USB storage devices

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This document describes how to use the popular USB memory sticks with Linux. However, it is also valid for other devices such as digital cameras that act as if they were just a USB storage device.

If you have an up-to-date system with the standard Arch kernel and a modern Desktop environment your device should just show up on your desktop, with no need to open a console.

Auto-mounting with udisks

This is the easiest and most frequently used method. It is used by many desktop environments, but can be used separately too. See Udisks for details.

Manual mounting

Note: Before you decide that Arch Linux does not mount your USB device, be sure to check all available ports. Some ports might not share the same controller, preventing you from mounting the device.

Getting a kernel that supports usb_storage

If you do not use a custom-made kernel, you are ready to go, for all Arch Linux stock kernels are properly configured. If you do use a custom-made kernel, ensure it is compiled with SCSI-Support, SCSI-Disk-Support and usb_storage. If you use the latest udev, you may just plug your device in and the system will automatically load all necessary kernel modules.

Identifying device

First thing one need to access storage device is its identifier assigned by kernel. See fstab#Identifying filesystems for details.

Tip: To see which device is your USB device, you can compare the output of lsblk -f (explained in the linked article) when the USB device is connected and when it is unconnected.

Mounting USB memory

You need to create the directory in which you are going to mount the device:

# mkdir /mnt/usbstick

As root

Mount the device as root with this command (do not forget to replace device_node by the path you found):

# mount device_node /mnt/usbstick

or

# mount -U UUID /mnt/usbstick

If mount does not recognize the format of the device you can try to use the -t argument, see man mount for details.

Note:
  • If mounting your stick does not work you can try to repartition it, see Format a device.
  • See [1] for example mount/unmount scripts using sudo.

As normal user with mount

If you want non-root users to be able to write to the USB stick, you can issue the following command:

# mount -o gid=users,fmask=113,dmask=002 /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbstick

As normal user with fstab

See Fstab#Writing to FAT32 as Normal User if you want normal user to do the mount/unmount action.