Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I stuck an SD card in the card reader, imported my photos with Shotwell, deleted the photos from the card (again, with Shotwell), then right-clicked on the desktop icon and safely removed the card.

I then physically removed the card and inserted another. The computer is ignoring it. How can I tell Ubuntu that there's a new card in there now and I want to look at it? I know that rebooting the computer will work, and I'll do that this time, but there must be a better way for next time.

share|improve this question
I too have some problem with SD cards. I run tail -f /var/log/syslog in a terminal and insert and eject manually the card a couple of times, until the log file show it is seen. – enzotib Aug 22 '11 at 18:51
up vote 0 down vote accepted

There is a similar report on launchpad.

For those affected, the suggestion in the report is not to use "Safely Extract Drive" (Natty) or "Safely Remove" (Precise) (as shown in the picture below) but to unmount the drive from the command line.

enter image description here

The issue is that where a USB memory stick is unmounted before removal (i.e. use Safely Extract Drive), SD cards use-case are apparently treated differently - the use case is that SDxx memory cards are expected to be ejected, leaving the card reader mounted and ready to read the next card inserted.

The workaround for is to use the terminal:

Use mount -l to list your mounts - your SD card will be reported like the following extract:

/dev/sdb1 on /media/7804-99AA type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=udisks,uid=1000,gid=1000,shortname=mixed,dmask=0077,utf8=1,showexec,flush)

unmount using the device name shown

umount /dev/sdb1

Note - if this affects you, subscribe to the launchpad report. During testing with 12.04 I'm perhaps fortunate to be unaffected, but there is a comment in the thread that a user using 12.04 was also affected.

Linked Question: - What is the difference between Eject and Safely Remove Device

share|improve this answer

Unfortunately it seems that at the very moment when you choose the "Safely remove" option, what is "safely removed" is the device itself. I am not sure if this is a common behavior for this items, but having in mind that at the time when we "safely remove" a USB drive from the slot, what we are removing is the physical item.

May be we need a revision on that but meanwhile you can give a try to "eject" instead of "Safely remove", which is doing the trick for me. I am using this:

Bus 003 Device 002: ID 1019:0c55 Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) Flash Reader, Desknote UCR-61S2B

And I experience the same when "Safely remove" the device (instead of the SD card). Behavior that is not observed when ejecting.

I should warn you that you must be careful when you "eject" your device, you may lose some data if the file transfer has not finished yet. But this can happen even if you "Safely remove" or unplug the memory card and the file transfer hasn't finished yet.

Keep me informed on your issue, I will appreciate a lot your feedback.

Good luck!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.