I want to change the mount point of /tmp. However there are several processes keeping it busy. Is there a way to umount without killing those processes? e.g. suspending them etc.

  • imho, you can't do this without disrupting processes which might having temporary data in the previous location that might be vital to their survival.
    – sjsam
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:32
  • No, unless you are really really good with gdb and even then yeah just kill the processes and remount, or reboot the box with the new mount.
    – thrig
    Sep 1, 2016 at 16:41
  • Which kernel (Linux, *BSD, etc.)?
    – derobert
    Sep 1, 2016 at 17:09
  • it's CentOS 7 @derobert
    – roymaztang
    Sep 1, 2016 at 17:18

1 Answer 1


You can do a lazy un-mount (umount -l), which will detach the mount from /tmp. You can then mount whatever other filesystem you'd like on /tmp. Note that the old /tmp will still be mounted, just not visible (except to those few processes still using it). It'll eventually be unmounted when those processes stop using it. So, e.g., it'd be a bad idea to mkfs the underlying storage.

Another alternative (if it works, depends on which of your mounts have "shared" propagation) is mount --move to move the mount to a different directory (e.g., mkdir /oldtmp; mount --move /tmp /oldtmp;); then you can again mount a new filesystem on /tmp.

  • Unfortunately, the mount seems to have shared propagation. I received the error bad option. Note that moving a mount residing under a shared mount is unsupported when I tried mount --move. What's the cause of this error? Is it because it's shared by NFS?
    – roymaztang
    Sep 1, 2016 at 19:24
  • 1
    @roymaztang shared refers to between mount namespaces, which is a container feature. Nothing to do with NFS. You should still be able to lazy unmount it.
    – derobert
    Sep 1, 2016 at 19:40

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