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Linux not detecting USB? What to do to access your storage device

Linux is an operating system, a very popular one, in fact, that is used around the world. It’s well known for supporting Android systems and is therefore very popular with developers but for someone using it for the first time, it will seem very foreign.

Many people will often need to use a USB stick, whether for work, university or something else. And there’s nothing more frustrating than when you go to look at the contents of your USB stick and the device you’re using hasn’t detected it.

Let’s see what’s going on with the Linux system and USB sticks and get this issue rectified so that Linux users can keep calm and carry on!

linux not detecting usb
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Why is Linux not recognising my USB?

There are several stages of Linux not recognising your USB, it ranges from not acknowledging that a USB device has been inserted at all to recognising it, but not reading it.

The problem seems to mostly come from computers running Ubuntu 10.04 so it could be that the update is potentially corrupted. Or, you may need to update your Linux device to the most recent version of the operating system.

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How to perform a test to troubleshoot what might be wrong

To get an in-depth idea of what is going on with your system and the USB stick, you may have to run a test. To do this, please follow the instructions below. However, if you’d prefer one of our team to talk you through the instructions then please call us on our freephone number 0800 4337963. We can also arrange for an engineer to take a look at the device if you require.

  1. Detach the USB stick, next in a terminal window run “sudo tailf /var/log/messages” then reattach your USB stick.
  2. Lines should appear talking about your USB stick. Run “sudo lsusb”. This will show you which USBs the system has recognised.
  3. Run “sudo fdisk -l” and this will show you all hard disk devices and their partitions.
  4. The USB lines from syslog and the chip set and partition information should help indicate what the problem is with the USB stick.

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How to determine what is wrong with the USB stick with this information

You will have reams of data from the test you have just run and it can be confusing if you’re seeing this for the first time.

Determining why the USB stick won’t mount automatically is complicated and you need to look for certain codes within the numbers that give you the information of the errors.

If you can’t wrap your head around it then it is best to contact us and ask our experts for more help and they can assist you further.