AutoFS : montage et démontage de partages

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1 Introduction

You already installed Linux on your networked desktop PC and now you want to work with files stored on some other PCs in your network. This is where autofs comes into play. This tutorial shows how to configure autofs to use CIFS to access Windows or Samba shares from Linux Desktop PCs. It also includes a tailored configuration file.

If autofs Version 4.0 or newer is already installed, you should find thoses files :


on your system. Otherwise start the package manager of your distribution (e.g. YaST on SuSE, synaptic on Debian or Ubuntu, ...) and install it. When you are at it, also install the Samba client package (look for smbclient), because we will also need this.

2 Installation

Just do :

Command apt-get
apt-get install autofs

3 Configuration

3.1 NFS

3.1.1 Installation

For NFS, it's not very hard, just be sure it works fine when you mount it manually. You also need to install portmap :

Command apt-get
apt-get install portmap

3.1.2 Configuration

Now edit for example the auto.master file, and add a nfs file line :

Configuration File /etc/auto.master
/mnt    /etc/auto.nfs --timeout=600

This mean it will be mounted in /mnt and will be automatically umounted after 10 min. Now edit your new file :

Configuration File /etc/auto.nfs
* -fstype=nfs,rw

With some virtualized systems like OpenVZ, you'll need to add 'nolock' option in addition of fstype options :

Configuration File /etc/auto.nfs
* -fstype=nfs,rw,nolock

3.2 CIFS

3.2.1 Installation

If autofs is already installed, it is probably still not configured and not working. Assuming your Linux Distribution contains a Linux 2.6.x kernel I recommend to use the common internet file system (cifs) module to access files on the network. You also nee smbfs to be isntalled :

Command apt-get
apt-get install smbfs cifs-utils

3.2.2 Configuration

Please store the following file as

Configuration File /etc/auto.master
/mnt     /etc/auto.cifs

on your computer. You need root (or sudo) to have the permissions to do this:

Configuration File /etc/auto.cifs
 share  -fstype=cifs,rw,noperm,credentials=/etc/auto.cred ://server/share

This file must be executable to work (chmod 755) !

Just create a /etc/auto.cred file where credentials will be added. Then add those 2 lines :

Configuration File /etc/auto.cred

change the permissions :

Command chmod
chmod 755 /etc/auto.cifs
chmod a-x /etc/auto.cifs
chmod 600 /etc/auto.cred

Restart service :

/etc/init.d/autofs restart

That's all.

3.3 SSH

3.3.1 Installation

First we need to install sshfs :

Command apt-get
apt-get install sshfs fuse

3.3.2 Configuration Key exchange

You first need to do key exchange from the root user on remote host. Autofs configuration

Now edit the master file and add this line :

Configuration File /etc/auto.master
/mnt/remote_server   /etc/auto.sshfs  --timeout=360,--ghost

Now add this and adapt it for your needs :

Command /etc/auto.sshfs
myfolder -fstype=fuse,port=22,rw,allow_other :sshfs\#login@remote_host\:/the/share

  • myfolder : folder will be accessible in /mnt/remote_server/myfolder
  • login : type your ssh login
  • /the/share : set the remote share

Do not forget to create the folder on your client machine.

Now reload autofs :

/etc/init.d/autofs reload

Now access to /mnt/remote_server/myfolder it will be automatically mounted.

3.4 FTP

You'll need to install this package :

Command aptitude
aptitude install curlftpfs

Then add this line in /etc/auto.master :

Configuration File /etc/auto.master
/mnt/autofs    /etc/auto.ftp --timeout=600

Now we need to create this file and add a line like that (replace with your informations) :

Configuration File /etc/auto.ftp
backups_ftp      -fstype=fuse,allow_other,user=user:password    :curlftpfs\server

3.5 Create a mountpoint per home user

To create a home mountpoint per connected user, you have to configure (NFS for example) like this :

Configuration File /etc/auto.nfs
* -fstype=nfs,rw

& : correspond to each users

4 Verify

Use the command

Command ls


mount.cifs //server/share /test -o username=login,password=pass

to check, if it works. If not, consult the system logfiles (usually /var/log/messages or /var/log/syslog) for messages.


5.1 My NFS connection is very slow

I can see this kind of of things in the syslogs :

Configuration File /var/log/syslog
Jun  6 16:26:40 debusertest kernel: portmap: server localhost not responding, timed out
Jun  6 16:26:40 debusertest kernel: RPC: failed to contact portmap (errno -5).

You just need to install the portmap package :-)

5.2 I encounter NFS delay problem

If you have this kind of problem :

Jul  8 15:50:39 deb-devtest2 automount[8415]: mount(nfs): mkdir_path /mnt/share/drive failed: No such file or directory
Jul  8 15:50:39 deb-devtest2 automount[8415]: failed to mount /mnt/share/drive

Grow your auto.nfs file, option timeo :

Configuration File /etc/auto.nfs
drive -fstype=nfs,rw,rsize=8192,wsize=8192,timeo=60,intr server:/700G/share/drive

5.3 My CIFS doesn't want to mount

You may have a problem while automount a cifs share getting this errors in the logs :

Dec 27 11:36:07 pmavro-laptop automount[27824]: lookup(program): lookup for backups failed
Dec 27 11:36:07 pmavro-laptop automount[27824]: failed to mount /mnt/backups/backups

As it's recommanded on this documentation, auto.cifs needs execute rights. But depending of the version of autofs you use, you may need to pull off those rights :

Command chmod
chmod a-x /etc/auto.cifs

Then restart autofs daemon.

5.4 Why autofs volumes are hidden when not mounted ?

It is possible to show wished volumes that are not mounted, this is easier to know which ones are available. Do to do it, simple add '--ghost' on a line on auto.master. Example :

Configuration File /etc/auto.master
/mnt/mount1      /etc/auto.sshfs --timeout=720,--ghost
/mnt/mount2      /etc/auto.cifs --timeout=720,--ghost