241

I only have access to the command line.
I need to backup my data (on the user folder) to a pen (USB DOK).

  • How can I mount a flash drive manually?
  • What should be the copy command?
337

1. Find what the drive is called

You'll need to know what the drive is called to mount it. To do that fire off one of the following (ranked in order of my preference):

lsblk
sudo blkid
sudo fdisk -l

You're looking for a partition that should look something like: /dev/sdb1. The more disks you have the higher the letter this is likely to be. Anyway, find it and remember what it's called.

2. Create a mount point (optional)

This needs to be mounted into the filesystem somewhere. You can usually use /mnt/ if you're being lazy and nothing else is mounted there but otherwise you'll want to create a new directory:

sudo  mkdir /media/usb

3. Mount!

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb

When you're done, just fire off:

sudo umount /media/usb

This answer is almost 6 years old and while the core of it still works, things like fdisk -l aren't the most user-friendly options. There are also new mechanisms in higher stacks for mounting devices in a sane and standard way which might not always be available.

So I've added some polish from the other answers. While you're reading this footnote and you're doing this on a desktop system, there definitely are arguments for using udisksctl, per wecac's answer. This mounts in the same way the desktop does —creating your own /media/$USER/device directory— but I think there are still arguments for a static mountpoint, especially when you don't want the path to change.

Udisks also relies on D-Bus, so might not be available everywhere.

  • the main disadvantage of this method is that it mounts the device as root. if the device is FAT formatted then the user won't be able to write to it. the /media/$USER/device mountpoint will also always be the same – eMBee May 30 '18 at 19:49
40

Install pmount. Mounts disks in /media/

pmount /dev/sdb1
pumount /dev/sdb1

No sudo needed. Replace "sdb1" with your specific device path. For more information see the manpage:

pmount  ("policy mount") is a wrapper around the standard mount program
which permits normal users to mount removable devices without a  match-
ing /etc/fstab entry.

pmount is invoked like this:

pmount device [ label ]

This  will  mount  device  to a directory below /media if policy is met
(see below). If label is given, the mount point will  be  /media/label,
otherwise it will be /media/device.
  • This worked when mount insisted on mounting my drive read-only. – Jonathan Landrum Jun 16 '18 at 0:05
11

In addition to using the standard mount command (which requires root) you can mount drives using udisks and dbus with your standard user.

To do this it is useful (but not required) to know a few things about the drive first:

  1. What device it is (i.e. /dev/sdb1)
  2. what filesystem it uses.

Knowing these you can use a simple command to mount a drive from the command line.

gdbus call --system --dest org.freedesktop.UDisks --object-path /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/<device> --method org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device.FilesystemMount "<filesystem>" []

this call should echo the path it is mounted at if the mount succeeds.

To unmount drives mounted in this way you can run:

gdbus call --system --dest org.freedesktop.UDisks --object-path /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/<device> --method org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device.FilesystemUnmount []

N.B. the <device> is simply the end of the path to it. So for example if what you want to mount is at /dev/sdb2 then you would put sdb2 in place of <device>.


If you do not know which device it is or what filesystem it uses do not fear. You can easily print out all that information with this little command:

gdbus introspect --system --dest org.freedesktop.UDisks --object-path /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices --recurse --only-properties | grep -E "(readonly .+ (IdLabel|IdType|Device(IsMounted|IsDrive|File) ).*|\}|.*\{)"

This will print out something like this:

node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices {
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = '';
        readonly s IdUsage = '';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda1 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = 'SYSTEM';
        readonly s IdType = 'ntfs';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda1';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda2 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = 'Windows7';
        readonly s IdType = 'ntfs';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = true;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda2';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda3 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = 'Recovery';
        readonly s IdType = 'ntfs';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda3';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda4 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = '';
        readonly s IdUsage = '';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda4';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda5 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = 'ext4';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = true;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda5';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda6 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = 'swap';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'other';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda6';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sda7 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = 'ext4';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = true;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sda7';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sdb {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = '';
        readonly s IdUsage = '';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sdb';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sdb1 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = 'USB DRIVE';
        readonly s IdType = 'vfat';
        readonly s IdUsage = 'filesystem';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sdb1';
    };
  };
  node /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sr0 {
    interface org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device {
        readonly s IdLabel = '';
        readonly s IdType = '';
        readonly s IdUsage = '';
        readonly b DeviceIsMounted = false;
        readonly s DeviceFile = '/dev/sr0';
    };
  };
};

Those that have IdUsage = 'filesystem' may be mounted using the above command.

This means that, for example, if i wanted to mount the device 'USB DRIVE' i would run the command

gdbus call --system --dest org.freedesktop.UDisks --object-path /org/freedesktop/UDisks/devices/sdb1 --method org.freedesktop.UDisks.Device.FilesystemMount "vfat" []

These commands all work using the dbus messaging system, the same way that Nautilus and other file managers auto-mount things. In these commands we are sending various objects (i.e. /org/freedesktop/... messages asking them to mount and unmount certain devices. They might or might not do this depending on the permissions one has been given in PolicyKit.

Using similar commands one can control almost every aspect of ones experience in Ubuntu and simulate most system programs and functions (i.e. shutdown, volume change, etc.).

  • 1
    The 2015 way is gdbus introspect --system --dest org.freedesktop.UDisks2 --object-path /org/freedesktop/UDisks2/drives --recurse --only-properties – Nick Alexander Jun 10 '15 at 22:09
11

Use udisksctl from package=udisks2 (in both Ubuntu and Debian). Procedure is:

  1. Find the ID of the block device you want to mount, using lsblk:

    user@machine:~$ lsblk
    NAME   MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
    sda      8:0    0   1.8T  0 disk
    ├─sda1   8:1    0  19.1M  0 part /boot/efi
    ├─sda2   8:2    0   1.8T  0 part
    └─sda3   8:3    0    16G  0 part [SWAP]
    sdb      8:16   0 931.5G  0 disk
    ├─sdb1   8:17   0    37M  0 part
    ├─sdb2   8:18   0  15.9G  0 part [SWAP]
    └─sdb3   8:19   0 915.7G  0 part /
    sdc      8:32   1  14.4G  0 disk
    └─sdc1   8:33   1  14.4G  0 part
    sdd      8:48   0   1.8T  0 disk
    └─sdd1   8:49   0   1.8T  0 part
    

    From its size, /dev/sdc1 seems to be the USB drive I want to mount.

  2. Use udisksctl to mount the device. Note that -b == --block-device (to reduce typing) but I prefer long options for documentation:

    user@machine:~$ udisksctl mount --block-device /dev/sdc1
    ==== AUTHENTICATING FOR org.freedesktop.udisks2.filesystem-mount ===
    Authentication is required to mount Kingston DT microDuo 3C (/dev/sdc1)
    Multiple identities can be used for authentication:
     1.  XXXXX,,, (user)
     2.  ,,, (YYYYY)
    Choose identity to authenticate as (1-2): 1
    Password:
    ==== AUTHENTICATION COMPLETE ===
    Mounted /dev/sdc1 at /media/user/USBDRIVELABEL.
    

Addressing Hans Deragon's comment below: you can also tell udisksctl to do --no-user-interaction. It does not attempt to authenticate the user, which usually "just works":

user@machine:~$ udisksctl mount --block-device /dev/sdc1 --no-user-interaction
# possibly some complaining here about I/O charset or need to run `fsck`
Mounted /dev/sdc1 at /media/user/USBDRIVELABEL.
  • What's the --object-path that it asks for? – CMCDragonkai Mar 28 at 4:48
3

You can also automatically mount USB devices on Ubuntu Server with the help of USBmount.

Make sure you run apt-get update/upgrade before starting the installation:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Now install USBmount from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install usbmount

USBmount mounts all USB drives in /media/usb* (usb0, usb1, usb2 ...)

Now plug a USB drive and wait for it to be detected and mounted. As long as the host OS supports the File System it should be mounted.

To verify whether the USB drive was mounted correctly you can use df -h to view all available drives and their respective mount points

To un-mount a drive you can use umount.

sudo umount /media/usb0
2

That's simple. When I want to use a usb drive in terminal I do this:

Create a folder in /media with:

mkdir /media/mountDrive 

This folder will be used for the mount point. Use this command:

sudo mount /dev/sdd1 /media/mountDrive 

sdd1 is the first partition of my USB. Then you can navigate to folder you already mounted with

cd /media/mountDrive

If you want to list the files in drive you can use the ls command.

To unmount the drive you can use

sudo umount /dev/sdd1

Note that in my system the usb drive is /dev/sdd1, but in your system it may be something different. To find out what it is use the df command to see all disks connected at the present time.

protected by Community Feb 9 '15 at 18:25

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