a shared mount is created, any mount within the original mount point is reflected in it, and vice versa. To create a shared mount, type the following at a shell prompt:
mount --make-shared mount_point
Alternatively, you can change the mount type for the selected mount point and all mount points under it:
mount --make-rshared mount_point

Example 2.4. Creating a Shared Mount Point

There are two places where other file systems are commonly mounted: the /media directory for removable media, and the /mnt directory for temporarily mounted file systems. By using a shared mount, you can make these two directories share the same content. To do so, as root, mark the /media directory as shared:
~]# mount --bind /media /media
~]# mount --make-shared /media
Then create its duplicate in /mnt by using the following command:
~]# mount --bind /media /mnt
You can now verify that a mount within /media also appears in /mnt. For example, if you have non-empty media in your CD-ROM drive and the /media/cdrom/ directory exists, run the following commands:
~]# mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
~]# ls /media/cdrom
EFI  GPL  isolinux  LiveOS
~]# ls /mnt/cdrom
EFI  GPL  isolinux  LiveOS
Similarly, you can verify that any file system mounted in the /mnt directory is reflected in /media. For instance, if you have a non-empty USB flash drive that uses the /dev/sdc1 device plugged in and the /mnt/flashdisk/ directory is present, type:
~]# mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/flashdisk
~]# ls /media/flashdisk
en-US  publican.cfg
~]# ls /mnt/flashdisk
en-US  publican.cfg
Slave Mount
A slave mount allows you to create a limited duplicate of a given mount point. When a slave mount is created, any mount within the original mount point is reflected in it, but no mount within a slave mount is reflected in its original. To create a slave mount, type the following at a shell prompt:
mount --make-slave mount_point
Alternatively, you can change the mount type for the selected mount point and all mount points under it:
mount --make-rslave mount_point

Example 2.5. Creating a Slave Mount Point

Imagine you want the content of the /media directory to appear in /mnt as well, but you do not want any mounts in the /mnt directory to be reflected in /media. To do so, as root, first mark the /media directory as shared:
~]# mount --bind /media /media
~]# mount --make-shared /media
Then create its duplicate in /mnt, but mark it as slave:
~]# mount --bind /media /mnt
~]# mount --make-slave /mnt
You can now verify that a mount within /media also appears in /mnt. For example, if you have non-empty media in your CD-ROM drive and the /media/cdrom/ directory exists, run the following commands:
~]# mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
~]# ls /media/cdrom
EFI  GPL  isolinux  LiveOS
~]# ls /mnt/cdrom
EFI  GPL  isolinux  LiveOS
You can also verify that file systems mounted in the /mnt directory are not reflected in /media. For instance, if you have a non-empty USB flash drive that uses the /dev/sdc1 device plugged in and the /mnt/flashdisk/ directory is present, type: :
~]# mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/flashdisk
~]# ls /media/flashdisk
~]# ls /mnt/flashdisk
en-US  publican.cfg
Private Mount
A private mount allows you to create an ordinary mount. When a private mount is created, no subsequent mounts within the original mount point are reflected in it, and no mount within a private mount is reflected in its original. To create a private mount, type the following at a shell prompt:
mount --make-private mount_point
Alternatively, you can change the mount type for the selected mount point and all mount points under it:
mount --make-rprivate mount_point

Example 2.6. Creating a Private Mount Point

Taking into account the scenario in Example 2.4, “Creating a Shared Mount Point”, assume that you have previously created a shared mount point by using the following commands as root:
~]# mount --bind /media /media
~]# mount --make-shared /media
~]# mount --bind /media /mnt
To mark the /mnt directory as private, type:
~]# mount --make-private /mnt
You can now verify that none of the mounts within /media appears in /mnt. For example, if you have non-empty media in your CD-ROM drive and the /media/cdrom/ directory exists, run the following commands:
~]# mount /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
~]# ls /media/cdrom
EFI  GPL  isolinux  LiveOS
~]# ls /mnt/cdrom
~]#
You can also verify that file systems mounted in the /mnt directory are not reflected in /media. For instance, if you have a non-empty USB flash drive that uses the /dev/sdc1 device plugged in and the /mnt/flashdisk/ directory is present, type:
~]# mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/flashdisk
~]# ls /media/flashdisk
~]# ls /mnt/flashdisk
en-US  publican.cfg
Unbindable Mount
An unbindable mount allows you to prevent a given mount point from being duplicated whatsoever. To create an unbindable mount, type the following at a shell prompt:
mount --make-unbindable mount_point
Alternatively, you can change the mount type for the selected mount point and all mount points under it:
mount --make-runbindable mount_point

Example 2.7. Creating an Unbindable Mount Point

To prevent the /media directory from being shared, as root, type the following at a shell prompt:
~]# mount --bind /media /media
~]# mount --make-unbindable /media
This way, any subsequent attempt to make a duplicate of this mount will fail with an error:
~]# mount --bind /media /mnt
mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /media/,
       missing code page or other error
       In some cases useful info is found in syslog - try
       dmesg | tail  or so

2.2.4. Moving a Mount Point

To change the directory in which a file system is mounted, use the following command:
mount --move old_directory new_directory

Example 2.8. Moving an Existing NFS Mount Point

Imagine that you have an NFS storage that contains user directories. Assuming that this storage is already mounted in /mnt/userdirs/, as root, you can move this mount point to /home by using the following command:
~]# mount --move /mnt/userdirs /home
To verify the mount point has been moved, list the content of both directories:
~]# ls /mnt/userdirs
~]# ls /home
jill  joe