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

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

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.

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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. 

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.

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

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

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

The GNOME Disk drive menu.

Access the drive mount options here.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the resulting window, make sure the 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

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, so 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 within.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

When you reboot the machine, it will be automatically mounted in the same folder. And that’s all there is to configuring an automounted drive on the GNOME desktop.

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