I've got an Ubuntu install on a USB with a separate NTFS partition, can I expect the same UUID for the partition if I removed and reattached the USB to a computer?

1 Answer 1


Usually the UUID of an external drive does not change. However under certain circumstances (e.g. by switching to another USB port) the UUID may become different.

Therefore we can mount drives using their label. Because we define the label by ourselves it will not change. However we need to take care to make unique labels for our drives.

Mounting by labels can also be done in the Fstab by adding a line similar to this:

LABEL="ExternalExt3"   /media/usb-ext3   ext3   defaults   0   2

To add or change a label we may use:

  • for FAT32:

    sudo mlabel -i /dev/sdc1 ::"my_label"
  • for NTFS:

    sudo ntfslabel /dev/sdc1 my_label
  • for ext2/3/4:

    sudo e2label /dev/sdc1 my_label

(adapt the values in the given examples to your system!). NTFS partitions can also be labeled with gparted.

  • Never knew fstab could use labels as well, thanks for the heads up!
    – Oxwivi
    Jun 17, 2011 at 17:56
  • You did not define any option other than defaults, will a user be able to read/write properly?
    – Oxwivi
    Jun 18, 2011 at 7:56
  • @Takkat, please answer in this question.
    – Oxwivi
    Jun 18, 2011 at 8:20
  • While I do know what options defaults specify, I cannot comprehend if it does affect user read/write or not.
    – Oxwivi
    Jun 18, 2011 at 8:31
  • I ran into a problem. As I said in the question, it was an USB install, and after I did the necessary changes, it says drive for /media/NTFS/ not ready. Do I spin it off into a separate question? By the way, mlabel doesn't work for NTFS.
    – Oxwivi
    Jun 20, 2011 at 4:24

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