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Basic Mounting Differences between Windows and Linux

Novell Cool Solutions: Trench
By Jason Jones

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Posted: 9 Mar 2005
 

One of the things that confused me most when I switched to Linux was the way Linux displays the mounted hard drives.

With Windows, at the console prompt, you see something like this:

C:\windows\system
When I saw the Linux hard drive structure for the first time, I was a bit baffled. I couldn't find where the system told me what drive I was dealing with. All I saw was a bunch of directories. The hard drive wasn't anywhere in the path. All I saw were things like:
/usr/local/bin
Linux was quite a bit different. At home, I have a setup with 3 hard drives and in Windows, I was used to seeing each hard drive in the command prompt:
C:\whatever
D:\whatever
E:\whatever
It took me a while to figure out that Linux doesn't show the actual hard drive, at all, ever. In Linux, there is no "C:" or "D:" There are instead what are called "mount points".

When you begin the installation of your favoriate distro, you'll notice the hard drive partition screen most likely has a section called "Mount Points". This is basically asking you how you want your hard drive to be displayed in the prompt.

For example: If I have 3 hard drives and I set the mount points to:
/
/usr
/mnt/hd2/music
My hard drives would, in essence become those directories. Instead of switching to the 3rd hard drive by typing in something like:
E:\
I would simply change to the respective directory by typing in:
cd /mnt/hd2/music
and as soon as I arrived at the directory, I could rest assured I was seeing the contents of my third hard drive.

Once you get the hang of it, it's really quite nice.


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