I have an internal IDE drive that I'm trying to mount. Clicking "Mount Volume" in the disc utility gives me this:

Error mounting volume An error occurred while performing an operation on "Beowulf" (Partition 1 of ATA MAXTOR 6Y200P0): The operation failed

It then gives these details:

Error mounting: mount exited with exit code 1: helper failed with: mount: according to mtab, /dev/sdb1 is already mounted on / mount failed

Here is the contents of my mtab:

/dev/sdb1 / ext4 rw,errors=remount-ro,commit=0 0 0
proc /proc proc rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
none /sys sysfs rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
fusectl /sys/fs/fuse/connections fusectl rw 0 0
none /sys/kernel/debug debugfs rw 0 0
none /sys/kernel/security securityfs rw 0 0
none /dev devtmpfs rw,mode=0755 0 0
none /dev/pts devpts rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=0620 0 0
none /dev/shm tmpfs rw,nosuid,nodev 0 0
none /var/run tmpfs rw,nosuid,mode=0755 0 0
none /var/lock tmpfs rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
binfmt_misc /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc binfmt_misc rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
gvfs-fuse-daemon /home/brenton/.gvfs fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon rw,nosuid,nodev,user=brenton 0 0

Here is the contents of fstab:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# Use 'blkid -o value -s UUID' to print the universally unique identifier
# for a device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name
# devices that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
/dev/sda1       /               ext4    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
UUID=87486d4a-aad3-4314-8d33-2ed4299985fa none            swap    sw              0       0

2 Answers 2


Question was answered in this thread, directions were given to change drive to be UUID identified in a way that I understood.


It would help to know what the mtab looked like before the fault, I prefer the output from the mount cmd. That mtab just isn't right, your defined root is sda1 and it isn't even listed, the disk your trying to mount already claims to be mounted as /.

You may have stumbled over a bug. Reset and try mounting the disk from the console.

mount /dev/sdb1 /mnt

If that looks sane, then unmount it and let the helper try to mount it for you again.

  • sorry, i'm not sure how to "reset".
    – brenton
    Apr 23, 2011 at 17:39

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