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How exactly would I rename a USB drive?

I've read that you can go into the Disk Utility, the click on Edit Partition and there is an option to rename the label but I can't click in the area to rename.

Is there any other way?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

First, obtain the location of your USB drive:

sudo fdisk -l

Assuming that your device location is /dev/sdb1/:

You can safely check the current label without any side effects by issuing the following command:

sudo file /dev/sdb1 -s

Most USB sticks are formatted using FAT16/FAT32. To change the label via the prompt, use the mlabel command. The label of a FAT filesystem requires to be exactely 11 characters. No more, no less. When characters are omitted, spaces are added at the beginning, and seemingly random characters are appended at the end.

sudo mlabel -i /dev/sdb1 -s ::"LABEL HERE "

For other filesystems (rarely used for USB sticks), see this page.

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I also found when using the Disk Utility, I had to unmount the volume before it would allow me to rename the label. – Muhnamana Feb 13 '12 at 0:56
  1. Open Disk Utility
  2. Select the flash drive in the panel on the left
  3. Press the unmount volume button
  4. A button to edit the volume label appears

(p.s. Translating from Dutch here so button names may not be 100% correct.)

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This worked very well for me - and a lot easier. – Peter May 23 '13 at 12:30
I can't find this Utility in my application menu. What's its command line launcher please? – Slyx Feb 14 '14 at 15:07
@Slyx: i added an answer that uses the gparted GUI. – krumpelstiltskin Feb 9 '15 at 16:23
On my system the "Disk Utility" is just called "Disks". – Alexis Wilke Feb 23 at 20:36

None of the given answers worked for me on my 14.10 system. I used gparted as described in

  1. sudo apt-get install gparted
  2. open gparted
  3. choose the thumdrive from the dropdown in the top-right corner
  4. umount the volume (right-click on drive)
  5. right click and choose "label"
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Right click on the drive you want to edit to bring up the properties window. Then the name will be highlighted by default. Just type your name and click enter.

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Please tell me in which application I should do the right click. Thank you – guettli Oct 21 '14 at 8:22

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