I have four disks in my Mac Pro. The boot disk and two others mount when OS X starts but the fourth one does not. I can mount it in Disk Utility and it appears to be all right.

How can I tell Mac OS X to mount it?

diskutil list /dev/disk2s2
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *1.0 TB     disk2
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk2s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Broken                  999.9 GB   disk2s2

Update: There seems to have been a misunderstanding about this question. I do not want to find out what's wrong' with my disk I named "Broken". It appears to work fine. I also reformatted it several times. I want to know how to tell OS X to mount a specific disk at boot. I named the disk "Broken" because it doesn't mount automatically, not because I have any problems with it as such and nor are there any error messages. Just forget I mentioned the disk and answer the question how to tell OS X which disks to mount at boot, if you know the answer. Thanks.

  • You say you can mount it in Disk Utility as if you cannot mount it via the Finder sidebar? cl.ly/DC0k
    – gentmatt
    Jan 9, 2012 at 18:40
  • 1
    How can I navigate to it when it isn't mounted? I think you are confusing mounting a drive with opening it in Finder. The drive is not mounted. This means it is not available to the system as a volume, only as a device (like "disk2s2" in the case of this drive). When Mac OS X boots it mounts all the drives, usually. Jan 9, 2012 at 20:21
  • 1
    Linux has an /etc/fstab, Mac OS X does not (at least my installation doesn't seem to have one). Here a "device" is really a lot of things, but some devices are really disks (or similar) and contain file systems. By mounting them, the file system becomes part of the system and can be accessed by the Finder and other programs. Jan 9, 2012 at 20:41
  • 1
    Non-journaled HFS+ hasn't been the default for many years. Journaling should be enabled on all your HFS+ volumes, unless you have a very good reason not to - I think some Linux/BSD HFS utilities don't like journaled HFS+. Jan 10, 2012 at 17:41
  • 2
    These answers mostly miss the point! He is not looking to mount at login. He wants to mount at boot time. This isn't exactly a difficult question but it seems to be a difficult answer. For example, you want an external disk (these are not auto mounted it seems while internal drives are) to be used for a network Time Machine Backup location. You don't want to limit network devices to being able to backup only when a certain user is logged into the computer. You want it to backup ALL THE TIME. So, the question isn't why or why not at login time but how do you mount an external drive at BOOT time
    – user141787
    Aug 16, 2015 at 21:29

6 Answers 6


OS X uses diskarbitrationd which discovers new storage devices and probes them for mountable filesystems. The Disk Arbitration framework handles notifying applications of disk mount/unmount events, and allows them to influence whether a volume is mounted or not.

Consult the man page for diskarbitrationd for very limited further information; for example, diskarbitrationd consults /etc/fstab to determine if the discovered filesystem should be mounted other than at the default location(/Volumes/) or with special options (or not mounted at all.)

Reasons for diskarbitrationd not mounting a filesystem or "volume" on a device may include:

  • Errors (corruption) in the partition table.
  • A mismatch between the partition type and the filesystem.
  • A damaged filesystem which fsck cannot repair.
  • Hardware failure.
  • Filesystem is listed in /etc/fstab with noauto.
  • An application has used the Disk Arbitration framework to prevent auto-mounting

According to your comments, all your journaled filesystems are mounting, and the filesystem which isn't mounting doesn't have journaling turned on. Journaling was introduced in 10.2 Server and 10.3 Client and by now is considered a vital, critical feature. It should be enabled unless you really know what you're doing; hence why you must hold down the option-key in Disk Utility to disable it in modern versions of OS X. Make sure the volume has journaling enabled:

  1. Select the volume in Disk Utility
  2. Choose File->Enable journaling (if it is greyed out, journaling is enabled.
  3. Verify by choosing File->Get info; you should see "Mac OS Extended (Journaled)" as the filesystem type.
  • 1
    diskutil list /dev/disk2s2 /dev/disk2 #: TYPE NAME SIZE IDENTIFIER 0: GUID_partition_scheme *1.0 TB disk2 1: EFI 209.7 MB disk2s1 2: Apple_HFS Broken 999.9 GB disk2s2 Jan 10, 2012 at 17:25
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    Note that "Broken" is the name of the volume. Jan 10, 2012 at 17:25
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    I think you are labouring under the assumption that there is something wrong with the mount process itself. There is not. Mounting the drive works. It just doesn't mount at boot. Jan 10, 2012 at 17:30
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    It's only happening to one drive, and it's not automounting. Unmount and unplug the drive, then reconnect it, and I bet it won't mount automatically. There's nothing special about boot-time mounting, really. Please post all the information I requested by updating your question, not by pasting it here - the formatting is broken. Jan 10, 2012 at 17:32
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    Sometimes there are questions with insufficient detail and the asker never comes back, so they're closed. However, in this case, Andrew seems to be actively responding, so I'm going to leave the question open. He seems invested enough to realize that omitting troubleshooting steps may result in not getting an answer. Jan 10, 2012 at 19:56

A little late, but hopefully this helps anyone else searching (since the rest of the answers here are useless!)

Quoting https://discussions.apple.com/message/29744735#29744735 -

Since at least Panther and through to El Capitan, AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin needs to be set to true (1) in /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount.plist, then all external storage should be mounted at boot.

Check current setting: sudo defaults read /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin

The output will be either 0 or 1 0 = false 1 = true

Set to true: sudo defaults write /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin -bool true


Assuming there's no dramas with the volumes themselves, you can mount additional volumes at login by adding them as Login Items for your user account in the System Preferences.

  • That opens a new finder window every login. No matter if you check-mark 'hide'. Kind of annoying.
    – gentmatt
    Jan 10, 2012 at 6:58
  • It's also impossible since Login Items are opened, not mounted. How would Finder even know which device to mount for an icon named "Hard Disk 2"? Jan 10, 2012 at 8:30
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    In my experience, it doesn't open Finder, it just mounts the Volume. I use this to mount shares from my Drobo (although I admit that I'm assuming that this works the same for local volumes). Will confirm the steps when I get home. Jan 10, 2012 at 9:17
  • Volumes can be added to startup items by going to System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Select "+" to add a new item and select the Volume in question. Have confirmed that this works with Local Volumes as well as Network Shares. The result is the Volume mounted and an icon on the desktop. No finder windows are opened. Jan 10, 2012 at 10:12
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    Yes, the volume will be mounted. The only condition is that you can see the Volume in the "Add Startup Item" dialog. Agree that it's a bandaid, but if it works, does it matter? Jan 10, 2012 at 23:27

The volume is mounted automatically again.

I never did find out how Mac OS X decides which volumes to mount and which not. But whatever it is, Mac OS decided to mount the volume again. Apparently the solution is to reboot until it works.

  • I have another disk now which didn't auto mount but mounted fine manually. Apr 21, 2012 at 14:27

Go to System Preferences>Accounts>Login Items. Click on the plus sign and add your drive on that list. Every time you log into your account, Finder will automatically mount that drive.

  • 1
    This is the same answer as Tony Johnson's. Read the comment there. Jun 7, 2013 at 7:29

In my case I had to mount an afp volume at boot, and I wanted it to be transparent. What I did was to create an script and added it to login items. That way the window is not shown.

tell application "Finder"
    mount volume "afp://ServerName._afpovertcp._tcp.local/VOLUMENAME" as user name "macUser"
end tell

you can try to do something similar with

do shell script "diskutil mount /dev/disk2s1"

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