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How To Fix “mount: only root can do that” Error When Mounting a Partition in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 19

In the world of Ubuntu, one of the most common errors you may encounter is “mount: only root can do that” when attempting to mount a partition. This error typically arises because the mount operation requires root or administrative privileges. In this article, we will delve into the different methods you can use to resolve this issue.

Quick Answer

To fix the "mount: only root can do that" error when mounting a partition in Ubuntu, you can use the sudo command to execute the mount command with root privileges. Alternatively, you can use the udisksctl or udisks command to mount the partition as a non-administrative user. It’s important to ensure that Windows partitions are not hibernated before attempting to mount them to avoid data loss.

Understanding the Error

Before we dive into the solutions, it’s important to understand what the error message means. In Linux, certain operations are restricted to the root user, or users with administrative privileges, for security reasons. The mount operation is one of them. When you see the error “mount: only root can do that”, it means that you’re trying to mount a partition without the necessary privileges.

Solution 1: Using the sudo command

The simplest way to bypass this error is by using the sudo command. By prefixing your command with sudo, you’re telling the system to execute the command with root privileges.

Here’s an example:

sudo mount -t ntfs-3g -o remove_hiberfile /dev/sda2 /media/2A36EE3236EDFEA7

In this command, -t ntfs-3g specifies the type of the filesystem. ntfs-3g is a read-write NTFS driver, which allows Linux to read from and write to NTFS partitions. The -o remove_hiberfile option tells the system to remove the hibernation file, which is necessary if you’re mounting a Windows partition that was hibernated.

The /dev/sda2 is the device file representing your partition. /media/2A36EE3236EDFEA7 is the directory where you want to mount the partition.

After entering this command, you’ll be prompted to enter your password. Once you do, the command will be executed with root privileges.

Solution 2: Using udisksctl command

If you want to mount the partition without using sudo, you can use the udisksctl command. This command allows you to mount a device as a non-administrative user.

Here’s how you can use it:

udisksctl mount -b /dev/<device>

Replace <device> with the device identifier of your partition (e.g., /dev/sda2). This will mount the partition to /media/<device>.

Solution 3: Using udisks command

Another option is to use the udisks command instead of udisksctl. This command also allows you to mount partitions as a non-administrative user.

Here’s how you can use it:

udisks --mount /dev/<sdxX>

Replace <sdxX> with the device identifier of your partition. This will mount the partition to /media/<drive_identifier>.

A Note on Mounting Windows Partitions

When mounting Windows partitions, it’s important to ensure that they are not hibernated. Mounting a hibernated Windows partition can result in data loss. To avoid this, make sure to fully shut down Windows before attempting to mount its partition in Ubuntu.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the “mount: only root can do that” error in Ubuntu can be resolved by either using sudo before the mount command, using udisksctl or udisks to mount the partition as a non-administrative user, or ensuring that the Windows partition is not hibernated before mounting. With these solutions at your disposal, you should be able to mount any partition without encountering this error.

What does the error message “mount: only root can do that” mean?

The error message "mount: only root can do that" means that you are trying to mount a partition without the necessary root or administrative privileges. Certain operations, like mounting, require root access for security reasons.

How can I fix the “mount: only root can do that” error in Ubuntu?

There are a few solutions to fix the "mount: only root can do that" error in Ubuntu. One way is to use the sudo command before the mount command to execute it with root privileges. Another option is to use the udisksctl or udisks command to mount the partition as a non-administrative user. It is also important to ensure that Windows partitions are not hibernated before attempting to mount them in Ubuntu.

What is the purpose of the `-t ntfs-3g` option in the `sudo mount` command?

The -t ntfs-3g option in the sudo mount command specifies the type of the filesystem. In this case, ntfs-3g is a read-write NTFS driver that allows Linux to read from and write to NTFS partitions. It is necessary to specify the filesystem type when mounting a partition.

How do I find the device identifier of a partition in Ubuntu?

You can find the device identifier of a partition in Ubuntu by using the lsblk command. This command lists all block devices, including partitions, and their corresponding identifiers. The device identifier typically starts with /dev/sd followed by a letter and a number.

What precautions should I take when mounting Windows partitions in Ubuntu?

When mounting Windows partitions in Ubuntu, it is important to ensure that they are not hibernated. Mounting a hibernated Windows partition can result in data loss. Before attempting to mount a Windows partition, make sure to fully shut down Windows instead of hibernating it.

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