Ubuntu 11.10. When I plug my external Drive Western Digital MyPassport (500Go NTFS) I named WD. I get the following error:

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

I have no problem with the internal NTFS partitions that auto-mounts on startup (ntfs-config does that).

If I plug the WD before I boot Ubuntu, upon login, it's recognized and I can access without no problem. But if I remove it using (Safely remove) and then replug it, I get the error above.

Here is my fstab:

# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>

proc    /proc   proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0   0
#Entry for /dev/sda5 :
UUID=24540d0f-5803-493c-ace9-e3b3c0cedb26   /   ext4    errors=remount-ro   0   1
#Entry for /dev/sda3 :
UUID=E4C43F7EC43F51D2   /media/OS   ntfs-3g defaults,locale=en_US.UTF-8 0   0
#Entry for /dev/sda2 :
UUID=6A0070F10070C61B   /media/RECOVERY ntfs-3g defaults,locale=en_US.UTF-8 0   0
#Entry for /dev/sdb1 :
UUID=EA6854D268549F5F   /media/WD   ntfs-3g defaults,nosuid,nodev,locale=en_US.UTF-8    0   0
#Entry for /dev/sda6 :
UUID=ed077c52-c50e-406c-9120-9cb6f86ec204   none    swap    sw  0   0

Here is my mtab

/dev/sda5 / ext4 rw,errors=remount-ro,commit=0 0 0
proc /proc proc rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
sysfs /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
udev /dev devtmpfs rw,mode=0755 0 0
devpts /dev/pts devpts rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=0620 0 0
tmpfs /run tmpfs rw,noexec,nosuid,size=10%,mode=0755 0 0
none /run/lock tmpfs rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,size=5242880 0 0
none /run/shm tmpfs rw,nosuid,nodev 0 0
/dev/sda3 /media/OS fuseblk rw,nosuid,nodev,allow_other,blksize=4096 0 0
/dev/sda2 /media/RECOVERY fuseblk rw,nosuid,nodev,allow_other,blksize=4096 0 0
/dev/sdb1 /media/WD fuseblk rw,nosuid,nodev,allow_other,blksize=4096 0 0
binfmt_misc /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc binfmt_misc rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev 0 0
gvfs-fuse-daemon /home/hanine/.gvfs fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon rw,nosuid,nodev,user=hanine 0 0

Appearently it cannot be mounted because upon login, it finds that it is already mounted. Some sort of conflict.

Does anyone have a clue on how to solve this. Thanks.


You can comment out the line for /dev/sdb1 /media/WD in /etc/fstab, and let the drive use dynamic mounting. (That is, edit the file and put a # character at the beginning of the line. Then reboot.) For a drive that is being detached and reattached, that is preferable. Alternatively, you could manually unmount the drive before removing it with umount (as "Safely Remove..." is apparently not sufficient).

When using dynamic mounting, you can easily unmount the drive just by clicking the eject icon next to its name in the left pane of any Nautilus (i.e., file browser) window.

If you want to stick with static mounting, then remember to unmount the drive before removing it (sudo umount /media/WD).

If you need a fix right now without rebooting, try: sudo umount /media/WD, then run sudo fdisk -l or sudo parted -l to find out the current device name of the drive, and assuming it's /dev/sdb1, run sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/WD ...or, run sudo rmdir /media/WD followed (without sudo) by udisks --mount /dev/sdb1.

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  • I was able ti mount and unmount using these commands you mentioned or gparted but for the best user experience. I really wanted things to operate as simple as possible. So the conflict was indeed caused by this line in fstab :) I commented it it, rebooted and everything got back to normal. Now when I plug the external drive, it's mounted and when I need to remove it, I open disk utility, select the drive, click on UNMOUNT and then SAFELY REMOVE (safely remove is necessary to unpower the drive so it could be safely removed). Thank you man, you rock :) – Hanynowsky Nov 13 '11 at 3:13

From the bug report WarriorIng64 linked to, it sounds like some people resolved this issue by various means:


gksudo gedit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf

in a terminal, then removing the autologin-user= YOUR USERNAME line and running

sudo shutdown -h now

This suggestion belongs to WarriorIng64. All the credits goes to him.

I had the same problem. Worked great for me.

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  • Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! While this may theoretically answer the question, it would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference. – Michael Martin-Smucker Feb 16 '12 at 13:30

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