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I recently bought a 16GB Super Talent pen drive that seems to work well for running the Ubuntu Live "CD" in persistent mode (see this for how I installed it). One slightly annoying thing, however, is that this pen drive has a bright red light on it that stays on when it's idle.

Is there a way to make the light stay off at least when the pen drive is not performing IO? I'm not even sure it's possible to do. If there is (in Linux), I'm guessing it boils down to some ioctl invoked by some utility. Otherwise, I imagine it would involve hacking the firmware or simply opening up the pen drive and removing the LED :D

Then again, I guess it keeps the LED on to indicate that the drive should not be removed.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I have only seen the ability to change light patterns once on a funky USB stick years ago - It had a number of LEDs and you could do a variety of things, I got it free at a trade show, but it was rubbish... the driver kept crashing, made BSOD and more!

On bog standard USB sticks, the LED is directly controlled by the USB drive and not the machine. The only way to stop it will be to open it up and physically remove the LED... or if possible, you may just want to put a bit of tape over it.

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+1 for suggesting tape. I've fixed this complaint for poeple a couple times with that. :) –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jan 17 '10 at 8:00

I imagine it would involve hacking the firmware or simply opening up the pen drive and removing the LED :D

Correct, but maybe not necessary for your drive. There is no defined standard for having LED lights on USB drives. Some will have it solely implemented into the USB stick's firmware so it won't be controlled by the OS, some won't.

You can try using rmmod though:

$rmmod usb_storage

this may temporarily disable it, but it will also disable recognition of USB drives plugged in as the module will be unloaded from the kernel. So if you plan on transporting the drive, prior to inserting it run insmod usb_storage.

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