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I am running Ubuntu 11 on VmWare on Windows XP. I want to format an SD card in Ubuntu. But, I can't figure out which /dev/xxx device the SD card is.

I plug the card into the built-in socket of my laptop. I "safely remove" the device in Windows. Then, I "connect" the PCMCIA reader in VmWare. Now, I was supposing to see a new device like /dev/sdx. But, it doesn't appear :(

How can I find what the name of my USB device's name and mount it?

/var/log/message is empty.

Here is the output of dmesg:

[ 5268.927308] usb 2-1: new full speed USB device number 12 using uhci_hcd

And, here is the last lines of /var/log/syslog:

Oct 31 18:51:21 ubuntu kernel: [ 5268.927308] usb 2-1: new full speed USB device number 12 using uhci_hcd

Oct 31 18:51:21 ubuntu mtp-probe: checking bus 2, device 12: "/sys/devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:11.0/0000:02:00.0/usb2/2-1"

Oct 31 18:51:21 ubuntu mtp-probe: bus: 2, device: 12 was not an MTP device

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Nov 1 '11 at 1:12

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Ubuntu 11 does not have /var/log/messages... –  hovanessyan Oct 31 '11 at 17:12

7 Answers 7

Try lsblk. This is the output from my current setup:

sda      8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk 
├─sda1   8:1    0 195.3G  0 part 
├─sda2   8:2    0     4G  0 part [SWAP]
└─sda3   8:3    0 266.5G  0 part /
sdb      8:16   0 465.8G  0 disk 
└─sdb1   8:17   0 460.8G  0 part /home
sr0     11:0    1  1024M  0 rom  

I'm using Ubuntu 12.10 atm

ps - formatting has copied very well from terminal to this post but hopefully you'll get the idea

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ls -1 /dev > ~/before.txt

plug it in, then

ls -1 /dev > ~/after.txt

diff ~/before.txt ~/after.txt
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Try using lsusb to see if the sd card reader is picked up in virtualbox. Another option would be to use palimpsest (also known by its menu entry, Disk Utility.)

Don't be afraid to use the GUI programs - they do work! If palimpsest sees your device, it will tell you the device node, so you can use the CLI utilities.

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If it has a label use /dev/disk/by-label/[USB label] to format the disk

EDIT: Try /dev/disk/by-id/usb*

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no, it doesn't have :( –  mustafa Oct 31 '11 at 17:30
aren't there any other methods? –  mustafa Oct 31 '11 at 20:35
USBs are usually /dev/sb followed by a number, or something along thoses lines if I'm not completely correct, it might be /dev/sdb followed by a number but not normally /dev/sda, so if there's only one plugged in that should do it –  Will03uk Oct 31 '11 at 23:32

sudo fdisk -l will list the partition table on all available hard disks; it uses the Linux naming scheme for disks, handy for troubleshooting and remembering which partition is where.

Use man fdisk for more information on the parameters of fdisk.

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Open a terminal and run ls /dev before you enable that USB device in vmware. Run ls /dev/ again after you enabled it and look for what pops up

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lsblk seems to work:

rishi@rishi-Inspiron-1018:~$ lsblk
sda      8:0    0 232.9G  0 disk 
├─sda1   8:1    0 230.9G  0 part /
├─sda2   8:2    0     1K  0 part 
└─sda5   8:5    0     2G  0 part [SWAP]
sdb      8:16   1   7.4G  0 disk 
└─sdb1   8:17   1   7.4G  0 part /media/3765-3233

So now I know my SD card is in /dev/sdb1.

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