Ubuntu – What does it mean to mount something


I hear and read the term all the time, but what does it mean?

I just accidentally mounted a shared folder hosted on a remote computer. The only difference I see is the presence of a desktop shortcut. I was able to access the folder before I mounted it with no problems.

So What does it mean to mount something?

Best Answer

When you 'mount' something you are placing access to the file system contained within onto your root file system structure. Effectively giving the files a location. This is similar to the C:/D: drive labels in windows, but more flexible.

Mounting /dev/sdb1 to /mnt/disk1 places all the files and folders contained within the device standard disk B partition 1 into the directory /mnt/disk1 where you can access them.

Modern systems have ways to auto-mount drives just as windows auto-mounts drives to drive letters, but the location mounting system in Unix is much more flexible. And unmounting is obviously the removal of the access to those files/folders from that location. You can find out what file systems are mounted by running the command:


Parts of ubuntu involved: mount, umount, fstab (for fixed mounts), udev, gvfs (for automatic mounting)