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Top Tips
These tips are for those who need a break from staring at their Linux servers too long-- or maybe it's US here at Reallylinux that need the break! We are starting to see Tux the Penguin in a new way (see photo) -- okay enough non-sense. Here is a list of tips to help with Linux installation and operation.

This week's tip is on the use of Mount; unmounting when getting ready to shutdown, and mounting things like your CD-ROM so you can use it under Linux.

Restarting or Turning Off a Server (unmount)
When you install Linux with all of those fancy and very powerful programs and utilities like NFS, Apache, etc., you're really starting a very complex and powerful server.

Complete with security, file handling, web serving, and even remote dialup capabilities, your Linux box is equivalent to the computers NASA used to launch the space shuttle in the '80s!

That's POWER! But, with power comes the need for responsible use. Before you turn off the server, to avoid file system concerns, you may want to use the following steps:

  • open an xterm session
  • type the command: umount -a
  • the system will unmount all appropriate disks and give a message
  • type the command: shutdown now
  • the system should tell you it is switching to single user mode
  • once in single user mode you can turn the server power off

If you run into a snag, it may be that a device is busy and can not be unmounted. For instance, a CD-ROM drive may still be mounted. You need to make sure you're not using the drive (have an xterm open to cdrom etc.). You can also type mount at the prompt to see what is actually mounted.


How to Mount Drives like a CD-ROM (mount)
The Linux server you installed may or may not have auto installed the mounts needed for using your cd-rom, zip drive, CD-R, DVD, or possibly even your floppy drive. Below are some steps how to get a CD-ROM drive to mount. These same steps apply to most drives.

  • open an xterm session
  • find out what is already mounted by typing the command: mount |more
  • to mount your CD-ROM, type the command: mount /dev/cdrom
  • the system will mount the drive and give a response
  • now you can begin using the CD-ROM by changing directories to the drive (likely): cd /mnt/cdrom
  • type ls -alt to see if you are on the CD-ROM successfully

Run into a problem? If you get an error "No medium found" you need to put in the CD into the CD-ROM drive or it can not mount. Same goes for floppy or zip drives etc.
What if you get "No such file or directory"? It is likely a problem with how you are trying to assign the name or path to your drive. For instance, floppy is usually called
fd0 not floppy. If this doesn't help, then try viewing the content of your fstab file. Do this:

  • type: locate fstab
  • if this doesn't find the fstab file location, try cd /etc/fstab
  • view the content of fstab by typing: more fstab or using your favorite editor (don't edit it!)
  • this should tell you the exact name and path of your drive (ex: cd-rom /mnt/cdrom)

Next tip, we'll go over strange error messages your server displays when trying to start it, what they mean, and how to resolve them. See you later! I have to run, since Tux and I have a date. ;)


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