Can I set an /etc/fstab with options=auto to be skipped if mounting fails?

The manual says, it will break the boot process if an entry with options=auto fails.

Without auto, it does not automatically mount the device on boot.

So how to make the auto entry to be ignored on failures?


4 Answers 4


I created a partition called /dev/sdb1 in my Ubuntu VM. But I didn’t create a filesystem for this partition and so of course it will not get mounted.

Then put following entry in fstab.

/dev/sdb1   /mnt/       auto    defaults,nobootwait     0   2

And rebooted VM. Server got rebooted with following error msg in syslog

suku@ubuntu-vm:~$ grep sdb1 /var/log/syslog
Jan 11 16:32:58 ubuntu-vm kernel: [    2.263540]  sdb: sdb1
Jan 11 16:32:59 ubuntu-vm kernel: [    4.403527] EXT3-fs (sdb1): error: can't find ext3 filesystem on dev sdb1.
Jan 11 16:32:59 ubuntu-vm kernel: [    4.410341] EXT4-fs (sdb1): VFS: Can't find ext4 filesystem
Jan 11 16:32:59 ubuntu-vm kernel: [    4.413978] FAT-fs (sdb1): bogus number of reserved sectors
Jan 11 16:32:59 ubuntu-vm kernel: [    4.414073] FAT-fs (sdb1): Can't find a valid FAT filesystem

What is nobootwait:

nobootwait can be applied to non-remote filesystems to explicitly instruct mountall(8) not to hold up the boot for them.

  • 6
    nobootwait doesn't work any longer in 16.04 Jan 9, 2017 at 12:25
  • 2
    On rhel/centos 7, the nofail flag works
    – Andy
    Feb 12, 2018 at 18:25
  • 2
    What is the correct flag to use on Ubuntu 18.04? Jan 26, 2019 at 7:01
  • @AaronFranke , try: nofail,errors=continue Jan 1, 2020 at 10:31

Maybe it will be better to write a script to mount something after boot? For example, put string with noauto to fstab and mount it via rc.local


For some flavors nobootwait and for for example xfs file systems no work

Below work with UUID

UUID=718ef17e-5502-4a74-81fe-930d21f5507d /data xfs rw,noquota,nofail  0 2

I am not sure about your distro, but usually booting just waits with a timeout and then will boot without mounting. You can mount it automatically on run time using an udev rule, e.g. on pluggin in.

To bind directories in fstab use:

/from    /to   none bind 0 0 
  • debian 6 and it's a mount --bind dirA directoryB that i'd like to automate.
    – ledy
    Jan 11, 2013 at 10:22
  • @Steffen grub is never involved with fstab at run time. Jan 11, 2013 at 10:38
  • @ledy: Did you try to bind in fstab with e.g. /opt/var_log /var/log none bind 0 0? Also you could consider to place a symlink.
    – Steffen
    Jan 11, 2013 at 12:04
  • You should definitely edit your post since grub has absolutely nothing to do with mounting.
    – chutz
    Jan 11, 2013 at 13:28

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