Many external hard drives have a backup-button with a OTB function for backing up stuff. An example is the "Sharkoon Quickstore Portable".

So how does this button works?

Is there a vendor neutral standard?

Does it need a special driver?

How can I assign a action to this button? (For example start the deja-dup backup)

  • Is there a USB-harddrive available which supports this button under Ubuntu? Aug 9, 2011 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


I have a drive with a button like this but due to my transient state the drive is in storage (I feel like there's a joke to be had there) and I have never researched the button before. What I'm about to say could be completely incorrect.

If I were to guess what was going on, I'd say the drive consisted of three things:

  • A USB hub controller
  • A USB storage controller
  • A simple USB HID device

You can check this with lsusb or sudo lshw | less.

The hub and storage device will be as standard as possible so that anything can use them. The HID button might work in Linux without a driver but it won't be connected up to any known event. If it does automatically work, it should have registered a device in /dev/input/. If that's a case, it's fairly simple to hook an event around it.

If there isn't a device registered automatically, it might be a very non-standard USB device that needs a custom driver for itself. I can't help you past this stage.

In Windows, you would install some software that would likely include the driver for the HID device, add a listener and tie the lot together.

  • lsusb gives me: Bus 002 Device 004: ID 14cd:6116 Super Top and sudo lshw | less doesn't show up anything useful also there is no entry in /dev/input/ is there any usb debuging util? Aug 6, 2011 at 14:36
  • Ok I tried wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/Debugging/USB but no success... Aug 6, 2011 at 14:45
  • @Sebastian is that the only new USB device shown in lsusb when you plug it in?
    – Oli
    Aug 6, 2011 at 15:18
  • Yes did lsusb > test1 and lsusb > test2 after unplugging and the Line above was the diff... Aug 7, 2011 at 10:47

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