NOTE: CentOS Enterprise Linux is built from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code. Other than logo and name changes CentOS Enterprise Linux is compatible with the equivalent Red Hat version. This document applies equally to both Red Hat and CentOS Enterprise Linux.
Chapter 13. Diskettes and CD-ROMs
Using removable media with Red Hat Enterprise Linux requires
some explanation. This chapter discusses how to read and write
files to and from diskettes, CD-ROMs, and USB Flash Drives.
Diskettes are one of the oldest removable media solutions
available for the personal computer (PC). Diskettes are ideal as a
portable storage solution for small files that need to be
physically moved around. For example, if two PCs are not on the
same network, diskettes are a great solution to transfer files from
one computer to the other. Diskettes degrade with time, and should
not be used for long term storage.
Mounting and Unmounting a Diskette
Diskettes must be mounted before use
and unmounted before they are ejected from the drive. To mount a
diskette means to attach it to your current file system. Strictly
speaking, Red Hat Enterprise Linux attaches the contents of the
diskette to your computer's file system under the directory
/media/floppy/. Diskettes may be mounted
manually from a shell prompt. Nautilus
also has the ability to auto-mount diskettes.
To manually mount a diskette:
Insert the diskette in the diskette drive.
At a shell prompt, enter the command mount /media/floppy/.
The diskette drive activity light should blink as it is mounted
You can access the contents of the diskette by browsing to that
directory from a shell prompt or through a file browser like
To mount a diskette with Nautilus:
Inser the diskette into the drive.
Double-click on the Computer icon on your
desktop.The Computer window opens.
Double-click the Floppy icon. Nautilus automatically mounts the diskette and
opens a window with the diskette's contents.
At the same time, a diskette icon appears on the desktop.
Double-click this icon at any time to open a window with the
diskette's contents. Files dragged onto the icon are copied to the
To unmount a disk manually:
Open a terminal window.
At the shell prompt, enter the command umount /media/floppy/.
To unmount a diskette with Nautilus:
Right-click on the diskette icon on the desktop.
Select Unmount Volume from the menu.
Once the diskette has been unmounted, you can safely eject it
from the drive.
If you do not unmount a diskette before ejecting it, the files
you meant to transfer to it will not actually be written on the
diskette. You may also be unable to mount a new diskette, or the
old data may be written over the new diskette. Be certain to
unmount your diskettes before removing them.
13.1.2. Putting Linux
Files on an MS-DOS Diskette
To copy files from a Red Hat Enterprise Linux system to an
MS-DOS formatted diskette so that a Windows machine can read it, be
certain that the diskette is formatted with an MS-DOS (FAT) file
system. Diskettes that are pre-formatted by the manufacturer are
generally formatted with a FAT file system. You can also format the
diskette with the Windows OS or with gfloppy. Refer to Section 13.1.3 Formatting a
Diskette for more detail on formatting.
Files may be copied to and deleted from the diskette with the
same shell prompt commands or actions in Nautilus as described in Section 4.5 Manipulating Files in
Your Current Working Directory. You can then unmount the
diskette and eject it from the drive. The files on the diskette
should now be accessible from the Windows machine.
Formatting a Diskette
The native file system for exclusively Red Hat Enterprise Linux
diskettes is ext2. Once you have created an ext2 file system on
your diskette, you can manipulate its contents the same ways that
you manipulate directories and files on your hard drive.
Formatting a diskette will permanently erase all of its
contents. Be sure to backup any files that you need before
performing any of the following operations on your diskettes.
188.8.131.52. Formatting with
To start gfloppy, choose => => . From a
shell prompt, type /usr/bin/gfloppy.
gfloppy will not format a diskette that
is mounted to your file system. Make certain that the diskette icon
is not visible on your desktop before proceeding. If the diskette
is mounted, right-click on the icon and choose Unmount Volume before proceeding.
As shown in Figure
13-1, the gfloppy interface is small
and has few options. The default settings are sufficient for most
users and needs; however, you can format your diskette with an
MS-DOS file system type if necessary. You can also choose the
density of your diskette (if you are not using the usual high
density 3.5" 1.44MB diskette). You can also elect to quick format the diskette if it was previously
formatted as ext2.
Change the settings in gfloppy to
suit your needs; then click Format. A
status box appears on top of the main window, showing you the
status of formatting and verification. Once complete, close
gfloppy and either eject or mount and
use the diskette.
184.108.40.206. Using mke2fs
The mke2fs command is used to create a
Linux ext2 file system on a device such as a hard drive partition
or (in this case) a diskette. mke2fs
essentially formats the device and creates an empty,
Linux-compatible device which can then be used for storing files
Insert your diskette into the drive and issue the following
command at a shell prompt:
On Linux systems, /dev/fd0 refers to
the first diskette drive. If your computer has more than one
diskette drive, your primary diskette drive is /dev/fd0, your second /dev/fd1, and so on.
The mke2fs utility has a number of
options. The -c option makes the mke2fs command check the device for bad blocks
before creating the file system. The other options are covered in
the mke2fs man page.
Once you have created an ext2 file system on the diskette, it is
ready to be used with your Red Hat Enterprise Linux system.