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Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives


Hey guys I'm hoping you can help me with this....

I work at a company that has multiple Mac computers that go out to remote locations to be used. Upon returning, standard procedure has us erase the boot drives of these computers then clone them from a Master Drive. We now have up to 7 Master Drives that we may need at any given time.

My goal is to have one large Master Drive split into multiple partitions with each containing a different OS version and configuration.

Now on to my problem.....

I've created the partitions with OS versions installed, but every partition always mount on the desktop and I want to be able to disable this function so I can manually boot to these partitions as needed (By holding OPTION during boot up). I know Terminal is the key but I only have basic knowledge and am having trouble creating the fstab file which would enable me to edit the partition mounting options.

Any ideas?

RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Aren't you getting the choice now when you hold Opt down at boot?  Yes, the partitions will mount, but you should be started from the partition you chose.


Using OSX 10.3.9 & 10.4.11 on a G4, G5 & Intel Macbook

RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Yes that I can do.

But the problem is I'm working with multiple OS versions (10.4.x - 10.5.x) configured for various mac computers (2.0 PPC - 8 core mac).

Say I have an OS 10.5.5 partition and a 10.4.9 partition on the same drive. If I use OPTION and boot to the 10.5.5 partition, the 10.4.9 partition will mount as well and the 10.5.5 OS will apply its drive privileges and permissions hierarchy to the 10.4.9 OS partition.... Bad news!

This has led to corruptions after cloning from that 10.4.9 partition. I need to be able to tell the computer to not mount every partition unless specifically told to do so.

Thanks for your interest.


RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

I have recently learned that the fstab file is obsolete in Leopard. It is the autofs.conf, auto_master files that need to be manipulated. Still learning.........

Does anyone else have experience in this?


RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Theoretically, the 10.5 override should not happen.  Do you have a cloning app like Carbon Copy Cloner installed on each partition, so you can completely clone that partition to the computer's drive?  It would be more likely that an incomplete copy wold cause the  corruption.  I;m basing that on the fact taht you said you do a full erase on the computer's drive first.

We've used a similar system to yours - with 10.3 and 10.4 on the firewire drive and have not experienced the problem.

One thing you could do would be to simply eject the mounted partitions you don't need before you clone to the computer drive.  

Using OSX 10.3.9 & 10.4.11 on a G4, G5 & Intel Macbook

RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Hey Jmgalvin,

Thanks for your response.

I do have Carbon Copy Cloner. That's how we clone our boot drives.

Here's the skinny... We have external firewire drives that we clone FROM. These I would like to have configured with multiple partitions of various OS versions. The problem I have is that if I have a 10.4.x partition and a 10.5.x partition on the same external hard drive, and I choose say, to boot up using the 10.5.x partition, the 10.4.x partition would automatically mount also.

10.5.x has a different structure, and technique for handling drive permissions and the OS would "impose" itself onto the 10.4.x partition (adding irrelevant files, changing the permissions structure of drives). This would cause a slow boot and other hard drive anomalies that I could just avoid if I could tell the computer to NOT mount specific partitions unless otherwise instructed.

I'm getting closer to figuring some things out....

/etc/fstab.hd in Leopard has no function.....

You need to create an new /fstab file by using vifs in terminal....

I've been able to override the automount process, but am still getting errors when I try to mount the partition using Disk Utility....

Still working on it......


RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

By the way Jmgalvin,

The corruption occurs when the 10.4.x partition mounts onto the Desktop not during the clone. Which is why I think all problems could be avoided by controlling the automount feature.



RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

Here's what we do.

We use a system similar to yours - but as backup rathe than having to do things because machines have to be wiped - like you have to do.

We use dual firewire/usb drives from OWC with 4 partitions for the 4 setups we use in 10.3 and 4.  The partitions are named for the correct machines - like "G4 103.    We clone, with CCC, from a fresh computer hard drive, to the correct partition and install CCC on that partition.  We make sure to include "hidden" files per CCC options. This was done for each of the 4 different setups.

When we do a reinstall from the outboard drive, we plug it in to a particular computer, and restart from the appropriate partition.  We then launch Disk Utility from the outboard drive and erase the computer's drive using the Zero Out Data option - we have no need for any greater security but you might want to choose a higher level if necessary.  We do get the other partitions mounted on the desktop but ignore them.

Once the computer's drive is wiped, we launch CCC from the outboard drive that's the startup drive and clone to the computers newly wiped drive - again making sure that "hidden files" are included.  Then we copy the user and application files from either the g4 powermac that we use as a "semi" backup machine (server) or from the backup outboard drive that we have for each machine (double backup due to paranoia) to the machine with the new OS.

So far, we've never had a problem and did not get the override problems that you describe..  However, if this is driving you nuts, you might look into creating a disk image via Disk Utility and dropping that on an outboard drive, Then you could try the Restore option on Disk Utility to restore your various computer hard drives.  The reason that I have not done that is that I go way back to the days of SCSI drives and old Mac OS 7 (where drives always got fired and had to be restored) and go to used to that - which is similar to what I use today - pure laziness on my part.


Using OSX 10.3.9 & 10.4.11 on a G4, G5 & Intel Macbook

RE: Disable Auto-mounting of External Hard Drives

If I remember correctly, some SCSI drivers from the OS 7/8/9 era had an option to NOT mount the drive or partitions at boot time.

It is a shame Apple has NOT put back the missing features and options from OS 7/8/9 that are useful for this type of need in OS TEN! Instead they waste time generating bugs from half-baked beta versions they unleash on the public!


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