When you plug in a USB drive on our system, it usually mounts automatically; creating a directory by your username under the media folder. You can also access it through the file manager running on your system. Unfortunately, this is not always the case; sometimes, you need to mount the USB manually to your system in order to access it.

In this tutorial, we will explain how to manually mount and unmount a USB drive to and from your system. The commands and steps described in this article have been run on an Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

How to mount a USB drive on Ubuntu

Let us follow these steps to mount a USB drive manually to your system:

Step1: Plug in the USB drive to an available port.

Step2: Run the following command as sudo in your Terminal application in order to check the available storage devices on your system and the file system they are using:

$ sudo fdisk -l

List devices with fdisk

Your USB device will usually be listed at the end of the output mostly as sdb-(number). In our case it is listed as sdb1, running a FAT32 file system.

Name of USB device shown

Step3: Create a mount point for your USB device through the following command:

Syntax:

$ sudo mkdir /media/[mountPointName]

Note: The name of your mount point can not include spaces; you can seperate the words through an underscore ‘_’.

Example:

$ sudo mkdir /media/USB

Create a mount point for the USB device

The mount point will now be created.

Step4: Now we shall mount the USB storage device to the mount point that we created. We will use the following command in order to mount a FAT32 device:

$ sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /media/USB -o [securityoption]

The security option is mandatory and allows you to give/gain access to the USB by specifying one of the following values for permission;

uid=1000

gid=1000

Utf8

dmask=027

fmask=137

In this example, I am giving access control to a user(current user) by specifying the user id:

Set UID for device access

For NTFS, use the following command:

$ sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/USB

Step5: Your USB has now been mounted. You can access it through your media folder.

Access USB Device

You can also access USB through the file manager. In the following image, the 16 GB Volume listed right above Other Locations is my mounted USB storage.

Use Filemanager to access USB Device

How to unmount a USB drive on Ubuntu

If you have mounted a USB manually, it is best to even unmount it manually.

Step1: Use the following command in order to unmount your USB:

$ sudo umount /dev/sdb1

And also:

$ sudo umount /media/USB

In the above command, specify the mount point if it is something other than the ‘USB’ mount point I have used.

Your USB will be unmounted from your system:

USB Drive unmountes successfully

Step2: You will need to remove the USB mount point directory manually as follows if you don’t plan to reuse it in future:

Remove mount point directory

Step3: Unplug the USB from your system.

After following the steps described in this article, you will be successfully able to mount and unmount a USB storage device to and from your system. This will help you if your system fails to automatically make the USB available for access and use.

How to Manually Mount/UnMount a USB Device on Ubuntu