How do I use my USB Flash drive in Linux?


Scientific Linux 4, our currently prefferred distribution, handles plug&play devices much better than older distributions. To mount a flash drive, just plug it into an available USB port. It should appear on the desktop automatically and is mounted at /media/DeviceVolumeName. The operating system will try to read the drive and determine it's volume name. To unmount, right-click on the desktop icon and select unmount. The device can now be unplugged. The device will only be mounted while the user is logged into the console. If the user logs out, then the device will be unmounted. Upon login, the device will be automatically mounted.
For older distributions like RedHat 9, RedHat Enterprise 3, and Scientific Linux 3, this can be somewhat tricky, as it depends on the individual configuration of each machine. Because of this, you will need to send a request to service-lepp@cornell.edu asking to have your machine configured to use your flash drive.

Once the Computer Group has replied and configured your machine, you will need to reboot your machine before the settings take effect. Then, after logging back into desktop, plug in your flash card, right mouse click anywhere on the desktop, and slide down to the "Disks" submenu. You should see the a button labeled flash in addition to the usual floppy and cdrom. Toggling this button will mount and unmount the named device (KDE might have slightly different menu setting).

After plugging in the flash drive, you should also be able to mount and unmount it using the "mount" command:
  • mount /mnt/flash
  • umount /mnt/flash

If everything is setup correctly and linux recognizes the filesystem on your drive (VFAT, ext2, and ext3), you should see the flash drive on your desktop (mounted at /mnt/flash).

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Topic revision: r4 - 25 Mar 2009, SeldenBall
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