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I've got a damaged Mac filesystem, and in single-user mode the command mount -uw / fails (error is something like SATA warning: Enable auto-activate failed). However, I don't need the whole filesystem to be writable, as I am just trying to copy files from my home directory to a USB. Is there a way to mount the USB to /Volumes in a read-only filesystem?

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You can't create a directory on a read-only filesystem. But you can mount a filesystem on any existing directory. The fact that the mount is read-only doesn't affect that, and the directory doesn't need to be empty or to have particular permissions or anything.

You can mount a filesystem on /Volumes itself if you're only going to mount one.

  • Thanks! This solves my problem but I'm just curious: if I ever have another USB drive, is there a way to mount it as well? – danielmhanover Dec 31 '14 at 0:42
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    Create a directory on your USB drive (which is writable) and mount the next one there. – Reilly Grant Dec 31 '14 at 0:49

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