Ubuntu – How to prevent accidentally unmounting and destroying the Windows drive from Ubuntu


I recently installed Ubuntu 13.10 alongside Windows 8.1 and I had a question about preventing the unmounting of my windows drive. When I go into the file browser (I think it's called nautilus. It's the Ubuntu default one, anyways), I see my Windows drive on the left panel. However, it has a little eject icon next to it. I'm afraid I'm going to accidentally click that button and completely wreck my windows partition. Is there any way to remove this button and make that drive permanently mounted (or at least make it harder to unmount it)? Thanks!

Best Answer

  • You can go ahead and unmount your Windows partition. That will not hurt anything. Unmounting a partition means making it no longer accessible to currently running system until it is mounted again.

    This should have no effect on the Windows system itself. Unmounting a partition does not damage it in any way. Unmount does not mean anything like format or erase.

    Therefore there is no reason for you try to to prevent yourself from unmounting it by accident. The damage you're worried about will not occur just from the partition being unmounted.

    As psusi explained, the only situation where it would be harmful to unmount a partition is if there are open files on it that need to be written to disk before the partition is unmounted. But when that is the case, Nautilus will not unmount the partition when you click the "eject" button on it. So whether or not and to whatever extent you're using files on your Windows partition when booted into your Ubuntu system, this is not a problem either.

    To clarify further, you asked:

    So just to be sure, if I do press the button, it should automatically remount when I boot into Windows again?


    Or, more precisely: Whether or not your Windows partition is mounted in your Ubuntu system is completely unrelated to what happens when you actually use Windows.

    Windows must (in a sense) mount this partition every time you boot into Windows, whether or not it was mounted before in Ubuntu. In fact, your Windows partition, like all your other mounted partitions, is automatically unmounted when you shut down or reboot your Ubuntu system.

    Whether or not a partition is mounted is almost entirely a matter of what state the currently running operating system is in, not of what state the partition itself is currently in. When your Windows partition is mounted in Ubuntu, this means Ubuntu can access data on it. It has nothing at all to do with what Windows can do, next time it runs.

    Totally optional reading: I say "almost entirely" since some types of partitions keep information on the disk about whether or not they're currently mounted, so that if they are not unmounted when they should be, like during reboot, automatic corrective action can be taken. Such repairs apply to situations where a partition is not unmounted as needed, rather than those where the partition is unmounted. Specifically, when you write a file to a partition, it's possible the file will not be (fully) written to disk until the partition is unmounted.

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