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I have an NTFS partition (containing a Windows installation from which I dual boot) that I would like to permanently mount from my Linux installation. Problem is, I can't figure out what the best/right/correct mount point for the NTFS partition is. Obviously, it shouldn't be mounted as /home, /usr, etc. (any of the standard mount points for filesystems) because it's not part of the Linux system. I do want it to be permanently mounted, though; and this raises the question, where do I mount it? Here are the mount point possibilities I've come up with:

/media/windows

This one makes a lot of sense because it would be right alongside auto-mounted devices, but according to the filesystem standard, /media/ is really for removable media, so it doesn't seem quite right to put my permanently mounted, internal partition next to auto-mounted, removable ones. I'm leaning toward this option the most, but only because it is less incongruent than the others.

/mnt/windows

This one also seems pretty logical, but again, the standard (and other things I've read) indicate that subdirectory mountpoints are generally discouraged here. Plus, I do actually mount filesystems temporarily in /mnt/ on occasion (as the standard intended it), so this one looks like it would get in the way of regular system use.

/windows

I really don't like the idea of adding another top-level directory to my filesystem, if I can avoid it. It doesn't feel right. An upside to this one, though, is that it is very easily accessible and doesn't get in the way of anything else (i.e. automounting partitions in /media/ or temporary mounts in /mnt/).

/home/[my username]/filesystems/windows

I don't like this idea because the partition is decidedly system-specific, not user-specific, so shoving it in a home directory seems not right.


Which of these options is the "right" one—or is there an alternative I didn't list here?

For clarity, note that I am running Linux (Arch Linux in particular), so any recommendations should probably be based on Linux's idea of filesystem organization rather than BSD's, for example.

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6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

First and foremost, this is going to depend solely on your architecture, and customs.

I for instance mount things like this under /mnt. I know people that create top level directories, and people who put this stuff in /home. It all depends on what you're comfortable with. There is no distinct standard on this anymore, the architecture of the system has changed, and you have varying views now, on things that used to be 'gospel'. Things like /usr/local or /opt/share, rpm or source...you get the drift.

Secondly, if you re-read through your link at pathname.com, you'll notice the paragraph under /media that states

Rationale

Historically there have been a number of other different places used to mount removeable media such as /cdrom, /mnt or /mnt/cdrom. Placing the mount points for all removeable media directly in the root directory would potentially result in a large number of extra directories in /. Although the use of subdirectories in /mnt as a mount point has recently been common, it conflicts with a much older tradition of using /mnt directly as a temporary mount point.

So personally, I advocate /mnt/windows or some iteration of that. It keeps the top level dir free, and is simple and intuitive. When I'm looking through or auditing a system, that's where I look for mounts right off the bat.

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Thanks for the input. Based on what you're telling me, I'm now leaning towards using /mnt/windows. In the future, perhaps I can use /mnt/tmp or something like that for temporary mounts. –  jgottula Apr 19 '11 at 6:13
    
Thats what I would do, I personally like a clean top level directory. Especially since I've gotten used to hitting tab at certain points for certain directories :-) –  rfelsburg Apr 19 '11 at 6:51
    
Concur and upvoted. Nicely explained and well put. –  Shadur Apr 19 '11 at 7:38

I don't think there is a problem with creating a new toplevel directory for permanent mounts. That's done pretty frequently. I use /ntfs for this same purpose.

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One potential issue with a top-level mount would be a program that stats all the files in a directory. ls -l / or even a colorized ls as is often turned on will have to call stat() on all files under root and if the NFS server is hanging, it can cause ls to hang as well. A simple ls without color does not invoke stat(). This is the reason I most often put somewhere under /mnt. I will still sometimes mount NFS under / such as when home directories are available over NFS.

I also would not use /media for any static mounts. It's a part of HAL and is used for dynamically mounting devices such as when a USB flash drive is inserted and all directories under /media are managed by HAL/udev.

Ultimately, the final destination comes down to policy. If the server is reasonably reliable, there's nothing wrong with putting it under / or creating a new tree such as /server1/music and /server1/video for mounts. I tend to like the idea of keeping NFS mounts under /mnt with exceptions only for mounts like /home, but that's my policy.

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Very good points about NFS—though I was referring to NTFS! Much appreciated anyway, I'll keep these things in mind. –  jgottula Apr 19 '11 at 6:12
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@jgottula NTFS is no problem of course as it's local. I though a NFS windows mount was odd. I still might put it under /mnt personally since it's not a part of the standard Linux Filesystem like /home or /usr, but I just like a clean / filesystem. –  penguin359 Apr 19 '11 at 6:17

I probably do this the most incorrectly. I put it at /media/windows. Putting windows partitions at this mount point has worked for me in the past without a hitch.

I've also done a top-level /windows in the past and this has also been fine, except I generally look for partitions first at /media out of habit.

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I would suggest using /srv, like in /srv/windows.

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Not sure why this got downvoted, putting it in /srv is consistent with the FHS –  BCoates Oct 4 '12 at 17:58
    
@BCoates: It would only be consistent with FHS if all of the mount's contents were made available over the network. –  cmc Mar 12 '13 at 19:34
    
@cmc Please tell me where in the FHS it says that things in /srv has to be made available over the network. As far as I can tell, there is no such requirement in FHS, and /srv is therefore fine. –  Teddy Apr 28 '13 at 18:55
    
@Teddy: Sure. "/srv contains site-specific data which is served by this system." –  cmc Apr 29 '13 at 14:04

I usually have mine as /c, /d etc mimicking the drive letters Windows uses for them. I tend to have several hard disks and partitions, and this helps me keep track of them.

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