Auto mount USB drives

Raspbian OS (Raspberry Pi) do not mount USB drives automatically out of the box.

I’m pretty annoyed by the lack of easy to use packages by 2021 and I still have to do it myself with the instructions here: https://github.com/avanc/mopidy-vintage/wiki/Automount-USB-sticks

These are cookbook instructions, but I’ll add some insights to what each component means so it’s easier to remember the steps.

At top level, to auto-detect and mount USB drives, we need the following components

  • udev: analogous to what happens behind device manager, it keeps track of and updates devices as they are connected and disconnected immediately. Need to register USB sticks by adding a event handler, which triggers a systemd service (see below)
  • systemd: analogous to Windows’ services. Need to register the service by stating what commands it will call on start (mostly mounting) and cleanup (mostly unmounting)
  • automount script: it’s a user defined script that abstracts most of the hard work detecting the partitions on the USB stick, assign the mount point names, and mount them
# Register udev event handler (rules)
# /etc/udev/rules.d/usbstick.rules

ACTION=="add", KERNEL=="sd[a-z][0-9]", TAG+="systemd", ENV{SYSTEMD_WANTS}="usbstick-handler@%k"

# It triggers a systemd call to "usbstick-handler@" service registered under /etc/systemd/system/
# Register systemd service
# /etc/systemd/system/usbstick-handler@.service
# (Note: instructions used /lib instead of /etc. It's better to add it as /etc as this is manually registered as user-defined service rather than from a package)

[Unit]
Description=Mount USB sticks
BindsTo=dev-%i.device
After=dev-%i.device

[Service]
Type=oneshot
RemainAfterExit=yes
ExecStart=/usr/local/bin/automount %I
ExecStop=/usr/bin/pumount /dev/%I

# %I is the USB stick's device name under /dev, usually sda
# Abstracted the logic of determining the mount point name and mounting to 'automount' (see below)

Create the file /usr/local/bin/automount and give it execution permission: chmod +x /usr/local/bin/automount

#!/bin/bash

# $1 (first argument) is usually "sda" (supposedly USB stick device name) seen from %I in the systemd service commands
PART=$1

# Within the "sda" (USB stick device of interest), extract the partition labels (if applicable) from lsblk command. The first column (name) is dropped
FS_LABEL=`lsblk -o name,label | grep ${PART} | awk '{print $2}'`

# Decide the mount point name {partition label}_{partition name}
# e.g. MS-DOS_sda1
tokens=($FS_LABEL)
tokens+=($PART)
MOUNT_LABEL=$(IFS='_'; echo "${tokens[*]}")
# Using string array makes it easier to drop the prefix if there's no {partition label}
# Bash use IFS to specify separators for listing all elements of the array

# Suggestion: drop --sync for faster USB access (if you can umount properly)
/usr/bin/pmount --umask 000 --noatime -w --sync /dev/${PART} /media/${MOUNT_LABEL}

This automount script is adapted from https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/66169/auto-mount-usb-stick-on-plug-in-without-uuid with my improvements.

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Timo
Timo
10 days ago

Thank you so much for this! I have been looking around for a working solution for quite a while.

There is only one “mistake”:

The path to the automount file in the systemd .service should be

/usr/local/bin/automount

instead of

/usr/bin/automount

Beste Regards
TimoReport