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.
13.1. Using Diskettes
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.
13.1.1. 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
To manually mount a diskette:
Insert the diskette in the diskette drive.
At a shell prompt, enter the command mount
The diskette drive activity light should blink as it is
mounted to /media/floppy/.
You can access the contents of the diskette by browsing to
that directory from a shell prompt or through a file
browser like Nautilus.
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
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 diskette.
To unmount a disk manually:
Open a terminal window.
At the shell prompt, enter the command umount
To unmount a diskette with
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
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
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
can then unmount the diskette and eject it from the drive. The
files on the diskette should now be accessible from the
13.1.3. 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.
18.104.22.168. Formatting with
To start gfloppy, choose
Applications => System
Tools => Floppy Formatter.
From a shell prompt, type
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
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.
Figure 13-1. gfloppy
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.
22.214.171.124. 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 and data.
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.