Basic Volume Management and Automounting Removable Media

Bug #1211118 reported by 0xnate
This bug affects 17 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
elementary OS

Bug Description

With the current default settings, connected removable media (usb hdd's, thumb drives, cards) do not mount unless you open pantheon-files and click on them. I'm not sure if this is intended or not, but being as nearly all other ubuntu-based distros automount by default and given that in dconf, org>gnome>desktop>media-handling is set to automount, I think this is a bug.

As a workaround, I've added my USB HDD to fstab, but this is really only viable since it is connected to my machine 99% of the time. This isn't a solution for thumb drives or cards that are removed frequently. I haven't found a workaround for them yet.

Use case/example: Music/Noise library is set to a folder on a thumb drive. At boot/reboot, if you launch Music without opening Files and mounting said drives, Music throws a fit.

*This may not be an issue/bug in Files, I just wasn't sure where else to put this.

0xnate (0xnate)
description: updated
affects: pantheon-files → elementaryos
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0xnate (0xnate) wrote :

Upon a little further experimentation, this can be resolved by installing pmount, usbmount, and ntfs-config. Still, basic volume management is a key part of any modern file browser. Nautilus/gnome has it, as does nemo, thunar, pcmanfm, dolphin, etc. I understand pantheon-files is meant to be light, but there is a line between being lightweight and stripping very basic file system functionality.

summary: - Volume Management - Automounting Removable Media
+ Basic Volume Management and Automounting Removable Media
Revision history for this message
Cody Garver (codygarver) wrote :

This looks like a few bugs packed into one.

pmount - not sure what having this installed does, can you explain?

usbmount - Your issue here is that usb drives are not automatically mounted. This might've been addressed before and decided we don't want it because it's potentially a security issue and you can also mess up your drive if you unplug it without manually unmounting it. Specifically with usbmount, I see that it requires root password to unmount the drive, which is no good.

ntfs-config - I can't tell exactly what this does. In what common situations do users need this functionality? It looks like an advanced tool. Where do the file managers you listed expose this functionality in their interface?

Revision history for this message
0xnate (0xnate) wrote :

Scratch what I said about pmount, usbmount, and ntfs-config. Pmount is a dependency of usbmount, and ntfs-config sort of solved an issue of mine, but was not reliable. In short, they end up being buggy solutions at best and do not address the main issue. For now, I've just completely ditched pantheon-files and switched to thunar (with thunar-volman.)

Could you cite more specifically the potential security issues with auto-mounting drives by default? From what you said, this seems like a conscious decision, which certainly puts pantheon-files on an island in terms of linux file managers (and even for modern computer operating systems in general), but not in a good way. If for whatever reason pantheon-files decides to go completely against the grain (and have basic volume management off be default) it really needs to be an option. Otherwise, in addition to things like , it becomes a not very useful file manager at all.

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Nikos (nicolas-jovanovic) wrote :


Indeed it could be an issue with some OS like Windows or maybe Mac, but why in ElementaryOS, as when you plugged your usb key it's for accessing it and moreover there is no autorun software.

You can't use cronopete until you set cronopete to use local disk (and only if it's mounted) ?

Best regards.


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JaSauders (jasauders) wrote :

Hello friends. I recently ran into this as well. It didn't bother me much until the arrival of a really nice camera, so putting the SD card in my laptop will be a frequent task. I can work around it by mounting it in pantheon-files and then opening Shotwell, sure, but it seems to be a little obnoxious given the degree of simplicity that elementary strives for, as I (to be blunt) wouldn't call this simple. In Gnome, it's so welcoming to pop in the SD card and it asks immediately if I want to open Shotwell. While having extra steps can be argued isn't a big deal, this functionality is one of those things that is extremely basic but equally important. I'd absolutely love to have Gnome/Ubuntu functionality where it asked me what I want to do. If there is anything I can do to help test, or perhaps if a workaround exists to bring in that functionality, I'd love to hear it. Thanks for all of your work.

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Denis Prost (denis-prost) wrote :

Asking if one wants to mount the inserted device, like in Gnome, seems to be a good compromise between usability and security.
Would be great if it could be implemented in ElementaryOS.
Thanks !

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Daniel Fore (danrabbit) wrote :

I'm definitely -1 to implementing a popup. That's an incredibly annoying Windows XP feature I don't want to see.

But there should also be no need to open Files. It's just a file browser, it's not a background process that does all kinds of crazy stuff like Nautilus. You should be able to view external media from other apps (like Music and Photos) in the same way.

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Gustavo L (gustavo-lapido) wrote :

I believe this also affects DVD media.

I recently installed Freya on one of my client's notebook, which was running Windows 7 and all associated issues (lots of viruses, crapware, etc).

My client seems to be adapting to it. Yesterday, she asked me if it was possible that when she inserts a DVD it automatically starts playing (or, at least, gives her the choice to decide).

She's definitely not a computer friend, so, to her, navigating on such obscure DVD naming conventions (VIDEO_TS, .IFO files, .VOB files, and know which one to start with) is definitely not an option to her.

Since Elementary OS intends to reach people like my customer, I think that this is a must have.

Revision history for this message
Timo Reimerdes (timorei) wrote :

"But there should also be no need to open Files." As correct as this might be, it's too close to "there should be no need to correct errors". Yes. True. But there is. And one of the instances would be "backup media" and "importing old stuff".

And I've not found any way to access the pdf on that usb stick without going into console heaven. ;)
And that should be even less of a need than using the file manager, right?

Those issues are totally "enduser" and not at all the manifestation for me.

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