Mounting a USB Memory Stick

By: coolguys

December 8, 2006 12:00 am





Scott Morris shares a solution he provided for a user on how to mount a USB stick on a SUSE machine.


I have downloaded an ISO file I want to burn to CD but the PC that is connected to the net does not have a CD Burner.

Now I need to move the software on to a memory stick so that I can burn the CD on my laptop. I can’t see the USB port even when I put in the memory stick. So I am guessing that I need to “mount” it as root?

Also, do I need to “unmount” it when I have finished or can I just remove the memory stick?


Assumptions that I am making:

There is a computer with an ISO image on it. This computer has SUSE on it. You want to mount the USB stick on this computer and copy the ISO to it, then unmount the USB stick. Also, when you plug the USB stick in, it should automatically detect it and open the contents in a window. In our scenario, we are assuming that this is not the case.

To mount the USB stick on your SUSE machine:

Open a terminal window.

Type ‘cat /proc/partitions‘ and press ENTER. You will see something like:

[2138][scott@tomahawk:~]$ cat /proc/partitions
major minor  #blocks  name

   3     0  195360984 hda
   3     1      40131 hda1
   3     2    1959930 hda2
   3     3   29302560 hda3
   3     4  164055780 hda4

Now, plug the USB stick in, and run this command again:

[2140][scott@tomahawk:~]$ cat /proc/partitions
major minor  #blocks  name

   3     0  195360984 hda
   3     1      40131 hda1
   3     2    1959930 hda2
   3     3   29302560 hda3
   3     4  164055780 hda4
   8     0     508928 sda
   8     1     508911 sda1

You see that ‘sda’ and ‘sda1’ are new entries in this list. You don’t
have to worry or care what any of this is, except that ‘sda’ and ‘sda1’
are new entries. These refer to your USB stick.

Next, make sure you have somewhere to mount the USB stick, but you’ll
have to do it as root. First, change to the superuser. Then, make a
mount point:

[2142][scott@tomahawk:~]$ su
Password: (you will type in your root password here)
tomahawk:/home/scott # mkdir /media/usb

After that, you just mount the stick. From the first step, we know that
the USB stick is either sda or sda1. The one you want is the one with
the number. This will generally be the case. So, we are left with
‘sda1’ as our USB stick. Now, you just put ‘/dev/’ in front of that,
and you have the location of the USB stick (that just refers to the fact
that it is a ‘device’): /dev/sda1 Now that we know this, we can just
mount the stick:

tomahawk:/home/scott # mount /dev/sda1 /media/usb
tomahawk:/home/scott #

Then, you are free to copy whatever you need to the stick:

tomahawk:/home/scott # cp ~/path/to/ISO/file.ISO /media/usb
tomahawk:/home/scott #

Where you will put in the actual path and filename to the ISO file in
place of “~/path/to/ISO/file.ISO”.

When it is done copying, you should unmount the stick:

tomahawk:/home/scott # umount /media/usb
tomahawk:/home/scott #

The ISO file should now be on your USB stick, and you can remove it from
your computer.

Looks like a lot of steps. It is at first, but also it isn’t once you
get used to it. Find your USB partition, mount it, copy the file,
unmount it. With just about as many keystrokes as it took to type that
last sentence, you can accomplish that very task.

Hopefully this was helpful. If not, well, I guess it’ll help break in
the DELETE key on your new keyboard.

Scott Morris

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Disclaimer: As with everything else at SUSE Conversations, this content is definitely not supported by SUSE (so don't even think of calling Support if you try something and it blows up).  It was contributed by a community member and is published "as is." It seems to have worked for at least one person, and might work for you. But please be sure to test, test, test before you do anything drastic with it.