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USB external hard drive -- mounting


I'm in the process of setting up a new server, running Debian Jessie 8.9, replacing a Windows Server 2003 box (the same physical hardware).

One of the functions of this server is to automatically (via a script run from cron) back up data (mostly on other servers, via FTP and SCP) from other servers in the network, to a USB external hard drive.

I was pleasantly shocked when the NTFS-formatted USB drive auto-mounted as read/write, as soon as I plugged it in, without my having to apt-get anything.

So far, I've got one of these auto-backup scripts working, after a fashion. But there are problems: because the external drive is currently auto-mounted, (1) the location of the drive in the file system is dependent on what user was signed on to the Gnome desktop when it auto-mounted, and (2) if no user signs on to the Gnome desktop, it doesn't get mounted anywhere.

In addition, it mounts as "/media/<user>/Seagate Expansion Drive". Not only is this a bit of a mouthful when specifying a pathname in a script, and dependent on what user is signed on when it auto-mounts; it's also dependent on that physical drive (or another self-identifying the same), which would make swapping it out for a new drive potentially problematic.

And when it is unmounted, the mountpoint goes away.

I can't even determine *what* is doing the auto-mounting, and the more I read, the more confused I get: I see automount; I see usbmount; I see pmount; I've barely figured out how to see what packages are installed, and nothing jumps out at me as being what's auto-mounting the drive.

Can anybody advise me on how to set this thing up so that if it's plugged in, it will mount, to a consistent mountpoint, whether anybody's signed on to Gnome or not? And when it's inevitably replaced, its replacement will continue to do so?

James H. H. Lampert