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How to automount a drive in Linux the GUI way with GNOME

Mounting a drive in Linux doesn't require using the command line. Find out how easy it is on the GNOME desktop.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Reviewed by Min Shin

Although setting up an automount from the command line is not all that challenging, it's not nearly as easy as doing so from a GUI.

Tim Kitchen/Getty Images

When you attach an external drive to your computer, you expect it to be immediately available and, if necessary, always ready to store files. The same thing holds true for internal secondary and tertiary drives. For that to happen in Linux, you must configure those drives to automount.

Automounting is an important step in Linux because it makes it so that when you reboot your machine, those attached drives are automatically mounted. That way you don't have to worry about doing it manually. 

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This is important because you might have applications (such as backups) that save files to those drives. Should an application attempt to write to a drive that's not mounted, it will fail. In addition, if you use secondary (or tertiary) drives for file storage, you'll want to have them automatically mounted for convenience.

Although setting up an automount from the command line is not all that challenging, it's not nearly as easy as doing so from a GUI. And that's exactly what I'm going to show you. Once you've taken care of this, your secondary drives (be they internal or external) will automatically mount to the location you define. 

Also: Linux is not just for developers and command line pros

Let's get to the steps.

How to automount a drive on the GNOME desktop

What you'll need: The only things you'll need are a running instance of Linux with the GNOME desktop environment and a secondary drive attached. That's it.

1. Create a folder

The first thing to do is create a new folder to serve as the mount point. Open the GNOME file manager and navigate to the folder you want to house the mount point (you can even place this in your home directory if you like). 

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Right-click a blank spot and select New Folder. When prompted, give the folder a name and click Create.

The GNOME Files right-click menu.

Creating a new folder in the GNOME Files app.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Attach the drive

Next, attach the drive to the desktop machine. If you've already attached the drive, you're ready for the next step.

3. Open Disks

Open the Applications Overview and type disks. Once the Disks icon appears, click to open GNOME Disks.

4. Access the mount options for the drive

Select the drive to be mounted in the left pane and then click the right-pointing arrow (to the right of the black square). 

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Then, select Edit Mount Options.

The GNOME Disk drive menu.

Access the drive mount options here.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Configure the mount options

In the resulting window, make sure User Session Defaults is in the Off position, and configure the drive as such:

  • Mount Options: Enable Mount at System Startup and (optionally) you can enable Show in User Interface. If there are no entries in the final text field of Mount Options, it should read nosuid,nodev,nofail,x-gvfs-show.
  • Mount Point: This is the folder you just created. For example, if you created FLASH in your home directory, that would be /home/USER/FLASH (Where USER is your username).

When you're finished, click OK. You'll be prompted for your user password. 

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Upon successfully typing the password, the mount options will be saved.

The GNOME Disks Mount Options window.

Configuring the automounting of an external drive.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

6. Take ownership

The final step is to take ownership of the drive (so you save and edit files on the drive). To do that, go back to the main Disks window and make sure the new drive is selected. Click the right-pointing arrow in the box and then click Take Ownership. You'll be prompted for your user password again. When you successfully type the password, you then have ownership of the drive, which means you now have both read and write access.

The GNOME Disks mount menu with Take Ownership selected.

You must take ownership of the drive; otherwise, you can't write files or edit existing files.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When you reboot the machine, it will be automatically mounted in the same folder. And that's all it takes to configure an automounted drive on the GNOME desktop.

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