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I am installing ArchLinux and I don't know which options to put for the / partition in /etc/fstab. On ArchWiki they suggest defaults,noatime, but on my LinuxMint options are just errors=remount-ro which means "remount as read-only if there are errors". What is the best thing to do? I'm thinking about defaults,noatime,errors=remount-ro. Is that okay, or what should I do?

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I don't think there's a clear-cut answer to what options you should use, at least not without knowing what you're going to do with the computer and what type of drive you're using.

A couple of points:

  • noatime can be a bad idea, as it allows the time of the last access to be prior to the time of the last modification. This can cause some unexpected behavior, as programs won't be able to verify if the current version of a file has been read already.

    As an alternative, relatime was introduced. With this option, the atime only gets updated if it's prior to the mtime. Some distros (e.g., Ubuntu) default to this.

  • errors=remount-ro is meant to prevent data loss if problems occur while mounting. I can't think of any problems it could cause, so there's really no good reason not to do it.

  • Use discard if (and only if) you're using a SSD and both the drive and the kernel support TRIM.

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So, it's okay if I just put errors=remount-ro? I'm installing it in virtualbox so I'm just curious what does which option do – dac Sep 14 '12 at 2:19
If you're using a simulated filesystem, it might be different. For instance, it might not even support atime. Also, thre's no point in mounting a simulated filesystem as read-only. What matter is how the host file system gets mounted. You really should update your question with a lot more details. – Dennis Sep 14 '12 at 11:07

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