Plex – External FAT32 USB drive

So, trying to use a Linux Mint laptop and Plex for a lower power consumption server seemed a good idea, until I realised the disk in the laptop was only a few hundred gig. I opted to use my backup USB disk to serve the media. Its FAT32 and already contained hundreds of videos (as it was my backup)

I wanted it to automount, and always be connected so that Plex just sits there serving away and occasionaly updates the library with new files. My mount point is /media/plexmedia/

I used fstab to mount it. and with many different options and trials, I discovered this to be the optimum line:

UUID=DA3C-7706 /media/plexmedia/ vfat auto,users,umask=000 0 0

Explanation of the settings:


This will set every file to rw for all users and groups.


Will automatically mount the drive. Not really necessary but I like to leave it there.


Allows the disk to be mounted by any user. I don’t want root owning it, as then Plex might not be able to read/write nicely.

Finally the 0 0

The first 0 means that I don’t want the disk automatically backed up ever
The second 0 is telling fsck that I don’t want to check the device for errors.


Now, to get your UUID, you’ll need to run:

sudo blkid

Note: Its better to use the drive’s UUID – as this doesn’t change, but if you were to shuffle the order of the disks around (as in the physical USB ports) the /dev/sda labels may change.

Its important to note, that you cannot change the attributes of the files on a FAT32 disk in Linux, as they don’t have that sort of security metadata within them. The user access changes must be applied to the mount point. A lot of people forget this and is a source of confusion often.

Keeping 2 drives sync’ed with rsync on Linux

I have an external USB HDD and I like to keep it synchronised with my desktop for backup reasons. I find the easiest way to do this, is to use rsync:

> sudo apt-get install rsync
> rsync -avu /source/ /dest/

For example:

> rysnc -avu /media/externaldisk/ /home/chris/diskbackup/

Will increment copy everything (ignoring older files) from /media/externaldisk to my /home/chris/diskbackup folder.

The options are:

  • a – Archive mode – Will retain the folder/file properties, such as owner, permissions, etc.
  • v – Verbose – Output the progress to the screen (so I know its still working)
  • u – Update – Only update files that have a more recent file modified date.