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Linux Mint – Mounting and unmounting volumes

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As mentioned earlier, removable media is typically handled automatically in Linux Mint. When you insert a device, it is detected and mounted. In most cases, the content of the removable media will appear on your screen, and an icon will be created for it on your desktop. When you finish using the device, it is important to unmount it before removing it. When using a desktop environment such as Cinnamon, this is easy. Simply click on the Eject icon next to the device you would like to remove. The following screenshot shows the Unmount icon next to a flash drive named MULTIBOOT in Nemo:

However, you may not always have a GUI available. If you plan to work with shell commands, it’s important to understand how to mount and unmount filesystems as well.

If, for some reason, your desktop environment isn’t functioning or you would like to operate in the Linux shell, you would need to mount a flash drive manually to use it. In order to mount a flash drive manually, we first need a folder to which the flash drive needs to be attached. This folder should be in our filesystem. In the /media folder, you should notice a folder under your name. For example, try the following command:


ls /media

Inside the folder, you should see another folder named after your username. Generally speaking, this is the place that is recommended to mount removable media. You aren’t required to mount your removable media under this folder, but it is a good practice. In order to mount your flash drive manually, first create a folder for it. You can name the folder as you wish in the following manner:


mkdir /media/myusername/myflashdrive

Next, let’s mount the flash drive using the following command line:


sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /media/username/myflashdrive

From this point onwards, the contents of your flash drive will appear underneath the folder you created. When you finish using your flash drive and wish to remove it, execute the following command:


sudo umount /dev/sdc1

As you can see, there are several steps involved in mounting removable media in Linux. For casual use on a system with a desktop environment installed on it, using the automatic method is preferable due to its ease of use. However, if you find yourself using a Linux system without a GUI or you are unable to start your desktop environment due to a software issue, mounting file systems manually is a good skill to learn.

Note

There are additional options, such as specifying the file system and setting permissions, for the mount command. For the most part, the mount command will automatically detect the filesystem type. If you wish to take a look at the advanced parameters of the mount command, check its man page.

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