What's the difference between mountall and mount -a? (Ubuntu, perhaps others)

by Johannes Ernst   Last Updated October 10, 2017 21:00 PM

The mountall man page says "this is a temporary tool until init(8) itself" can do it, basically. Why not just use mount -a? Is there a difference between the two, and if so, which should I use for what?



Answers 2


According to the man page, the ubuntu version of mountall does the following :

  • reads fstab(5)
  • calls fsck(8)
  • calls mount(8)
  • and calls swapon(8)

Canonical does not provide much information on the reason why they had to build a "temporary tool".

According to mount manual, mount -a "[...] causes all filesystems mentioned in fstab to be mounted[...]".

Anyway, I advise you to use mount -a as it works on most unices.

user130370
user130370
September 17, 2012 21:29 PM

mountall helped me when I got an upgrade error where I was unable to mount the filesystem in r/w. falling back to a shell, mountall mounted the fs and was able to proceed with the upgrade ...

until I hit the next issue, but that is another story

sam_ub
sam_ub
October 10, 2017 20:59 PM

Related Questions


When is fsck dangerous?

Updated August 15, 2018 14:00 PM

How to responsibly avoid "fsck forced"?

Updated January 20, 2018 20:00 PM


can´t mount sda partition in rescue-grml

Updated January 24, 2018 12:00 PM

How to repair multiply-claimed blocks?

Updated June 29, 2015 13:00 PM