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Mount a USB flash drive without the device ID

Novell Cool Solutions: Tip
By Curtis Parker

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Posted: 6 Dec 2004

You want to mount a USB flash drive, but you don't know what the device ID is.


  • On SUSE Professional 9.1, USB flash drives typically show up as /dev/sda1. So the mount command would be: mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb (be sure to mkdir the /mnt/usb directory first). But on other older versions of SUSE or other Linux distros, the device ID may be different.
  • SUSE Professional 9.0 and most newer distros will auto-mount the flash drive. On SUSE Professional 9.1, it will be mounted as "/media/usb-storage-*". The * will be replace by the device serial number.
  • To find out what it is for sure, insert the flash drive in the USB port and run this command:dmesg
  • Example:

    The output of the "dmesg" command may look something like this:

    usb 1-1: new full speed USB device using address 2
    usb 1-1: Product: AVB Mobile Drive 2.0
    usb 1-1: Manufacturer: Power by USB
    usb 1-1: SerialNumber: A011916075442
    Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
    scsi0 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
    Vendor: AVB Model: Mobile Drive 2.0  Rev:
    Type:   Direct-Access  ANSI SCSI revision: 02
    SCSI device sda: 2015232 512-byte hdwr sectors (1032 MB)
    sda: assuming Write Enabled
    sda: assuming drive cache: write through
    sda: sda1
    Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
    Attached scsi generic sg0 at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0,  type 0
    usb Mass Storage device found at 2
    usbcore: registered new driver USB-storage
    usb Mass Storage support registered

    Note the line: sda: sda1. This lets you know that /dev/sda1 is the device name.

  • You can insert this line in the /etc/fstab file: /dev/sda1 /mnt/usb vfat noauto,user 0 0
  • "noauto" tells Linux not to mount on bootup because you won't always have the flash drive plugged in when you boot up. To mount the flash drive simply type: mount /mnt/usb
  • Linux will find the rest of the parameters in the fstab file and complete the mount.

Note: you should unmount the flash drive before you pull it out:umount /mnt/usb

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