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HOWTO: Mount a USB Thumbdrive in Linux

Linux Ubuntu Mount a USB Thumb DriveMount a USB Thumb Drive in Linux

You’ve plugged in your USB key and it hasn’t magically appeared on your desktop or in your ‘Places’.


In Linux you generally need to mount devices like hard disks, usb keys, external drives, cd drives, dvd drives, etc.



  • You’ve plugged in a USB stick/key/thumbdrive and it hasn’t appeared on your Linux desktop or in your Places
  • You’ve attached an external hard disk and it hasn’t mounted.



In this HOWTO I’ll describe how to manually mount a USB stick. This method works for other devices also. This solution was tried and tested on Ubuntu 8.04 using a 2GB Lenovo USB key and a 350GB Maxtor USB External HDD but should work for all other mountable devices in Linux. 

Here’s how to do it…

Step 1 – Mounting a USB Stick/Key Temporarily

  1. Plug in your USB stick
  2. Open a terminal window
    • In Ubuntu you can do this by clicking Applications > Accessories > Terminal
  3. Issue the following command pressing ENTER after each

    sudo -s

  4. Enter your password when requested
  5. A helpful tip.


    In the above line the sda1 portion of the command represents *a device utilising the SCSI protocol* either attached externally or inside your computer.


    This does not necessarily mean it’s a SCSI drive. Depending on how many drives/usb keys/etc you could have this reference could be different. If you mount the above and don’t see what you expect after issueing the ls command then you’ve most likely mounted the wrong drive. Try changing sda1 to sdb1 or sdc1, etc.


    Tip: If you successfully mounted your drive you can now close the terminal window and browse to the /mnt/usbykey folder in the graphical interface of Ubuntu. You’ll find it in ‘Places’.

  6. Issue the following commands pressing ENTER after each

    mkdir /mnt/usbkey


    mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbkey


    cd /mnt/usbkey



  7. You should now see a listing of all the files in the drive that you just mounted. If you don’t, then read the note below and repeat the steps above


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  1. Sealey Tools says:

    How to Restrict pendrive usage in USB ports?

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