[PC-BSD Testing] Mounting USB Hard Drives

Ian Robinson fitchkendall at gmail.com
Thu May 6 14:33:28 PDT 2010

On Thu, May 6, 2010 at 3:00 PM, Jeff wrote:

Another drive I have was formatted for Windoze.? Way back in PCBSD 7 or
> possibly earlier, I was able to read this drive and retrieve some old
> Windoze files.? I cannot mount this drive anymore using various combinations
> of: mount_msdosfs -o large /dev/da0s1 /media/Backup
> Or: mount -o large -t msdosfs /dev/da0s1 /media/Backup
> camcontrol devlist reports this drive as da0.

1.  Sometimes a USB device will not mount with the /dev/da0s1 argument but
will mount with /dev/da0

2.  The FreeBSD handbook (@
http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en/books/handbook/usb-disks.html  ) adds a couple
of "extras" which may be worth reviewing:

======= Begin Quote from FreeBSD Handbook ================

"To make this device mountable as a normal user, certain steps have to be
taken. First, the devices that are created when a USB storage device is
connected need to be accessible by the user. A solution is to make all users
of these devices a member of the operator group. This is done with
Second, when the devices are created, the operator group should be able to
read and write them. This is accomplished by adding these lines to

add path 'da*' mode 0660 group operator

 *Note:* If there already are SCSI disks in the system, it must be done a
bit different. E.g., if the system already contains disks da0 through
da2attached to the system, change the second line as follows:

add path 'da[3-9]*' mode 0660 group operator

This will exclude the already existing disks from belonging to the

 You also have to enable your
in your
/etc/rc.conf file:


Next, the kernel has to be configured to allow regular users to mount file
systems. The easiest way is to add the following line to /etc/sysctl.conf:


Note that this only takes effect after the next reboot. Alternatively, one
can also use sysctl(8)<http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=sysctl&sektion=8>to
set this variable.

The final step is to create a directory where the file system is to be
mounted. This directory needs to be owned by the user that is to mount the
file system. One way to do that is for root to create a subdirectory owned
by that user as /mnt/*username* (replace *username* by the login name of the
actual user and *usergroup* by the user's primary group):

# mkdir /mnt/*username*
# chown *username*:*usergroup* /mnt/*username*"

======= End Quote from FreeBSD Handbook ================

3.  The last three Western Digital external USB drives I bought with 500 Gb
and larger came formatted NTFS.  Are yours formatted Fat32 or NTFS?

4.  Even then, NTFS may present mounting issues on 8.0/64 bit
installations.  See " [solved] *Can't mount ntfs usb hard drive"* @ 4ttp://

5.  There are reports of USB disks hanging during the boot/POST sequence
with a recommendation to "disable legacy USB support" in the BIOS.  See @

Ian Robinson
Salem, Ohio
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