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A partition of my internal hard drive (not the root partition) I want to mount automatically on boot. I've been using /etc/fstab to mount my external backup drive automatically read-only, so this is the first drive I've tried to mount read-write with fstab. Here's the relevant line:

/dev/sda3   /media/^_^    vfat    rw,sync,user    0   0

Yes, my drive is a silly face. The ^ hasn't caused me any problems before, but maybe it's interfering with something here? Though I doubt it — the drive mounts fine except that it is read-only.

Any reason why this would happen? I've tried restarting multiple times.

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What's the output of mount -l? Have you tried testing using the options auto,user,uid=your_uid_here,umask=077,rw? –  Herman Torjussen Jan 7 '12 at 15:22
Ah it seems that for some strange reason, it's defaulting to noexec. I'll try restarting with exec explicitly mentioned. –  delwin Jan 7 '12 at 15:30
The option user automatically implies noexec, nosuid, nodev unless overridden. This seems not to be the problem though. A tip: to easily remount with new options: mount -o remount,rw /dev/foo /dir –  Herman Torjussen Jan 7 '12 at 15:34
Is there anything in dmesg about the partition? You might also want to look at fdisk -l /dev/sda3 to see if that reveals anything. –  Kevin M Jan 7 '12 at 17:47
What is your filesystem? Do you get any warnings or other messages when you manually remount it (e.g. by mount -a)? Note that mounting an inconsistent FAT fs mounts it read-only (see mount manpage). –  Adam Zalcman Jan 7 '12 at 20:45

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