How to Install GNOME Disks Utility on Ubuntu and Configure It [3 Simple Methods]

TL;DR

To install Gnome Disks Utility on Ubuntu, you can follow these steps:

  1. Run sudo apt update to ensure access to the latest package information from software repositories.
  2. Use sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility to install the utility, enabling disk management tasks on Ubuntu

Read the guide below to learn the step-by-step method to install GNOME Disks utility on Ubuntu and how to configure it. Also, learn the common errors that can occur during the process and their troubleshooting tips.

GNOME Disks is a powerful utility that plays a crucial role in managing disk drives efficiently on Ubuntu systems. Whether you want to partition drives, create disk images, monitor disk health, or perform benchmark tests, GNOME Disks has got you covered. Say goodbye to cumbersome command-line tasks and embrace a visually intuitive interface that empowers you to manage your storage with ease. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through every aspect of installing, navigating, and utilizing the GNOME Disks utility to its fullest potential on your Ubuntu machine.

Gnome Disk Utility Install: Reasons to Install It

Installing the GNOME Disk Utility on your Linux system can offer several practical benefits, making it a valuable tool for managing storage devices efficiently. Here’s why you might consider installing this utility:

  1. Easy Disk Management: GNOME Disk Utility provides a user-friendly graphical interface that simplifies the process of managing disk drives. It eliminates the need for complex command-line commands for common tasks such as formatting, partitioning, and mounting drives. This makes it accessible even to users who are new to Linux.
  2. Comprehensive Disk Health Monitoring: The utility includes support for reading SMART (Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology) data from disks. This feature helps in monitoring the health and performance of your hard drives, providing warnings for potential failures before they occur. This proactive monitoring can save time and prevent data loss.
  3. Partitioning Made Simple: With GNOME Disk Utility, you can easily create, delete, or resize partitions without needing to use more complicated tools like fdisk or parted. It supports various file systems, allowing users to format partitions to their needs directly through its interface.
  4. Backup and Restore Functionality: The ability to create and restore disk images is another significant advantage. You can use GNOME Disks to make full backups of your disk partitions, which can then be restored to the same or a new disk. This is especially useful when upgrading hardware or recovering from data corruption.
  5. Encryption Support: GNOME Disks provides an intuitive way to manage encrypted disks. It supports creating encrypted partitions with LUKS, which adds a layer of security to your data, protecting it from unauthorized access.
  6. Mount Management: It allows for easy management of mount points and mounting options. You can configure disks to auto-mount at startup, adjust mount options for optimal performance or security settings, and handle mounted devices without delving into configuration files.

How to Install GNOME Disks Utility on Ubuntu

1. APT Package Manager

APT (Advanced Package Tool) is the default package manager for Ubuntu and other Debian-based distributions. It’s used to install, update, and remove software from the command line. This method is ideal for users who prefer a quick and efficient way to manage software via the Terminal. Follow these steps:

  1. Press Ctrl + Alt + T to open a Terminal window on your Ubuntu system.
opening terminal 31
  1. Type the following command and hit Enter to update the package list:
sudo apt update
  1. This command updates the list of available packages from the software repositories, ensuring that you have access to the latest package information.
updating system package list 14
  1. Type the following command and hit Enter to install GNOME Disks:
sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility
  1. This command will install GNOME Disks Utility package, allowing you to access and use the utility for disk management tasks on your Ubuntu system.
installing gnome disk utility on ubuntu

2. Ubuntu Software Center

The Ubuntu Software Center is a graphical interface that allows you to install, remove, and manage software applications provided by Ubuntu’s repositories and third-party sources. It’s suitable for users who prefer a graphical interface over command-line operations.

  1. Launch the Ubuntu Software Center. Click on the Show Applications icon at the bottom left of your screen.
opening application menu
  1. Type Ubuntu Software, and click on its icon.
launching ubuntu software center 1
  1. In the Ubuntu Software Center, use the search bar at the top, type GNOME Disks, and press Enter. Click on the GNOME Disks utility from the search results. 
searching for gnome disks on ubuntu software center
  1. Then click the Install button. You may be prompted to enter your password to authorize the installation.
installing gnome disks using ubuntu software center

3. Synaptic Package Manager

Synaptic Package Manager is a powerful graphical package management tool for apt. It provides more detailed options for managing packages and is a great tool for users who require more control over software installations without using the command line.

  1. If Synaptic is not already installed on your system, you can install it via the Terminal:
sudo apt install synaptic
installing synaptic on ubuntu
  1. Find and launch Synaptic from your application menu or by typing synaptic in the Terminal (you might need to enter your password).
launching synaptic manager
  1. Click on the Search button in the Synaptic window, enter gnome-disk-utility in the search box, and press Enter.
searching gnome disk in synaptic
  1. Right-click on the gnome-disk-utility package in the search results, and select Mark for Installation.
marking package for installtion
  1. Click the Apply button in the toolbar to begin the installation. Confirm the changes if prompted.
clicking apply to begin installtion

How to Configure GNOME Disk Utility on Ubuntu

Configuring GNOME Disk utility Ubuntu empowers users to harness the full potential of their disk management tasks with ease. By mastering the configuration options of GNOME Disks, you can fine-tune your Ubuntu system’s storage management to suit your specific needs and ensure optimal disk health and performance.

1. How to Identify Connected Drives and Partitions

To identify the drives and partitions connected to your system:

  1. Open the GNOME Disks application from the Applications menu.
launching disk utility
  1. In the Devices pane, all connected drives and their respective partitions will be listed.
viewing list of drives

2. Viewing Drive Details and SMART Data

GNOME Disks allows you to view detailed information about your drives and access SMART data for monitoring drive health:

  1. Click on the drive you want to examine in the Devices pane. The Volumes pane will display information about the selected drive, including model, capacity, and usage.
select a disk to view details

3. Managing Drive Properties and Settings

GNOME Disks enables you to manage drive properties and settings, such as changing the mount options, labels, and formatting partitions:

  1. Click on the partition you wish to manage in the Volumes pane.
choosing partition to manage its properties
  1. Use the gear icon to access options for formatting, editing mount options, and setting partition flags.
managing partitions

4. Conducting Disk Read/Write Benchmark Tests

To benchmark your disks with GNOME Disks:

  1. Launch GNOME Disks from the Applications menu. Choose the drive you want to benchmark. Click on the disk option icon, and then click on Benchmark Disk.
selecting disk to benchmark
  1. Click on the Start Benchmark button.
starting benchmark test
  1. Now set the values for the benchmark test as per your requirements.
setting values for benchmark testing
  1. Enter the password then click on the authenticate button to start the benchmarking process.
authenticating benchmark process
  1. The output will be:
analyze the results

5. Improving Disk Performance with TRIM and Other Techniques

For SSDs, enabling TRIM is essential to maintain optimal performance:

  1. TRIM should be automatically enabled for most modern Linux systems and SSDs. To verify, run the following command in the Terminal:
sudo systemctl status fstrim.timer
  1. After execution, the command will show the status.
verifying the trim status

Common Errors When Installing and Using GNOME Disks Utility

GNOME Disks is a powerful disk management utility for Ubuntu users. However, like any software, you can encounter some common errors when you install GNOME Disk utility and during its usage. Here are five common errors with possible solutions:

  • 🛠️ Installation Dependency Issues: Sometimes, during installation, GNOME Disks may encounter dependency errors, leading to a failed installation. This typically happens when required packages are missing or not up-to-date. To resolve this, ensure your system is updated with the latest package information using sudo apt update, and then attempt to install GNOME Disks again.
  • 🔄 Missing Drive Detection: One common issue users face is GNOME Disks failing to detect connected drives or partitions. This could be due to driver conflicts or system-related errors. To troubleshoot, try reconnecting the drive or restarting your system. If the issue persists, check if the drive is detected in the system’s Disk Utility or use Terminal commands like lsblk or fdisk to confirm its visibility.
  • 💽 Unable to Format Partitions: Users may encounter difficulties formatting partitions using GNOME Disks. This issue could arise due to insufficient permissions or a corrupted filesystem. To resolve this, ensure you have administrative privileges by using sudo when accessing GNOME Disks. If formatting still fails, try formatting the partition using a different filesystem type or utilize the command-line tool mkfs.
  • 🔌 Drive Not Mounting: In some cases, users may find that drives are not mounting correctly through GNOME Disks. This can be caused by incorrect mount options or filesystem errors. To address this, manually mount the drive using the Terminal and check for any filesystem inconsistencies using tools like fsck. Also, ensure that the mount point exists and is accessible.
  • 🚫 Missing SMART Data: GNOME Disks relies on SMART data to monitor drive health. However, some drives may not provide SMART data, leading to its absence in the application. To check if SMART is enabled, use the Terminal command sudo systemctl status smartd. If your drive doesn’t support SMART, consider using alternative disk monitoring tools.

Summing Up the Gnome Disks Install Process

I hope this comprehensive guide has provided you with the step-by-step guide to install Gnome Disks utility on Ubuntu, how to configure and navigate its user interface, and how to address common errors that might arise during installation and usage. By mastering GNOME Disks, you can efficiently manage your disk drives, create bootable USB drives, and perform various disk management tasks with ease.

As you continue your journey in the world of Ubuntu and Linux, I encourage you to explore other essential tools and utilities that can further enhance your experience. Consider exploring into articles on system backup strategies, optimizing Ubuntu system for performance, and powerful Terminal commands for advanced disk management. Stay tuned for more in-depth guides on Linux system administration, security, and software development to elevate your skills and become a Linux guru.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it possible to access remote disks with GNOME Disks?

As of the current version, GNOME Disks does not directly support accessing remote disks. However, you can achieve remote disk management by utilizing network file sharing protocols like NFS (Network File System) or SSHFS (Secure Shell File System). By mounting remote drives using these protocols, you can access and manage their contents as if they were local drives. To set up NFS or SSHFS, you may need to install additional packages and configure permissions. While it’s not as seamless as direct support, using these network file systems allows you to perform essential disk management tasks on remote drives efficiently.

Does GNOME Disks support RAID configurations?

GNOME Disks offers limited support for RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) configurations. You can view and manage RAID arrays that are automatically detected by GNOME Disks. However, setting up and configuring RAID arrays from scratch might require specialized tools like mdadm on the command line. To manage existing RAID arrays, you can use GNOME Disks to perform tasks such as adding or removing disks, examining array properties, and identifying potential issues. For more complex RAID setups or creating RAID arrays from individual disks, the command-line approach with mdadm provides greater flexibility and control.

Can I manage Windows partitions with GNOME Disks on a dual-boot system?

Yes, GNOME Disks can effectively manage Windows partitions on a dual-boot system. When you launch GNOME Disks on a dual-boot Ubuntu system, it will detect and display all connected drives and partitions, including those containing Windows installations. You can view the properties of the Windows partitions, format them, or mount them as needed. However, exercise caution when performing actions on Windows partitions to avoid accidentally modifying critical system partitions. Always make sure you have a backup of your important data before making any changes to disk partitions, especially if you’re new to disk management.

Can GNOME Disks be used to create a bootable USB drive?

Absolutely! GNOME Disks can be used to create a bootable USB drive with ease. To do so, simply connect the USB drive to your Ubuntu system, open GNOME Disks, and select the USB drive from the Devices list. Then, click the gear icon, choose Restore Disk Image, and select the ISO image of the operating system you wish to make bootable on the USB drive. Click Start Restoring to begin the process, and once completed, your USB drive will be ready to boot into the chosen operating system. This feature is particularly useful for installing or troubleshooting operating systems on different computers.

Ojash

Author

Ojash is a skilled Linux expert and tech writer with over a decade of experience. He has extensive knowledge of Linux's file system, command-line interface, and software installations. Ojash is also an expert in shell scripting and automation, with experience in Bash, Python, and Perl. He has published numerous articles on Linux in various online publications, making him a valuable resource for both seasoned Linux users and beginners. Ojash is also an active member of the Linux community and participates in Linux forums.

Akshat

Reviewer

Akshat is a software engineer, product designer and the co-founder of Scrutify. He's an experienced Linux professional and the senior editor of this blog. He is also an open-source contributor to many projects on Github and has written several technical guides on Linux. Apart from that, he’s also actively sharing his ideas and tutorials on Medium and Attirer. As the editor of this blog, Akshat brings his wealth of knowledge and experience to provide readers with valuable insights and advice on a wide range of Linux-related topics.

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