How can I check via shell command if a specific external disk is connected? (by label or device id)


To test whether a specific device is connected you can use grep with the -q option to search the output of lsusb or lsblk, e.g.

lsblk -f | grep -wq $uuid && echo yes || echo no

devicename="some Inc. Keyboard"
lsusb | grep -q "$devicename" && echo yes || echo no

or with if:

if lsblk -f | grep -wq $uuid; then
  echo yes
  echo no

Both can be used no matter whether the device is mounted.

  • For mounted partitions - lsblk -f | grep f9035fce-b3a1-4aee-80ef-44e432b78fdb | grep / -q && echo yes || echo no . – N0rbert Nov 20 '17 at 10:33
  • Of course, I used UUID which you provided :) – N0rbert Nov 20 '17 at 10:35

/dev/disk/ contains the following directories, which contain symbolic link to real devices. This links are dynamically created and removed by udev, so they're a are always up-to-date:

  • by-id
  • by-partlabel
  • by-partuuid
  • by-path
  • by-uuid

So checking for the existence of the symlink will use less resources.

Here is an example testing the presence of a disk using its serial number:

test -e /dev/disk/by-id/wwn-0x5002538d408be9e0 && echo yes || echo no

In my backup script I even don't check the disk presence, I only check the result of the mount command like this:


lsusb for listing connected usb device if your external disk is connected through USB interface.

lsblk -f to list block devices, UUIDs and their mount-points as your external disk is a block device.

  • 1
    @N0rbert why do you need -f to list mount points? The default output lists them anyway – muru Nov 20 '17 at 10:27

findfs is made for this. You can search by :

  • FS label

    findfs LABEL="Ubuntu" &>/dev/null
  • FS uuid

    findfs UUID="f9035fce-b3a1-4aee-80ef-44e432b78fdb" &>/dev/null
  • GPT label

    findfs PARTLABEL="EFI system partition" &>/dev/null
  • GPT uuid

    findfs PARTUUID="85e66d2f-3709-4060-938e-ffe836433cc9" &>/dev/null

Searches are case sensitive. If multiple partitions match, only the last one is displayed.

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