System Administration Guide: Basic Administration

Chapter 17 Managing Removable Media (Overview)

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

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

What's New in Managing Removable Media?

Volume management features have been improved to fully support removable media. This improvement means that DVD-ROMs, Iomega and Universal Serial Bus (USB) Zip drives and Jaz drives, CD-ROMs, and diskettes are mounted and available for reading when they are inserted.

You can use both the Common Desktop Environment (CDE) volume management and the Solaris command line to fully manage removable media.

With the volume management improvements, you can:

Guidelines for using removable media are:

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 18, Accessing Removable Media (Tasks)

Format removable media 

Chapter 19, Formatting Removable Media (Tasks)

Write data and music CDs 

Chapter 20, Writing CDs (Tasks)

For information on using removable media with File Manager in the Common Desktop Environment, see Solaris Common Desktop Environment: User's Guide.

Removable Media Features and Benefits

The Solaris environment gives users and software developers a standard interface for dealing with removable media. Referred to as volume management, this interface provides three major benefits:

Comparison of Automatic and Manual Mounting

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

Table 17–1 Comparison of Manual and Automatic Mounting


Manual Mounting 

Automatic Mounting 

Insert media. 

Insert media. 

Become superuser. 

For diskettes, use the volcheck command.

Determine the location of the media device. 

Volume manager (vold) automatically performs many of the tasks previously 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 using 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. 


What You Can Do With Volume Management

Essentially, volume management enables you to access removable media just as manual mounting does, but more easily and without the need for superuser access. To make removable media easier to work with, you can mount removable media in easy-to-remember locations.

Table 17–2 How to Access Data on Removable Media Managed by Volume Manager



Find the Files Here 

Files on the first diskette 

The diskette and enter volcheck


Files on the first removable hard disk 

The removable hard disk and enter volcheck

/rmdisk/jaz0 or /rmdisk/zip0

Files on the first CD 

The CD and wait for a few seconds 


Files on the first DVD 

The DVD and wait for a few seconds 


Files on the first PCMCIA 

The PCMCIA and wait for a few seconds 


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

Table 17–3 Where to Access Removable Media

Media Device 

Access File Systems With This Path 

Access Raw Data With This Path 

First diskette drive 



Second diskette drive 



First CD-ROM drive 



Second CD-ROM drive 



First removable hard disk 

/rmdisk/jaz0, /rmdisk/jaz1

/rmdisk/zip0, /rmdisk/zip1



First PCMCIA drive