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How To Mount an External HDD on Ubuntu Linux 12.04

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In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on how to mount an external Hard Disk Drive (HDD) on Ubuntu Linux 12.04. This process is crucial if you want to access data stored on an external HDD.

Quick Answer

To mount an external HDD on Ubuntu Linux 12.04, open a terminal and use the sudo fdisk -l command to check the disk list and find the device name of your HDD. Then, create a mount point using sudo mkdir /media/External_Disk and finally, mount the HDD using sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sdb1 /media/External_Disk.


Before we begin, ensure that you have:

  • Ubuntu Linux 12.04 installed on your system.
  • An external HDD that you want to mount.
  • Sudo privileges to execute commands.

Step 1: Open a Terminal

To start, open a terminal on your Ubuntu system. You can do this by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on your keyboard.

Step 2: Check the Disk List

Once the terminal is open, run the following command:

sudo fdisk -l

This command lists out all the disks attached to your system. The sudo command is used to execute this command with root privileges. The fdisk command is a disk partition manipulation command, and the -l flag lists the partition tables for the specified devices.

Look for the entry that corresponds to your external HDD. For the purpose of this guide, we will assume that the device name of your external HDD is /dev/sdb1.

Step 3: Create a Mount Point

Next, create a directory where you will mount your external HDD. You can do this using the mkdir command as shown below:

sudo mkdir /media/External_Disk

In this command, sudo is used to execute the command with root privileges. The mkdir command is used to create a directory, and /media/External_Disk is the directory path where you want to mount your external HDD.

Step 4: Mount the External HDD

Now, you can mount your external HDD using the mount command as shown below:

sudo mount -t ntfs /dev/sdb1 /media/External_Disk

In this command:

  • sudo is used to execute the command with root privileges.
  • mount is the command used to mount file systems.
  • -t ntfs specifies the file system type, which is NTFS in this case.
  • /dev/sdb1 is the device name of your external HDD.
  • /media/External_Disk is the directory where you want to mount your external HDD.

After executing this command, your external HDD should be mounted and you should be able to access it through the file browser (Nautilus) by navigating to the /media/External_Disk directory.


If you encounter any errors during the mounting process, ensure that the file system is indeed NTFS and that you are using the correct device (/dev/sdb1). You can also try using the ntfs-3g driver instead of ntfs by replacing -t ntfs with -t ntfs-3g in the mount command.

If you receive an error message saying “only root can mount”, you can either run the mount command with sudo or add your user to the disk group by running the command sudo usermod -aG disk $USER and then logging out and back in for the changes to take effect.


Mounting an external HDD on Ubuntu Linux 12.04 is a straightforward process that involves identifying the device name of the HDD, creating a mount point, and using the mount command. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you should be able to mount your external HDD and access the data stored on it.

For more information on the commands used in this guide, you can check out the man pages for fdisk, mkdir, and mount.

What if I don’t see my external HDD listed in the disk list?

If your external HDD is not listed in the disk list, there could be a few possible reasons. First, make sure that the HDD is properly connected to your system and turned on. You can try disconnecting and reconnecting the HDD to see if it appears in the disk list. If it still doesn’t show up, there may be an issue with the USB port or the HDD itself. You can try connecting the HDD to a different USB port or try it on another system to see if it is recognized. If none of these solutions work, there may be a hardware issue with the HDD.

Can I mount a different file system other than NTFS?

Yes, you can mount different file systems on Ubuntu Linux 12.04. The process is similar, but the file system type specified in the mount command will be different. For example, if you have an external HDD with a FAT32 file system, you would use -t vfat instead of -t ntfs in the mount command. Similarly, for ext4 file systems, you would use -t ext4. Make sure you know the correct file system type of your external HDD before attempting to mount it.

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