After I perform a full system upgrade and install all the drivers, I usually remove Gvfs and all its dependencies and also Gigolo and any other piece of software used in Ubuntu to automatically mount NTFS or FAT partitions. Call me a paranoid, but I find it more reliable and secure this way to separate Windows files from Linux files mainly because of the incompatibility issues that may occur whenever I mix Linux with Windows.

When and if I need to access a NTFS/FAT partition from Linux, I use the mount/umount commands in a terminal and all is fine this way. But my problem is that, though I can mount and entire NTFS/FAT partition, I am not able and I have no idea how to mount just one directory from a NTFS/FAT partition without having to mount the entire partition prior to that. I am not sure if this is even possible but if it is possible, please let me know how to do it.

So far I tried command lines like these:

      sudo mount /dev/sda5/movies/Riddick/ /media/hdd/

      sudo mount directory  /dev/sda5/movies/Riddick/ /media/hdd/

      sudo mount /sda5/movies/Riddick/ /media/hdd/

and nothing works. I can mount and read a partition, be it /dev/sda5/ or /dev/sda1/ but I can't mount just one directory from that partition. Any ideas?


/dev/sda5 and friends are partitions, a type of block device. They don't have (sub-)directories, but they can contain file systems. Only file systems can have directories. To open a file system use the mount command on the block device that contains the file system:

sudo mount [block device] [mountpoint]

where [block device] is the containing device (in your case apparently /dev/sda5) and [mountpoint] is an existing directory where the content of the file system will appear¹. On success you can then look for your movies in or below [mountpoint].

It is (generally) not possible to only mount a subdirectory of a file system on an otherwise unmounted block device. If this is what you want, an equivalent solution may be symbolic links or bind mounts.

¹ shadowing the previously existing content of that directory.

  • It is exactly I was asking about, mounting a subdirectory of a file system on an otherwise unmounted block device (and shadowing the previously existing content of that directory). So, in other words, I go back to mounting the entire partition or, like you called it, block device. I understand and thank you for your prompt clear answer. – Taz D. Sep 26 '14 at 18:32
  • I added a link to a related problem/solution in my answer, that you may find helpful in that case. – David Foerster Sep 26 '14 at 18:37
  • I know that link, I run a search before asking the question but, no offence, it seems pretty useless to mount a folder after I already mounted the partition/block device where the folder is located. Either this or I am just too slow and can't fully understand that guide. – Taz D. Sep 26 '14 at 18:43
  • I prefer to suspect that your use case just doesn't profit from bind mounts, but I wanted to let you be the judge of that, because you don't go into much detail about it or at least I don't really understand it. – David Foerster Sep 27 '14 at 15:38
  • Yes, it says in there exactly what you told me namely ... make sure that the block-level device is mounted. You can't directly mount a subdirectory of a partition without first mounting the partition. It is why I said it's useless, at least for me. I was hoping there is some easy way or maybe some piece of software that can help me mount just a target directory from a whole partition. But I did found an easier way. I run Ubuntu inside Windows (wubi), and I created a folder on my host partition exactly for this purpose, to be able to read windows data without having to mount anything. – Taz D. Sep 27 '14 at 21:02

You can't directly mount a subdirectory of a partition without first mounting the partition.

you can not mount just a folder from a partition, if you want to mount a folder you will need to mount its partition first. or better if you want mount just a folder it will mount its partition automatically.

  • 1
    David Foerster explained it to me more extensively in its answer to my question so I finally figured it out. Not possible for just one folder, only for an entire partition or, like IT pros call it, a block device. Thank you for your answer. – Taz D. Sep 26 '14 at 18:36
  • “Partition” is not wrong (they are partitions indeed), but that's not the important thing here, since mount only cares that you mount from a block device. There are many other block devices besides disk partitions. – David Foerster Sep 26 '14 at 18:41

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