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Guide: How to Solve “Umount Target is Busy” Error on Linux

Guide: How to Solve “Umount Target is Busy” Error on Linux

When working with Linux, you may encounter the “umount target is busy” error message when trying to unmount a filesystem or device. This error occurs when the system detects that the target you are trying to unmount is currently in use by a process or program. In this guide, we will explore different methods to solve this issue and successfully unmount the target.

Understanding the Error

Before we dive into the solutions, it is important to understand why this error occurs. When you try to unmount a target, Linux checks if any process or program is currently using that target. If it finds an active process, it prevents the unmount operation to avoid potential data loss or corruption. The error message “umount target is busy” is displayed to inform you that the target cannot be unmounted at that moment.

Identifying the Busy Process

In order to resolve the “umount target is busy” error, you need to identify the process or program that is currently using the target. Here are a few commands you can use to find the busy process:


The fuser command displays the PIDs (Process IDs) of processes using the specified files or file systems. To use it, simply provide the target as the argument:

fuser /path/to/target


The lsof (list open files) command lists all open files and the processes that opened them. To find the process using the target, run the following command:

lsof | grep /path/to/target

The output will display the process name and its PID.

Solutions to “Umount Target is Busy” Error

Once you have identified the process using the target, you can try the following solutions to resolve the “umount target is busy” error:

1. Kill the Busy Process

If the process using the target is not critical and can be terminated safely, you can kill it using the kill command. The process will be terminated, allowing you to unmount the target. Here’s how you can do it:

kill PID

Replace PID with the actual process ID obtained from the previous step.

2. Stop the Service

If the busy process is a system service or daemon, you can stop it to release the target. The method to stop a service may vary depending on your Linux distribution. Here are a few common commands:

Distribution Command
Systemd (Ubuntu, CentOS 7+) sudo systemctl stop service_name
Init.d (CentOS 6, Debian) sudo service service_name stop
Upstart (Ubuntu 14.10 and earlier) sudo stop service_name

Replace service_name with the actual name of the service that is using the target.

3. Unmount Forcedly

If stopping the process or service is not an option, you can force unmount the target using the umount command with the -l or --lazy option. This allows the unmount operation to bypass the “target is busy” check. However, be cautious as this may lead to data loss or corruption if the target is indeed in use. Here’s the command:

umount -l /path/to/target

Replace /path/to/target with the actual path of the target you want to unmount.

Similar Commands

Here are a few similar commands that you may find useful when working with filesystems and devices:


The mount command is used to mount filesystems or devices to specific locations in the Linux directory tree.


The df command displays information about the disk space usage of filesystems.


The sync command flushes file system buffers to disk, ensuring data is written and preventing data loss.


The “umount target is busy” error can be frustrating, but with the methods provided in this guide, you should be able to identify and resolve the issue. Remember to always exercise caution when forcefully unmounting targets, as it may result in data loss or corruption.

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