Re: mounting unpartitioned drives

Vladimir Volovich (
20 Feb 1998 23:24:37 +0300

"PB" == Phillip Burr writes:

PB> If what you are looking for is access to the whole physical drive
PB> and not to just a partition, then you don't need to mount
PB> anything.

No, you are wrong. The only difference between the "whole drive" and a
"partition" on some drive is the placement of the "working area"
containing the filesystem. In the case of the "whole drive" this
"working area" occupies all sectors of the drive. In the case of
partitions, the "working area" is determined from the information
contained in MBR.

PB> Mounting gives you access to a filesystem.

Right. The whole drive as well as a particular partition on that drive
can contain a filesystem. No difference here.

PB> If you
PB> want access to the whole drive then I assume that you do not want
PB> the filesystem handled for you.

Wrong assumption. I usually do
# mke2fs /dev/hdc
so the whole physical media on the /dev/hdc contains an ext2
filesystem. This usage is similar to using diskettes. You don't
partition your diskettes, do you? ;)

PB> There is, in fact, a very easy
PB> way to access the 'whole disk'. If, for example, you want to
PB> access the primary master ide HD, all you need to do is access
PB> the file /dev/hda. There is nothing more to it. You can read it
PB> as you would any other file.

The same is valid in the case of partitions. There is a very easy way
to access the "whole partition". Simply access to /dev/hda1 or
similar. This partitions may or may not contain a filesystem on it.

Best regards, -- Vladimir.

Do not underestimate the value of print statements for debugging.

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