David R Newman

Mounting a FAT16 USB pen on Linux (Debian)

This is something that I was having great problems with until I found that command I needed to get it working. Here is how you do it

  1. Insert the USB.
  2. Type the following:
    dmesg | tail -n 20
    This should tell you the following things.
    1. Has the USB device been detected, if so a message similar to the following should be displayed.
      usb-storage: device found at 8
      usb-storage: waiting for device to settle before scanning
        Vendor:           Model: USB DISK 2.0      Rev: PMAP
        Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 00
    2. There should also be some information about where the drive has been mounted initially, this should be something like this:
      sde: sde1
  3. If this hasn't work you should make sure you have the most current version of usbmount install:
    apt-get install usbmount
    This will only work if you are SUed as root. After doing this startover from step 1.
  4. If this has worked type in the following command
     mount -t vfat /dev/sde1 /media/usb
    Notice how the location to mount i.e. "/dev/sde1" is the same as the location shown in dmesg. You may choose to mount somewhere else other than "/media/usb" but this is the standard place to mount for the first USB device.
  5. Before removing the USB pen, remember to unmount. Use the following command:
    umount /media/usb
    Make sure that you have left the usb directory before doing this or it will say that the drive is busy.

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Page written by David R Newman (drn[at]ecs.soton.ac.uk). Last updated June 27 2018 14:44:07.