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udev replaces the functionality of both hotplug and hwdetect.

From Wikipedia article:

"Udev is the device manager for the Linux kernel. Primarily, it manages device nodes in /dev. It is the successor of devfs and hotplug, which means that it handles the /dev directory and all user space actions when adding/removing devices, including firmware load."

Udev loads kernel modules by utilizing coding parallelism to provide a potential performance advantage versus loading these modules serially. The modules are therefore loaded asynchronously. The inherent disadvantage of this method is that udev does not always load modules in the same order on each boot. If the machine has multiple block devices, this may manifest itself in the form of device nodes changing designations randomly. For example, if the machine has two hard drives, /dev/sda may randomly become /dev/sdb. See below for more info on this.


Udev is now part of systemd and is installed by default on Arch Linux systems.

About udev rules

Udev rules written by the administrator go in /etc/udev/rules.d/, their file name has to end with .rules. The udev rules shipped with various packages are found in /usr/lib/udev/rules.d/. If there are two files by the same name under /usr/lib and /etc, the ones in /etc take precedence.

Writing udev rules

This is an example of a rule that places a symlink /dev/video-cam1 when a webcamera is connected. First, we have found out that this camera is connected and has loaded with the device /dev/video2. The reason for writing this rule is that at the next boot the device might just as well show up under a different name like /dev/video0.

# udevadm info -a -p $(udevadm info -q path -n /dev/video2)
Udevadm info starts with the device specified by the devpath and then
walks up the chain of parent devices. It prints for every device
found, all possible attributes in the udev rules key format.
A rule to match, can be composed by the attributes of the device
and the attributes from one single parent device.

  looking at device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.1/usb3/3-2/3-2:1.0/video4linux/video2':
  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.1/usb3/3-2/3-2:1.0':
  looking at parent device '/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:04.1/usb3/3-2':
    ATTRS{manufacturer}=="OmniVision Technologies, Inc."
    ATTRS{product}=="USB Camera"

From the video4linux device we use KERNEL=="video2" and SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", then we match the webcam using vendor and product ID's from the usb parent SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="05a9" and ATTRS{idProduct}=="4519".

KERNEL=="video[0-9]*", SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", \
        ATTRS{idVendor}=="05a9", ATTRS{idProduct}=="4519", SYMLINK+="video-cam1"

In the example above we create a symlink using SYMLINK+="video-cam1" but we could easily set user OWNER="john" or group using GROUP="video" or set the permissions using MODE="0660"

However, if you intend to write a rule to do something when a device is being removed, be aware that device attributes may not be accessible. In this case, you will have to work with preset device environment variables. To monitor those environment variables, execute the following command while unplugging your device:

# udevadm monitor --environment --udev

In this command's output, you will see value pairs such as ID_VENDOR_ID and ID_MODEL_ID, which match your previously used attributes "idVendor" and "idProduct". A rule that uses device environment variables may look like this:

ACTION=="remove", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", \
        ENV{ID_VENDOR_ID}=="05a9", ENV{ID_MODEL_ID}=="4519", RUN+="/path/to/your/script"

List attributes of a device

To get a list of all of the attributes of a device you can use to write rules, run this command:

# udevadm info -a -n [device name]

Replace [device name] with the device present in the system, such as /dev/sda or /dev/ttyUSB0.

If you do not know the device name you can also list all attributes of a specific system path:

# udevadm info -a -p /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0

Testing rules before loading

# udevadm test $(udevadm info -q path -n [device name]) 2>&1

This will not perform all actions in your new rules but it will however process symlink rules on existing devices which might come in handy if you are unable to load them otherwise. You can also directly provide the path to the device you want to test the udev rule for:

# udevadm test /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/

Loading new rules

Udev automatically detects changes to rules files, so changes take effect immediately without requiring udev to be restarted. However, the rules are not re-triggered automatically on already existing devices. Hot-pluggable devices, such as USB devices, will probably have to be reconnected for the new rules to take effect, or at least unloading and reloading the ohci-hcd and ehci-hcd kernel modules and thereby reloading all USB drivers.

If rules fail to reload automatically

# udevadm control --reload-rules

To manually force udev to trigger your rules

# udevadm trigger


If you want to mount removable drives please do not call 'mount' from udev rule. In case of fuse filesystems (e.g. ntfs-3g) you'll get "Transport endpoint not connected" error. Instead use udisks that handles automount correctly.

There are two incompatible versions, udisks and udisks2, a compatibility-breaking rewrite of udisks. Depending on your DE, one of the following version will be needed (should already be installed as a dependency):

There is no need for any additional rules either way. As an extra bonus you can remove HAL if you were only using that for auto mounting purposes.

Automounting udisks wrappers

A udisks wrapper has the advantage of being very easy to install and needing no (or minimal) configuration. The wrapper will automatically mount things like CDs and flash drives.

  • udevil - udevil "mounts and unmounts removable devices without a password, shows device info, and monitors device changes". It is written in C and can replace UDisks and includes devmon, which can be installed separately from the AUR (devmonAUR). It can also selectively automatically start applications or execute commands after mounting, ignore specified devices and volume labels, and unmount removable drives.
  • ldmAUR - A lightweight daemon that mounts usb drives, cds, dvds or floppys automagically. [1]
  • udiskie - Written in Python. Enables automatic mounting and unmounting by any user.
  • udisksevtAUR - Written in Haskell. Enables automatic mounting by any user. Designed to be integrated with traydeviceAUR.
  • udisksvmAUR - A GUI UDisks wrapper which uses the udisks2 dbus interface. It is written in python using the gobject introspection approach. It is independent of any file manager. It shows system tray icons with a right-click menu and notifications of action results. See udisksvm community forum thread for more explanations.
  • You can easily automount and eject removable devices with the combination of pmount, udisks2 and spacefm. Note you have to run spacefm in daemon mode with spacefm -d & in your startup scripts, ~/.xinitrc or ~/.xsession, to get automounting. You can also mount internal disks by adding them to /etc/pmount.allow.

Udisks shell functions

While udisks includes a simple method of (un)mounting devices via command-line, it can be tiresome to type the commands out each time. These shell functions will generally shorten and ease command-line usage.

udisks2 - mount to /media

By default, udisks2 mounts removable drives into /run/media/$USER/ instead of /media/. If you don't like this behaviour, use this rule:

ENV{ID_FS_USAGE}=="filesystem|other|crypto", ENV{UDISKS_FILESYSTEM_SHARED}="1"

Tips and tricks

Accessing firmware programmers and USB virtual comm devices

The following ruleset will allow normal users (within the "users" group) the ability to access the USBtinyISP USB programmer for AVR microcontrollers and a generic (SiLabs CP2102) USB to UART adapter, the Atmel AVR Dragon programmer, and the Atmel AVR ISP mkII. Adjust the permissions accordingly. Verified as of 31-10-2012.

# USBtinyISP Programmer rules
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1781", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0c9f", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="16c0", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0479", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"
# USBasp Programmer rules http://www.fischl.de/usbasp/
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="16c0", ATTRS{idProduct}=="05dc", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

# Mdfly.com Generic (SiLabs CP2102) 3.3v/5v USB VComm adapter
SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="10c4", ATTRS{idProduct}=="ea60", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

#Atmel AVR Dragon (dragon_isp) rules
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="03eb", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2107", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="03eb", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2103", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

#Atmel Corp. AVR ISP mkII
SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="03eb", ATTRS{idProduct}=="2104", GROUP="users", MODE="0666"

Execute on USB insert

See the Execute on USB insert article or the devmon wrapper script.

Detect new eSATA drives

If your eSATA drive isn't detected when you plug it in, there are a few things you can try. You can reboot with the eSATA plugged in. Or you could try

# echo 0 0 0 | tee /sys/class/scsi_host/host*/scan

Or you could install scsiadd (from the AUR) and try

# scsiadd -s

Hopefully, your drive is now in /dev. If it doesn't, you could try the above commands while running

# udevadm monitor

to see if anything is actually happening.

Mark internal SATA ports as eSATA

If you connected a eSATA bay or an other eSATA adapter the system will still recognize this disk as an internal SATA drive. GNOME and KDE will ask you for your root password all the time. The following rule will mark the specified SATA-Port as an external eSATA-Port. With that, a normal GNOME user can connect their eSATA drives to that port like a USB drive, without any root password and so on.

DEVPATH=="/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:1f.2/host4/*", ENV{UDISKS_SYSTEM}="0"
Note: The DEVPATH can be found after connection the eSATA drive with the following commands (replace sdb accordingly):
# udevadm info -q path -n /dev/sdb
# find /sys/devices/ -name sdb

Setting static device names

Because udev loads all modules asynchronously, they are initialized in a different order. This can result in devices randomly switching names. A udev rule can be added to use static device names:

iscsi device

Test the output from scsi_id:

# /usr/lib/udev/scsi_id --whitelisted --replace-whitespace --device=/dev/sdb
#The iscsi device rules.
#This will create an iscsi device for each of the targets.
KERNEL=="sd*", SUBSYSTEM=="block", \
     PROGRAM="/usr/lib/udev/scsi_id --whitelisted --replace-whitespace /dev/$name", \ RESULT=="3600601607db11e0013ab5a8e371ce111", \

Video devices

For setting up the webcam in the first place, refer to Webcam configuration.

Using multiple webcams, useful for example with motion (software motion detector which grabs images from video4linux devices and/or from webcams), will assign video devices as /dev/video0..n randomly on boot. The recommended solution is to create symlinks using an udev rule (as in the example in Writing udev rules).

KERNEL=="video[0-9]*", SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="05a9", ATTRS{idProduct}=="4519", SYMLINK+="video-cam1"
KERNEL=="video[0-9]*", SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="046d", ATTRS{idProduct}=="08f6", SYMLINK+="video-cam2"
KERNEL=="video[0-9]*", SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="046d", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0840", SYMLINK+="video-cam3"
Note: Using names other than "/dev/video*" will break preloading of v4l1compat.so and perhaps v4l2convert.so.


If you use multiple printers, /dev/lp[0-9] devices will be assigned randomly on boot, which will break e.g. CUPS configuration.

You can create following rule, which will create symlinks under /dev/lp/by-id and /dev/lp/by-path, similar to Persistent block device naming scheme:

ACTION=="remove", GOTO="persistent_printer_end"

# This should not be necessary
#KERNEL!="lp*", GOTO="persistent_printer_end"

SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", IMPORT{builtin}="usb_id"
ENV{ID_TYPE}!="printer", GOTO="persistent_printer_end"

ENV{ID_SERIAL}=="?*", SYMLINK+="lp/by-id/$env{ID_BUS}-$env{ID_SERIAL}"

ENV{ID_PATH}=="?*", SYMLINK+="lp/by-path/$env{ID_PATH}"


Running HAL

Some programs still require HAL (like Flash DRM content). Hal can be installed from halAUR and hal-infoAUR.

Using Systemd: one can start and stop the hal service using the following systemd commands:

Start HAL: # systemctl start hal.service

Stop HAL: # systemctl stop hal.service

Alternatively, one can use the following script:


## written by Mark Lee <bluerider>
## using information from <https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Chromium#Google_Play_.26_Flash>

## Start and stop Hal service on command for Google Play Movie service

function main () {  ## run the main insertion function
     clear-cache;  ## remove adobe cache
     start-hal;  ## start the hal daemon
     read -p "Press 'enter' to stop hal";  ## pause the command line with a read line
     stop-hal;  ## stop the hal daemon

function clear-cache () {  ## remove adobe cache
     cd ~/.adobe/Flash_Player;  ## go to Flash player user directory
     rm -rf NativeCache AssetCache APSPrivateData2;  ## remove cache

function start-hal () {  ## start the hal daemon
     sudo systemctl start hal.service && ( ## systemd : start hal daemon
          echo "Started hal service..."
) || (
          echo "Failed to start hal service!") 

function stop-hal () {  ## stop the hal daemon
sudo systemctl stop hal.service && (  ## systemd : stop hal daemon
          echo "Stopped hal service..."
     ) || (
          echo "Failed to stop hal service!"

main;  ## run the main insertion function

Waking from suspend with USB device

First, find vendor and product ID of your device, for example

# lsusb | grep Logitech
Bus 007 Device 002: ID 046d:c52b Logitech, Inc. Unifying Receiver

Now change the power/wakeup attribute of the device and the USB controller it's connected to, which is in this case driver/usb7/power/wakeup. Use the following rule:

ACTION=="add", SUBSYSTEM=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="046d", ATTRS{idProduct}=="c52b", ATTR{power/wakeup}="enabled", ATTR{driver/usb7/power/wakeup}="enabled"
Note: Also make sure the USB controller is enabled in /proc/acpi/wakeup.


Blacklisting modules

In rare cases, udev can make mistakes and load the wrong modules. To prevent it from doing this, you can blacklist modules. Once blacklisted, udev will never load that module. See blacklisting. Not at boot-time or later on when a hotplug event is received (eg, you plug in your USB flash drive).

udevd hangs at boot

After migrating to LDAP or updating an LDAP-backed system udevd can hang at boot at the message "Starting UDev Daemon". This is usually caused by udevd trying to look up a name from LDAP but failing, because the network is not up yet. The solution is to ensure that all system group names are present locally.

Extract the group names referenced in udev rules and the group names actually present on the system:

# fgrep -r GROUP /etc/udev/rules.d/ /usr/lib/udev/rules.d | perl -nle '/GROUP\s*=\s*"(.*?)"/ && print $1;' | sort | uniq > udev_groups
# cut -f1 -d: /etc/gshadow /etc/group | sort | uniq > present_groups

To see the differences, do a side-by-side diff:

# diff -y present_groups udev_groups
network							      <
nobody							      <
ntp							      <
optical								optical
power							      |	pcscd
rfkill							      <
root								root
scanner								scanner
smmsp							      <
storage								storage

In this case, the pcscd group is for some reason not present in the system. Add the missing groups:

# groupadd pcscd

Also, make sure that local resources are looked up before resorting to LDAP. /etc/nsswitch.conf should contain the following line:

group: files ldap

Known problems with hardware

BusLogic devices can be broken and will cause a freeze during startup

This is a kernel bug and no fix has been provided yet.

Some devices, that should be treated as removable, are not

Create a custom udev rule, setting UDISKS_SYSTEM_INTERNAL=0. For more details, see the manpage of udisks.

Known problems with auto-loading

Sound problems with some modules not loaded automatically

Some users have traced this problem to old entries in /etc/modprobe.d/sound.conf. Try cleaning that file out and trying again.

Note: Since udev>=171, the OSS emulation modules (snd_seq_oss, snd_pcm_oss, snd_mixer_oss) are not automatically loaded by default.

Known problems for custom kernel users

Udev doesn't start at all

Make sure you have a kernel version later than or equal to 2.6.32. Earlier kernels do not have the necessary uevent stuff that udev needs for auto-loading.

IDE CD/DVD-drive support

Starting with version 170, udev doesn't support CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drives, which are loaded as traditional IDE drives with the ide_cd_mod module and show up as /dev/hd*. The drive remains usable for tools which access the hardware directly, like cdparanoia, but is invisible for higher userspace programs, like KDE.

A cause for the loading of the ide_cd_mod module prior to others, like sr_mod, could be e.g. that you have for some reason the module piix loaded with your initramfs. In that case you can just replace it with ata_piix in your /etc/mkinitcpio.conf.

Optical drives have group ID set to "disk"

If the group ID of your optical drive is set to disk and you want to have it set to optical, you have to create a custom udev rule:

# permissions for IDE CD devices
SUBSYSTEMS=="ide", KERNEL=="hd[a-z]", ATTR{removable}=="1", ATTRS{media}=="cdrom*", GROUP="optical"

# permissions for SCSI CD devices
SUBSYSTEMS=="scsi", KERNEL=="s[rg][0-9]*", ATTRS{type}=="5", GROUP="optical"

See also