System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems

Chapter 1 Managing Removable Media (Overview)

This chapter provides general guidelines for managing removable media in the Solaris OS.

This is a list of the overview information in this chapter.

What's New in Removable Media?

The following section describes new removable media features in the Solaris release.

For a complete listing of new Solaris features and a description of Solaris releases, see Solaris Express Developer Edition What’s New.

Changes and Improvements to Removable Media Management

Solaris Express 12/06: Previous features for managing removable media have been removed and replaced with services and methods that provide better removable media management.

For information about using vold in previous Solaris 10 releases, see System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

The following new features are available:

The following features are removed:

Backward Compatibility

The following features provide backward compatibility with previous Solaris removable media features:

Mounting and Unmounting Removable Media

Most commands that begin with vol* are removed in this release. A modified version of rmmount and a new rmumount command are available to mount and unmount removable media.

These commands can be used to mount by device name, label, or mount point. For example, to mount an iPod:

% rmmount ipod

For example, to unmount the file systems on a DVD:

# rmumount cdrom
cdrom /dev/dsk/c0t6d0s5 unmounted
cdrom /dev/dsk/c0t6d0s0 unmounted

For more information, see rmmount(1M).

Mounting and Unmounting Diskettes

You can use the existing volcheck command to manually poll diskettes and mount them if a new diskette is detected.

If you manually reformat diskette after it is connected to the system, HAL is not automatically notified. Continue to use the volcheck command to notify the system and attempt to automount a new file system on a diskette.

Ejecting Removable Media

As in previous Solaris releases, use the eject command to unmount and eject removable media. However, the following eject options are available:


Forces the device to eject even if the device is busy.


Displays paths and nicknames of devices that can be ejected.


A CD-ROM tray close command is provided to the device. Not all devices support this option.

For example, to eject by its volume label:

% eject mypictures

As in previous Solaris releases, you might need to issue the volcheck command before using the eject command to eject a diskette.

For more information, see eject(1).

Customizing Removable Media Management

For most customizations that were available in the vold.conf and rmmount.conf files, you will need to either use Desktop Volume manager preferences or modify the .fdi files.

Disabling Removable Media Features

You can disable some or all removable media features in this release:

vold is Managed by the Service Management Facility (SMF)

Note –

Starting in the Solaris Express 12/06 release, vold is removed. For information about managing removable media with vold in Solaris 10 releases, see System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

Solaris Express 11/05: The volume management daemon, vold, is now managed by the Service Management Facility (SMF). This means you can use the svcadm disable command to disable the following new volfs service, if appropriate:

# svcadm disable volfs

You can identify the status of the volfs service by using this command:

$ svcs volfs
STATE          STIME    FMRI
online         Sep_29   svc:/system/filesystem/volfs:default

For more information, see smf(5).

You can use the svccfg command to display and to set additional vold properties. For example, you could temporarily enable vold logging to help troubleshooting a problem. For example:

# svccfg
svc:> select system/filesystem/volfs
svc:/system/filesystem/volfs> setprop vold/log_debuglevel=3
svc:/system/filesystem/volfs> exit
# svcadm disable volfs
# svcadm enable volfs

You can also use the svccfg command to display a listing of settable vold properties.

# svccfg
svc:> select volfs
svc:/system/filesystem/volfs> listprop vold/*
vold/config_file            astring  
vold/log_debuglevel         count    3
vold/log_file               astring  
vold/log_nfs_trace          boolean  false
vold/log_verbose            boolean  false
vold/root_dir               astring  
vold/never_writeback_label  boolean  false
svc:/system/filesystem/volfs> exit

Improvements to Volume Management (vold)

Note –

Starting in the Solaris Express 12/06 release, vold is removed. For information about managing removable media with vold in Solaris 10 releases, see System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems.

Solaris Express 11/05: Removable media management is improved. Previously, vold did not create device links for removable devices that contain no media. Now, device links are properly created for devices that contain no media, similar to the following:

lrwxrwxrwx   1 root     root     28 Jun 13 13:09 /vol/dev/aliases/cdrom0 ->

Now, you can use the cdrw and rmformat commands to list devices that have no media when vold is running.

You can revert back to the previous vold behavior by changing the following support nomedia entry in the /etc/vold.conf file as follows:

support media

Then, restart vold.

In addition, vold is now hot-plug aware. This improvement means that if you insert removable media, the media is automatically detected and mounted by vold. There should be no need to restart vold manually to recognize and mount a file system from any removable media device.

If you are using a legacy or non-USB diskette device, then you might need to issue the volcheck command before vold can recognize the media.

If the media is detected, but for some reason, is unmounted, then you'll need to run the following commands:

# volrmmount -i rmdisk0

Before you hot-remove a removable media device, eject the media first. For example:

# eject rmdisk0

Where to Find Managing Removable Media Tasks

Use these references to find step-by-step instructions for managing removable media.

Removable Media Management Task 

For More Information 

Access removable media 

Chapter 3, Accessing Removable Media (Tasks)

Format removable media 

Chapter 2, Managing Removable Media (Tasks)

Write data CDs and DVDs and music CDs 

Chapter 4, Writing CDs and DVDs (Tasks)

Removable Media Features and Benefits

The Solaris release gives users and software developers a standard interface for dealing with removable media. Removable media services provide the following benefits:

Comparison of Manual and Automatic Mounting

The following table compares the steps involved in manual mounting (without removable media services) and automatic mounting (with removable media management) of removable media.

Table 1–1 Comparison of Manual and Automatic Mounting of Removable Media


Manual Mounting 

Automatic Mounting 

Insert media. 

Insert media. 

Become superuser. 

For diskettes, use the volcheck command.

Determine the location of the media device. 

Removable media services automatically perform many of the tasks that are required to manually mount and work with removable media. 

Create a mount point. 


Make sure you are not in the mount point directory. 


Mount the device and use the proper mount options.


Exit the superuser account. 


Work with files on media. 

Work with files on media. 

Become superuser. 



Unmount the media device. 



Eject media. 

Eject media. 


Exit the superuser account. 


Overview of Accessing Removable Media

Essentially, removable media services enable you to access removable media just as manual mounting does, but more easily and without the need for superuser access.

If the media contains a file system and a label, the media label name is used to name the /media/pathname mount point. If a label is not present, the disk model name is used to name the media, such as /media/cdrom. A generic nickname is used only for legacy symbolic links. For example, /rmdisk/rmdisk0.

If your system has more than one type of removable device, see the following table for their access points.

Table 1–2 How to Access Data on Removable Media



Unlabeled Media Pathnames 

Labeled Media Pathname Examples 

Files on a diskette 

The diskette and type volcheck on the command line



Files on a removable hard disk 

The removable hard disk and type volcheck on the command line

/media/usb-disk or the legacy path /rmdisk/rmdisk0


Files on a CD 

The CD and wait for a few seconds 



Files on a DVD 

The DVD and wait for a few seconds 



You can use the rmmount -l command to identify mounted media on your system. For example:

# rmmount -l
/dev/dsk/c5t0d0p0       rmdisk6,/media/FD-05PUB
/dev/dsk/c4t0d3p0       rmdisk5,/media/223UHS-SD-MMC
/dev/dsk/c2t0d0s2       cdrom1,cd1,sr1,SOL_11_X86,/media/SOL_11_X86
/dev/dsk/c3t0d0p0       rmdisk2,/media/00JB-00CRA0

In the above output, the mounted devices are as follows:


USB floppy


CF card in a USB card reader




Removable USB disk