Is there a way to execute a specific script or open a file with a particular program when inserting a USB stick on Ubuntu like the autorun.inf file in Windows ? If not, is there another way ?

EDIT: According to the answer I got I have created a file in the USB root folder named autorun with the above contents:

xdg-open myText.txt

I have also created a file named autorun.inf with the above contents:


The autorun.inf file specifies the USB icon. From the above autorun files only the autorun.inf seems to work. The autorun script file, when executed it displays the above message.

autorun error message

Am I doing something wrong or there are some more parameters to be configured in order to run the script ?

P.S: The files myText.txt and icon.ico are placed in the USB root folder.

Moreover, the autorun and autorun.inf file mode bits have been set to 755, using :

cd /path/to/usbFolder
chmod 755 autorun
chmod 755 autorun.inf

1 Answer 1


Open System Settings > Details > Removable Media and set Software to Run Software

Removable Media

Your USB Stick must be formatted with a native Linux filesystem like EXT4.

Create a shell script with the name autorun (or autorun.sh, doesn't matter) on your USB Stick and make it executable with chmod 755 autorun.

Next time you insert your USB Stick, Ubuntu will notify you about the autorun and ask if you would like to execute this.

Ask before autorun

To automatically open a document you can use xdg-open

xdg-open myDocument.odt

This will open myDocument.odt with the default application for this mime-type. So it will work the same with all other files, too.

To have a custom icon for your USB Stick you can create a autorun.inf file with following content


and place your icon as icon.png on the Stick.

autorun.inf on Ubuntu support this commands (take a look at autorun.inf on Wikipedia):



more music/special

more music/special
  • I tried this and when I click on run, I get this message. Also, is there a way to insert the icon property somewhere in the script or I should create an autorun.inf with contents [autorun] icon=icon.ico ?
    – pgmank
    Jun 30, 2015 at 2:09
  • Your script must start with #!/bin/sh. Sorry if this was irritating. The line above was just to show the content of the file autorun.
    – Germar
    Jun 30, 2015 at 19:13
  • The error message was displayed while the script contents where only the shell declaration and the command. I did not append the cat command on the top. I also tried to open gedit but the same error message appeared. Also, if autorun.inf is supported on Ubuntu, could it also open a script apart from setting the usb icon ?
    – pgmank
    Jun 30, 2015 at 20:56
  • Please post your full script (edit your Question). No, autorun.inf can not run a script (open=... doesn't work).
    – Germar
    Jun 30, 2015 at 21:05
  • 1
    That would be very insecure as it would start programms from every unknown device which could have bin prepared to attack you. I wouldn't recomment doing that.
    – Germar
    Sep 16, 2016 at 11:28

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