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Old 12-07-2003, 11:47 AM   #1
Registered: Oct 2003
Location: Caracas
Distribution: Knoppix 3.3 (Debian sarge/sid)
Posts: 72

Rep: Reputation: 15
Heavy problems with mount and permissions in Debian


I'm using Knoppix 3.3 (Debian unstable-testing) in a PIII box.

I have a Windows partition in /dev/hda1 and my root partition is in /dev/hdb1. I have very little space in the root partition, so my home directory for my user 'jose' is a symbolic link to a folder 'jose' in the Windows partition.

I noticed that I couldn't write anything in my home directory after several weeks without problems. Every program was reading files from that partition but no writing. First, I "discovered" that the owner of the folder in the Windows partition was root, not me. So, all subfolders and files were root's. I thought that there was no problem so I went to the Midnight Commander as root and tried to change permissions of the folder. Suddenly, file system became unwritable, even for root (error said: "Read only filesystem").

I unmounted (umount -a) and remounted (mount -a) (my Windows partition has the 'auto' option in /etc/fstab) and everything was fine, but the user couldn't write in the folder. Everywhere else in the Windows partition the filesystem was writable, but in the folder permissions blocked the writing. Everytime I tried to change permissions (as root) the filesystem 'blocked' and turned unwritable. I had to remount everytime that happened. I even found that after certain time it 'blocked' himself without any action (I use to leave my computer on all night, so in the morning is 'blocked' again)

It's a very annoying problem because now I can't write in my home directory so I have to do it in my root partition which is running out of space, also it's annoying that any new file that I create in the Windows partition goes automatically under 'root' ownership. Pretty annoying.

PS: File system is FAT32. I also have another partition in HDA /dev/hda5 which is also FAT32 and it has no problems (seems to...)

Thank you very much,

Last edited by bureado; 12-07-2003 at 11:49 AM.
Old 12-07-2003, 11:04 PM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
Distribution: Slackware, Ubuntu
Posts: 558

Rep: Reputation: 31
I don't think that symbolic links will suffice. You probably will need to define the entire Windows FAT32 partition as /home in your fstab.

ie. /dev/hda1 /home vfat defaults,exec,rw,umask=000 0 2

Therefore, when you reboot, /dev/hda1 will be mounted as /home. Then do (as root): chown -R jose:jose /home/jose to change the ownership of your 'jose' folder to user:group jose:jose.

Of course, this means that your /home partition will have the same directory tree as your Windows C: drive, namely /home/Programs\ Files, /home/windows, /home/jose, /home/My\ Documents, etc. If you want to avoid this, then you should make another FAT32 partition to be exclusively your /home.

The 'umask=000' option for vfat partitions in your fstab file allows write permissions for normal users. If you are missing this option, users cannot write to the vfat partition even if folders and files are chmod a+rw.

Last edited by spurious; 12-07-2003 at 11:10 PM.


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