I have a 3TB USB 3.0 External HDD (Seagate) that I would like my Debian machine to pick up on boot so that I can use rsync to backup to it using cron.

If i unplug the drive and plug it back in then it shows up when I do:

/dev/disk/by-uuid -lah

Then I can mount it (the UUID is in fstab already) by doing:

sudo mount -a

Unfortunately when I reboot the drive is not detected. This is a headless Linux box.

The drive is NTFS formatted.

Help would be appreciated!


  • 1
    Is it the /dev/disk/by-uuid/ link that is not present, or the actual device?
    – Paul
    Aug 7, 2012 at 5:34
  • The actual device. If I unplug the USB and plug it back in then the device shows up.
    – Omar Mir
    Aug 7, 2012 at 16:10
  • After rebooting does the device show up when you run lsusb? This is before the /dev shows up but while the device is plugged in Aug 10, 2012 at 0:19
  • It could be power stabilization time. 3TB USB 3.0 HDD is huge. It might not be ready by when udevadm runs. What do you see in your kernel log file when you plug it in? What do you see when you cold-boot with the HDD pluged in? Does anything change if you hot reboot? Aug 14, 2012 at 15:51
  • Have you tried simply using gvfs? That should pick it up ok.
    – terdon
    Aug 16, 2012 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


Mounting external hard drive on boot can be very tricky, troublesome operation. First, it adds delay to the boot sequence, then the drive has to be recognized and mounted. Imagine, if for some reason, the OS can't find the drive. It will get stuck at its boot sequence, waiting for the user to tell it to continue or not. You don't want this to happen.

What you need is autofs. Just apt-get install autofs and configure automounts -> create an entry for this drive in /etc/auto.master.

Example: /mnt /etc/auto.mnt --timeout=120 --ghost; Then in /etc/auto.mnt put: ``backup -fstype=ntfs,rw UUID=

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