Devices / storage (/dev vs /mnt)

I want to check a few things about how Zorin works with SSDs and HDDs to make sure I have set it up correctly, and none of the minor issues I have are caused by something as daft as me setting up a drive incorrectly. :slight_smile:

As background: I'm much more used to how Windows gives each storage device a single letter, which makes referring to drives and paths much more simple for me. (Obviously it would be an even better system if Windows used every letter rather than skipping some for historic reasons: A:, B: etc).

Linux seems a lot more complex here, offering multiple complicated names for the same drive (e.g. under mount options>identify path) and sometimes multiple possible paths to the same folder that don't always bear a relation to the drive the file is on (e.g. it sometimes has a path to /home/na/Desktop/memberships/Gumroad/ when it is really /mnt/sda2/Data/fiction/memberships/Gumroad - a totally separate drive!)

To understand things better I bought two new paperback guides to Linux. The other day I came across the /dev /mnt distinction and wondered if I'd done it right!

The book says:

  • /dev = "devices attached to the system" "/dev/sda represents the first hard drive on your PC"
  • /mnt = "temporarily mount an additional file system"

I have two M2 SSDs OSs - one ext4 Zorin (default, and dual boot menu), one NTFS Win10. Then a separate 4TB NTFS data drive in two partitions - the ext4 partition where I keep my Linux personal files.

When I installed Zorin it seemed to keep losing the Data drive, so I messed with the Disks utility, gave it a name, worked out that I had to "mount" it and tell it to do that every time Zorin loaded. However, I notice my data drive is /mnt/sda1/Data/ but should it be /dev/sda1/Data/ as the book suggests? i.e. should the drive be a /dev rather than /mnt? Would that make a difference?

As a basic user, looking at the two bullet points from the book above, I would have seen a permanent internal HDD as being a DEVICE. Whereas a MOUNT would be a temporary thing like a USB stick or my USB external backup drive. I don't understand why a permanent drive is being classes as temporary, not a permanent device?


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I've been using Linux for 6+ years, and I'm still very confused about how Linux handles it's file system and partitioning. So don't feel too bad, after all, I just delivered a rant recently over it lol.

I too used to be a Windows user, so I know all too well how you mean. Windows made it easier in that regard. Linux is unecessarily convoluted in this area.

I'm glad you figured out the auto mount in DISKS. I've had to give this instructions on the forum countless times to users.

Also NVME is handled differently then standard SATA. NVME requires its own controller to drive it. It's seen a bit different by the system. So it's handled a bit differently.

I'm going to bed and don't wish to type all night on a phone screen keyboard. So this is all I will say. I just wanted to acknowledge you and let you know that you are heard and understood.

Goodnight :milky_way:


Linux uses /dev (device) followed by sda (Primary drive) with a Partition number.
So for example, primary drive 3rd partition would be device /dev/sda3
For /dev/sdb, this would be a USB or External or secondary (Not Primary) drive. Let's say we want the forth partition on the external drive: /dev/sdb4



And, here's a very helpful guide, if you should ever need help with partitioning and installing.

Also, you will find two APPS to be quite useful on your drive adventure. DISKS and GPARTED, I think there are other's as well, but those are the two that I know of.

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That's what I expected, but my point is that Zorin seems to be treating the (internal HDD) drive as /mnt not /dev?

For example, this is the path to one of my folders:


I think that guide is for partitioning a drive with an OS on - I did it just on a data drive, no OS. Much simpler!

Yep, I use Disks in Zorin and Gparted in my emergency Linux USB (the latter doesn't seem to be part of Zorin by default, or at least when I type Gparted into the Start menu nothign comes up). But that bit is all fine anyway, I'm just querying why something that should be a /dev is showing up as a /mnt, and whether that can cause issues?

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/dev refers to a physical device, drive or system components whereas /mnt refers to a Mounted FileSystem rather than to a Physical Device.

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Mmm, I'm still having trouble visualising this. So you mean that the drive is a /dev but I don't ever see that in the file manager because it is formatted so the bits of data stored on it count as /mnt instead? I think my difficulty is because, even when it is a single partition, so it is just one "thing" and that thing is a "physical device" to my mind, I still see it as an /mnt not a /dev in Linux, whereas the description made me think it should show up as /dev.

Maybe the person who wrote the book threw me with the word "temporary" since that makes me think of a device like a USB stick plugged in for just a few mins or an hour - to my mind the data drive HDD inside the PC isn't temporary, it is permanent (well, as permanent as any hardware device is! They can all be removed or fail, so in a way everything is temporary).

So would this be a better summary (for myself)? >>>

/dev = physical devices attached to the system; some can contain data e.g. /dev/sda represents the first hard drive on your PC, but you won't see /dev/ as the path in File manager.

/mnt = a file system/partition stored on a /dev. Even though the files are on a /dev, the File manager will show the path as /mnt. This is normal, and you don't have to worry that seeing /mnt means you have set up Linux incorrectly - /mnt is the normal appearance for a browsable file system on a drive in Linux.

(The last bit means I haven't done it wrong and can tick this off!)

That would be /media


Very well worded, in my opinion.

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Many thanks, I'll chalk this one down to "something learned" and "not a problem"!

I started to put together a post about my experiences of using Linux for the first time for that forum, then decided to delve into any unresolved things to make sure I understood them first, but only doing two posts at once this time! This one was easy to cross off. :slight_smile: My other current one is about changing the drive where the Desktop is stored and whether I need to reset ownership and permissions on that drive. Then I can move on to the fun of changing the file manager - Nautilus seems far inferior to Nemo and Thunar. (Whereas Dolphin seemed worse.)

I agree. I could never wrap my head around Dolphin. It has its perks but it has a strange layout that does not logically follow. Really... all of KDE does this to me.
It may be a particular mindset that I have.
It's like Star Trek.
The characters beam over onto some Alien Ship they never heard of and yet know how to use the controls and manipulate the ship. It makes no sense.
They should be baffled as to what is what and where it goes. That - is me using KDE.


While I highly regard KDE developers and some of their excellent apps such as K3B, Krita and Okular to name a few, I never be able to get accustomed to the Plasma desktop.
My husband also said the same thing after we tried several desktops together. Something goes against our intuition.


Exactly. I agree- I hold the development and philosophy in high regard. The implementation, on the other hand... is like visiting a universe where pi is 3.14167, the gravitational constant is a variable and c is 276,479km/s.


And weird gets defined as freak out to the 10th powered squared! Relativity gets redefined as, if you think you can make it, you can't, cause the gravitational pole of the planet will reverse as soon as you get there, sending your compass out of wack, leaving you to curse at the universe.

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I love the descriptions of subtle wrongness framed as altered physics. :slight_smile: In some of my books I have to come up with truly alien environments or entities, and it's a whole rabbit hole of implications in order to make things feel a bit more real than "Earth and humans but with green tints".


The easy way I deal with this concept is:



Human behavior development.

Taking it to both of those Roots make coming up with truly alien speculations a lot easier.

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You are so right! For so many newbies who come to the forum, looking for installation support, one of the things we always tell people, are the 3 big things you disable for Linux, and those things are..............................


What happens if you don't disable those for Linux? Well, when you go to boot your system, the fracture of space time splits, allowing for matter and anti-matter to collide, thus causing, a parabolic destabilization of the quantum universe.

You don't want that, its bad, very very bad, all the bad. Marty Mcfly made that mistake, and look what happened to him. He went back in time to 1955 and kissed his mother. Should have listen to Doc Brown, but he didn't, and he will never get the image of what he did out of his brain for LIFE!

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I'd have kissed her too.


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I got the first two - as far as I understand it, Secure Boot is something to disable in UEFI, Fast Boot is something to disable within Win10 (power settings). Where is TPM? Thanks!

TPM is only found on modern computers no older then say 2018. If your computer is older then that, you have no TPM device, so therefor, no option in the bios, so your good!