File system mounting

In this chapter, we’ll learn how to mount file systems. If you type mount in the shell, it will tell you about various file systems, and how are they mounted (as a directory) in the system.

$ mount
sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel)
proc on /proc type proc (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
devtmpfs on /dev type devtmpfs (rw,nosuid,seclabel,size=2012852k,nr_inodes=503213,mode=755)
securityfs on /sys/kernel/security type securityfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime)
tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel)
devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,nosuid,noexec,relatime,seclabel,gid=5,mode=620,ptmxmode=000)
tmpfs on /run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,seclabel,mode=755)
tmpfs on /sys/fs/cgroup type tmpfs (ro,nosuid,nodev,noexec,seclabel,mode=755)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,xattr,release_agent=/usr/lib/systemd/systemd-cgroups-agent,name=systemd)
pstore on /sys/fs/pstore type pstore (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,seclabel)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/devices type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,devices)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/perf_event type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,perf_event)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/freezer type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,freezer)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/blkio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,blkio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpu,cpuacct type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpu,cpuacct)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/net_cls,net_prio type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,net_cls,net_prio)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/pids type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,pids)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/memory type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,memory)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/cpuset type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,cpuset)
cgroup on /sys/fs/cgroup/hugetlb type cgroup (rw,nosuid,nodev,noexec,relatime,hugetlb)
configfs on /sys/kernel/config type configfs (rw,relatime)
/dev/vda1 on / type ext4 (rw,relatime,seclabel,data=ordered)
selinuxfs on /sys/fs/selinux type selinuxfs (rw,relatime)
systemd-1 on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type autofs (rw,relatime,fd=23,pgrp=1,timeout=0,minproto=5,maxproto=5,direct,pipe_ino=11175)
mqueue on /dev/mqueue type mqueue (rw,relatime,seclabel)
debugfs on /sys/kernel/debug type debugfs (rw,relatime,seclabel)
hugetlbfs on /dev/hugepages type hugetlbfs (rw,relatime,seclabel)
tmpfs on /run/user/1000 type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev,relatime,seclabel,size=404680k,mode=700,uid=1000,gid=1000)

If you look carefully at the output above, you’ll find that /dev/vda1 is mounted as root / in the system. This is actually the primary hard drive in this system. The device can be different based on the system.

  • /dev/vd* For virtual machines
  • /dev/sd* For physical machines

The number at the end of the device name is the partition number.

Connecting USB drives to your system

If you connect vfat partitioned USB drives (the normal pendrives), they will auto mount under the /run/media/username/ directory. But, for NTFS based drives, you will have to install the driver to mount those partitions.

$ sudo dnf install ntfs-3g -y

Mounting a device

We can use the mount command to mount a file system on an existing directory. The syntax to do that is, mount device /path/to/mount/at.

$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt

In the example above, we mounted /dev/sdb1 on the /mnt directory.


We use the umount command on a given directory to unmount the file system.

Do not remove any drive from the system before unmounting them. Just to be on the safe side, you can execute the sync command, which will write any existing cache to the drives. That will make sure that your chances of losing data is marginal.

Encrypting drives with LUKS (for only Linux)

Follow this link to learn about how to encrypt your drives with LUKS. This is a simple way to make sure that even if you loose your USB drive, the data inside can still be safe (relatively).

Encrypting drives for any OS using Veracrypt

VeraCrypt is an open source volume management tool compatible with macOS, Windows, and Linux systems.

Here is an excellent guide from Freedom of the Press Foundation on how to use it.