Getting Gnome Volume Manager to play nice

The quick answer to this, is that GVM can – in a limited sense. Up till now there were two choices: either accept how Gnome Volume Manager handles storage devices, or input every storage device that can be thought of into “/etc/fstab“.

Gnome Volume Manager has it’s own way of doing things. GVM appears to name storage devices as it pleases. GVM on this PC names the Vista partition as “OS”, the USB stick is named “1.0 GB Media”, and so on. Gnome Volume Manager also defines it’s own options – sometime erraticallty. Sometimes a storage unit will be mounted, other times not.

Trying to assist Gnome Volume Manager with fstab is possible to some degree. Gnome Volume Manager will listen to fstab and mount the storage unit in the appropriate directory, but fstab options may or may not be used.

The best bet is to go ahead and enter the storage units into “/etc/fstab”. First give UUID’s to give specific detail of the drives, partitions… (especially dynamic ones: USB sticks, external hard disks…). Enter the device/devicenames of all volumes as seen by fdisk:

sudo fdisk -l

Device names might also be discovered in “/etc/mtab” or at the end of the “dmesg” listing.

To get more information on known storage unit type in:

file -s /dev/devicename

To get the UUID:

vol_id -u /dev/devicename

The UUID is a permenant, unique identifier that always can be assign to a storage unit.

Open the fstab file and in place of using “/dev/devicename” use:


Or whatever the UUID’s are.

Now create folders in “/media” for the storage units:

sudo mkdir /media/WinVista
sudo mkdir /media/USB-Stick-1
sudo mkdir /media/DVD-RW

then enter the corresponding mount points in “/etc/fstab”.

Research what options are needed. The “/etc/fstab” file is read and mounts volumes during boot. Gnome Volume Manger will listen to some options. The most important option GVM looks for is the users option. If users option isn’t found then Gnome Volume Manager will not give regular user rights to the storage unit and the common “You are not privileged to mount the volume” dialog will appear. Another option “auto” can be entered in the storage units option that will have the volume mounted on boot. Unfortunately, Gnome Volume Manager will not listen to this option, Gnome Volume Managers preferences though do allow automatic loading of removable drives and media (albeit somewhat erratically and unpredictably).

An example “/etc/fstab”:

# filesystem information

# Window Vista Partition
UUID=D6F275C3F275A87F                       /media/WinVista     ntfs-3g     users,defaults,force,auto               0   0
# Linux System Partition
UUID=8f30c65c-ac3f-4c7b-bfbe-21310c36c89e   /                   ext3        noatime,user_xattr                      1   1

# DVD Drive
/dev/sr0                                    /media/DVD-RW       auto        auto,users,rw                           0   0

# USB Stick 1
UUID=48BC-9FFE                              /media/USB-Stick-1  vfat        users,auto,uid=1000,gid=100,umask=007   0   0

With these changes most storage units will be loaded when are where expected to.

Change Storage Device Labels

To change the Label GVM shows, do it with a tool like parted. GVM reads the volume label that is assigned in the Master Boot Record, if there is none it gives the size the the storage device. A good option is to use a LiveCD that that has parted on it. I had no problems adding a label to the storage units, but it’s a good idea to do as Parted warns and to backup any files first. If no name changes need to be made to root (/) or say another fixed partition (/home) parted can be used right then and there but be sure to kill GVM first:

killall gnome-volume-manager

Avoid Broken Links to Other Storage Units

If there are links, to say, some files on the Windows partition, they can be broken if not set up correctly. First be sure the filesystem is mounted at boot by naming them in fstab. GVM/Nautilus will then recognize the link when it loads. Second, make a direct link. Don’t use the storage unit links on the left-hand side of Nautilus – these are shortcuts. Instead name directly the device path:

ln -s /media/WinVista/Users/Username/Documents/ My\ Documents

At this point I reboot to see how the configurations work from booting. This should do it. Drives should un/mount properly and have good disk labels. Hope this helps.

purty nautilus

Using Device Nodes

I have yet to try this as I am currently Gnome-less, but creating device nodes may help Gnome Volume Manager. It at least will help create an “/etc/fstab” file without the use of UUID’s.

3 thoughts on “Getting Gnome Volume Manager to play nice

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