Windows and Ubuntu on One PC

Mount That Drive

After you create your FAT32 data partition, you'll be able to write to it in Windows XP immediately. When you boot into Ubuntu Linux (I use Ubuntu 6.06), the partition appears in the Computer window (Places, Computer), but any attempts you make to open it will fail. That's because Ubuntu hasn't yet mounted the drive (see FIGURE 1

Figure 1: Ubuntu sees your data, but it can't mount the partition for reading and writing until you take additional steps.
). To instruct it to do so, click the Show more details link in the error message window, and jot down the partition's name--usually it's '/dev/hdxy', where x is the hard disk (the first one installed on your system is 'a', the second is 'b', and so on) and y is the partition number. For example, if your FAT32 partition is the second one created on a PC containing a single hard disk, it would be '/dev/hda2'. SCSI and SATA drives appear in the format '/dev/sdxy'.

Next, click Applications, Accessories, Terminal to open a command-line window, and enter the command gksudo gedit /etc/pmount.allow to open the file pmount.allow for editing. Type the partition name on the last line, click the Save icon, and close the editor. Now return to the Computer window, right-click the FAT32 partition, and choose Mount Volume. Close all open Computer windows, and then reopen one; your partition will now be accessible. You can use the same method to mount NTFS partitions, but in read-only mode. For more detail on these steps, as well as other strategies for reading and writing to Windows partitions in Ubuntu Linux, see the Ubuntu community documentation.

Send your questions and tips to nettips@spanbauer.com. We pay $50 for published items. Scott Spanbauer is a contributing editor for PC World.

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