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Definition

mount

In computers, to mount is to make a group of files in a file system structure accessible to a user or user group. In some usages, it means to make a device physically accessible. For instance, in data storage, to mount is to place a data medium (such as a tape cartridge) on a drive in a position to operate. Macintosh calls it mounting when a user inserts a disc into the machine.

In a UNIX environment, the mount command attaches discs, or directories logically rather than physically. The Unix mount command makes a directory accessible by attaching a root directory of one file system to another directory, which makes all the file systems usable as if they were subdirectories of the file system they are attached to. Unix recognizes devices by their location, as compared to Windows, which recognizes them by their names (C: drive, for example). Unix organizes directories in a tree-like structure, in which directories are attached by mounting them on the branches of the tree. The file system location where the device is attached is called a mount point .

Mounts may be local or remote. A local mount connects disc drives on one machine so that they behave as one logical system. A remote mount uses Network File System ( NFS ) to connect to directories on other machines so that they can be used as if they were all part of the user's file system.

This was last updated in September 2005

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