Auto-mounting seems to be a bit of a messy thing in linux.

The options to automount ranges from autofs, udev, hal or even filemanagers.

What is the best-practice method to enable automounting on devices? Is there one shinning way that cuts out all the mess?

  • I usually use fstab (/etc/fstab), it seemed like the easiest thing to do (no extra dependencies). Although autofs seems like the way to go if you want to spare some resources.
    – Gert
    Nov 18, 2010 at 7:59
  • 1
    @Gert /etc/fstab is definitely not a good option for removable devices. You need root privileges to edit it, and your system may fail to boot normally if you mess it up. May 31, 2016 at 5:53

2 Answers 2


I would say the best practice is to go with what works best with your "desktop envorinment", as some automounting methods may not work well with, say KDE, since KDE wants to handle it.


If your system is modern enough to support System D and D-Bus, the standard way to handle automount is via udisks2 package. The link above targets a Debian package, but udisks2 is provided in other distributions as well.

Most desktop environments provide mount/eject features in their file managers by pulling this package as a dependency:

The Gnome Virtual File System provides mounting and trash functionality. GVFS uses udisks2 for mounting functionality and is the recommended solution for most file managers.

Of course, a desktop environment is not a requirement for udisks2 (it uses udev behind the scenes), so it can also be used on headless installations.

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