Mount Hard Drive

Could someone please describe in detail what exactly is happening when I mount my external hard drive in Mac OS X?  What is the purpose of mounting my external hard drive? Is mounting the same in a Windows environment?   Please any information would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you.
SOLIDGOLD24Asked:
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ozoCommented:
    mount, unmount -- mount or dismount a filesystem

SYNOPSIS
     #include <sys/param.h>
     #include <sys/mount.h>

     int
     mount(const char *type, const char *dir, int flags, void *data);

     int
     unmount(const char *dir, int flags);

DESCRIPTION
     The mount() function grafts a filesystem object onto the system file tree
     at the point dir.  The argument data describes the filesystem object to
     be mounted.  The argument type tells the kernel how to interpret data
     (See type below).  The contents of the filesystem become available
     through the new mount point dir.  Any files in dir at the time of a suc-
     cessful mount are swept under the carpet so to speak, and are unavailable
     until the filesystem is unmounted.

     The following flags may be specified to suppress default semantics which
     affect filesystem access.

     MNT_RDONLY       The filesystem should be treated as read-only; Even the
                      super-user may not write on it.

     MNT_NOEXEC       Do not allow files to be executed from the filesystem.

     MNT_NOSUID       Do not honor setuid or setgid bits on files when execut-
                      ing them.

     MNT_NODEV        Do not interpret special files on the filesystem.

     MNT_UNION        Union with underlying filesystem instead of obscuring
                      it.

     MNT_SYNCHRONOUS  All I/O to the filesystem should be done synchronously.

     The flag MNT_UPDATE indicates that the mount command is being applied to
     an already mounted filesystem.  This allows the mount flags to be changed
     without requiring that the filesystem be unmounted and remounted.  Some
     filesystems may not allow all flags to be changed.  For example, most
     filesystems will not allow a change from read-write to read-only.

     The flag MNT_RELOAD causes the vfs subsystem to update its data struc-
     tures pertaining to the specified already mounted filesystem.

     The type argument defines the type of the filesystem.

     Data is a pointer to a structure that contains the type specific argu-
     ments to mount.  The format for these argument structures is described in
     the manual page for each filesystem.

     The umount() function call disassociates the filesystem from the speci-
     fied mount point dir.

     The flags argument may specify MNT_FORCE to specify that the filesystem
     should be forcibly unmounted even if files are still active.  Active spe-
     cial devices continue to work, but any further accesses to any other
     active files result in errors even if the filesystem is later remounted.

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walkerkeCommented:
To put it simply, mounting is the process of making the drive available to the operating system. In the simplest terms, it is the same for any operating system and is required in order to access any drive whether external or internal. Internal drives are mounted during the boot up process. Although it is possible to unmount/remount an internal drive while the system is running, it is not recommended. External drives, if available during boot up, will also be mounted at that time. Otherwise, they are mounted when the drive becomes available. During mounting, the drive is added to the root tree and remains available without any special commands or routines.
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