HOWTO: USB pen drive will not automount

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HOWTO: USB pen drive will not automount


I found that my 512 Mb USB pen drive (a.k.a. memory stick, a.k.a. flash drive, etc.) would not mount under Sabayon Linux 3.3 (although it did automount under Windows XP, Windows 2000 and Ubuntu Linux 6.06). This seems to be a common problem with various manufacturers' pen drives under various Linux distros.

Running dmesg from the command line showed "attempt to access beyond end of device" and "p1 exceeds device capacity" error messages. If I inserted the USB pen drive it showed up in GParted as a faulty partition (the little warning triangle). If I formatted it with GParted I could then mount it manually and copy files to and from the drive via the command line. However, as soon as I pulled out the pen drive, it reverted to its previous state and, if re-inserted into the PC, again could not be mounted.

I believe that the firmware in the pen drive has a bug that treats the pen drive as if it has one more sector than it really does. To get around this, try the procedure below, which worked with my model of pen drive and has worked with several other manufacturers' pen drives too.


Back up any important data on the pen drive.


Use a low-level formatting tool to low-level format the pen drive (GParted cannot do it, GParted can only perform a normal format). I used a freeware utility for Windows called HDDGURU Low Level Format Tool ( as I do not know of one for Linux.


Use GParted to format the pen drive to FAT32 and then set the boot bit.

The pen drive should then be able to automount. Some pen drives work fine without having to perform this procedure, others need to be low level formatted.

This HowTo is based on the Sabayon Forum post here.

Authored by Fitzcarraldo, 30.06.07