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Mount, in computing, is used to define the process of adding additional storage or other devices to a computing system. Whenever a mass storage device like a disk drive or flash drive is made available to the existing storage, it needs to be mounted on the system. For instance, inserting a CD is called mounting and installing the disk drive for a device is also known as mounting. Only after a device has been mounted, can the computer access it.
Mounting can be defined as the software process that activates a particular disk by making its content available to the computer’s file system. Mounting creates a partition for the mounted device in the computer’s file system. Even after a physical connection is made between a device and the computer, if the device is not mounted, the computer is not able to recognize it.
In the case of Windows and Mac operating systems, most devices are automatically mounted once they are connected to the computer. For instance, whenever a CD is inserted into the Windows system, it appears automatically in the My Computer window. All types of disks like internal and external hard disks, optical storage and flash drives can be mounted automatically in Windows and Mac OS X. However, disk image files must be mounted manually with the help of special software programs like PowerISO or Nero in Windows or Apple Disk Utility in Mac.
In the case of Unix and Linux-based systems, a mount command is used to mount the disk drives. The mounting can also be made default by making some changes, but manual mounting is considered to be a more secure way to add additional drivers. In Unix systems, all file systems other than the root user are mounted during the boot time.
Before the mounted device is removed from the computer, it must be unmounted. Unmounting of certain devices like CDs, DVDs and other optical media is done automatically once the drive is ejected. But in the case of hard drives or USB flash drives, the drives should be unmounted before they are removed to avoid possible data corruption.