How do I let ordinary users mount floppies, CDROMs and other removable media?

Ordinary users can be permitted to mount devices. Here is how:

  1. As root set the sysctl variable vfs.usermount to 1.

        # sysctl -w vfs.usermount=1
    
  2. As root assign the appropriate permissions to the block device associated with the removable media.

    For example, to allow users to mount the first floppy drive, use:

        # chmod 666 /dev/fd0
    

    To allow users in the group operator to mount the CDROM drive, use:

        # chgrp operator /dev/cd0c
        # chmod 640 /dev/cd0c
    
  3. Finally, add the line vfs.usermount=1 to the file /etc/sysctl.conf so that it is reset at system boot time.

All users can now mount the floppy /dev/fd0 onto a directory that they own:

    % mkdir ~/my-mount-point
    % mount -t msdos /dev/fd0 ~/my-mount-point

Users in group operator can now mount the CDROM /dev/cd0c onto a directory that they own:

    % mkdir ~/my-mount-point
    % mount -t msdos /dev/cd0c ~/my-mount-point

Unmounting the device is simple:

    % umount ~/my-mount-point

Enabling vfs.usermount, however, has negative security implications. A better way to access MSDOS formatted media is to use the mtools package in the ports collection.



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