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How To Access Other Drives on Ubuntu Without Booting to Them

Ubuntu 7

In this article, we will guide you through the process of accessing other drives on your Ubuntu system without booting into them. This can be useful in various scenarios, such as when you need to recover files from another drive or when you want to explore the contents of a drive without affecting its system.

Quick Answer

To access other drives on Ubuntu without booting into them, you can use the mount command to mount the desired partitions to specific mount points. By creating mount points, you can explore the contents of the drives without affecting their systems. Make sure to set the appropriate permissions to access the mounted drives with your regular user account.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following:

  • A PC with Ubuntu installed.
  • Sufficient permissions to execute sudo commands.

Step 1: Identifying the Drives

Firstly, we need to identify the drives that you want to access. Open a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T and run the following command:

sudo lsblk -o model,name,size,fstype,label,mountpoint

This command lists all the storage devices connected to your system along with their details. lsblk stands for list block devices, and the -o option is used to specify the output format. Here, we are asking for the model, name, size, file system type, label, and mountpoint of each device.

Step 2: Creating Mount Points

Once you’ve identified the drives, the next step is to create mount points for each drive. A mount point is simply a directory where the drive will be mounted, making its contents accessible.

To create a mount point, use the mkdir command followed by the -p option, which creates the necessary parent directories. For example:

sudo mkdir -p /mnt/sdb-seagate
sudo mkdir -p /mnt/sdc-hitachi

Replace sdb-seagate and sdc-hitachi with the names of your drives.

Step 3: Mounting the Drives

Now that we have the mount points ready, we can mount the drives. The mount command is used for this purpose. Here’s how to do it:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb-seagate
sudo mount /dev/sdc5 /mnt/sdc-hitachi

In these commands, /dev/sdb1 and /dev/sdc5 are the partitions we want to mount, and /mnt/sdb-seagate and /mnt/sdc-hitachi are the mount points we created earlier.

Step 4: Setting Permissions

By default, the partitions might be mounted with ownership for the superuser (root). If you want to access them with your regular user account, you can add mount options. For example:

sudo mount -o rw,users,umask=022 /dev/sdb1 /mnt/sdb-seagate

In this command, -o is used to specify options. rw stands for read-write, allowing you to both read and write files. users allows any user to unmount the filesystem. umask=022 sets the permissions so that files are readable and writable by the owner, and readable by others.

Step 5: Verifying the Mount

To verify if the partitions are successfully mounted, run the lsblk command again:

sudo lsblk -o model,name,size,fstype,label,mountpoint

You should now see the mount points next to the corresponding drives. If you do, congratulations! You’ve successfully accessed other drives on Ubuntu without booting into them.


Accessing other drives on Ubuntu without booting into them is a straightforward process that involves identifying the drives, creating mount points, mounting the drives, and setting the appropriate permissions. We hope this guide has been helpful in explaining this process. If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section below.

Can I access drives from other operating systems using this method?

Yes, you can access drives from other operating systems as long as they are compatible with Ubuntu’s file systems. However, please note that accessing drives from other operating systems may require additional steps and considerations.

How do I unmount the drives after I’m done accessing them?

To unmount the drives, you can use the umount command followed by the mount point. For example, to unmount /mnt/sdb-seagate, you can run sudo umount /mnt/sdb-seagate.

Can I access drives that are encrypted?

Yes, you can access encrypted drives, but you will need to provide the appropriate credentials or encryption passphrase to unlock the drive before mounting it. The exact steps may vary depending on the encryption method used.

Can I access drives that are not recognized by Ubuntu?

If a drive is not recognized by Ubuntu, it may indicate an issue with the drive or its compatibility. In such cases, you may need to troubleshoot the drive or seek additional support to make it accessible.

Can I access drives that are in a different file system format?

Ubuntu supports various file systems, so you can access drives with different file system formats. However, you may need to install additional packages or drivers to enable support for specific file systems.

Can I access network drives using this method?

No, this method is specifically for accessing local drives connected to your Ubuntu system. To access network drives, you would typically use network protocols such as SMB or NFS and mount them using appropriate network file system utilities.

Will accessing other drives affect their existing data?

No, accessing other drives using this method will not affect the existing data on those drives. However, it is important to exercise caution while working with the drives to avoid accidental modifications or deletions.

Can I access drives that are physically disconnected from the system?

No, this method requires the drives to be connected to your Ubuntu system. If a drive is physically disconnected, you would need to connect it before being able to access it using this method.

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