How to Mount a Removable Drive in Windows Systems for Linux

This post shows students and new users steps to mount and unmount a removable USB or thumb drive in the Windows Systems for Linux (WSL) environment. Windows 11 allows users to mount removable drives with ease. Simply insert a removeable drive, and Windows will recognize and mount it.

However, when running WSL, mounting removable drives inside of the WSL environment isn’t that easy.

Windows Subsystem for Linux allows you to manually mount drives using the mount command. WSL will automatically mounts all fixed NTFS drives. So, if you have an internal fixed C: and E: drives, you’ll see them mounted at /mnt/c and /mnt/e in your WSL environment.

For external, removable drive, you’ll have to manually mount those in WSL. DrvFs also allows you to mount external drives like USB, CDs, and DVDs. These devices must be formatted using Windows file system like NTFS  or FAT.

Similarly to internal drives, external drives will remain accessible in Windows 11 when mounted within the Windows Subsystem for Linux environment.

Below is how one can mount an external drive in WSL environment.

How to mount an external drive in WSL

As mentioned above, one can mount external drive like USB, CD and other devices in Windows System for Linux.

For example, if you have an external drive attached to your Windows 11 computer using the drive letter F:, you can mount it in WSL using the commands below.

sudo mkdir /mnt/f
sudo mount -t drvfs F: /mnt/f

You’ll now be able to access the drive content in Linux at the mount point /mnt/f.

To unmount the drive, simply run the commands below.

sudo umount /mnt/f/

That should do it!


This post showed you how to mount an external, removable drive in WSL environment. If you find any error above or have something to add, please use the comment form below.