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Posted by sibu on May 24, 2009

Difference between ‘mount’ and ‘mount -a’

There is a slight difference between the commands - “mount” and “mount -a”.

1. When you type “mount”, it will display the output of the file “/etc/mtab“.

For example,

# mount
/dev/sda5 on / type ext3 (rw,usrquota)
none on /proc type proc (rw)
none on /sys type sysfs (rw)
none on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
usbfs on /proc/bus/usb type usbfs (rw)
/dev/sda1 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
none on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw)
/dev/sda7 on /home type ext3 (rw,usrquota)
/dev/sda8 on /tmp type ext3 (rw,noexec,nosuid)
/dev/sda3 on /usr type ext3 (rw,usrquota)
/dev/sda2 on /var type ext3 (rw,usrquota)
none on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw)
sunrpc on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw)
/tmp on /var/tmp type none (rw,noexec,nosuid,bind)

The content of the file “/etc/mtab” is:

# cat /etc/mtab
/dev/sda5 / ext3 rw,usrquota 0 0
none /proc proc rw 0 0
none /sys sysfs rw 0 0
none /dev/pts devpts rw,gid=5,mode=620 0 0
usbfs /proc/bus/usb usbfs rw 0 0
/dev/sda1 /boot ext3 rw 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs rw 0 0
/dev/sda7 /home ext3 rw,usrquota 0 0
/dev/sda8 /tmp ext3 rw,noexec,nosuid 0 0
/dev/sda3 /usr ext3 rw,usrquota 0 0
/dev/sda2 /var ext3 rw,usrquota 0 0
none /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc binfmt_misc rw 0 0
sunrpc /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs rpc_pipefs rw 0 0
/tmp /var/tmp none rw,noexec,nosuid,bind 0 0

2. When you type the command “mount -a”, it will take the output of the file “/etc/fstab“.

# cat /etc/fstab

# This file is edited by fstab-sync - see ‘man fstab-sync’ for details
LABEL=/ / ext3 defaults,usrquota 1 1
LABEL=/boot /boot ext3 defaults 1 2
none /dev/pts devpts gid=5,mode=620 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs defaults 0 0
LABEL=/home /home ext3 defaults,usrquota 1 2
none /proc proc defaults 0 0
none /sys sysfs defaults 0 0
LABEL=/tmp /tmp ext3 defaults 1 2
LABEL=/usr /usr ext3 defaults,usrquota 1 2
LABEL=/var /var ext3 defaults,usrquota 1 2
LABEL=SWAP-sda6 swap swap pri=0,defaults 0 0

Note: The file “/etc/mtab” has the entries of temporary partitions such as USB drive. But, the file “/etc/fstab” has the entries of mounted partitions in the server.

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