Using USB storage devices with the service console

You might want to use a USB memory stick or USB portable hard-drive in a caddy.   By default USB device drivers are loaded automatically. This can be disabled by modifying /etc/modules.conf and remarking it with the # of the line which begins alias usb-controller usb-ohci. If someone has done this then you can load the modules (drivers) manually and access the device as needed using the insmod command. You can read, but not write to, an NTFS partition on a removable device.
FAT32 is support for read/write. You might prefer to use EXT3 if you wish to export virtual disks in their monolithic format (on VMFS partition) into the COW format (copy-on-write) which will take up less physical space on the disk.


  1. Logon to the Service Console as ROOT[Optionally] Load up the USB Device Driversinsmod usbcore
    insmod usb-storage
    insmod usb-uhci
  2. Use the dmesg to print out a list of active devices and scroll up to locate Initializing USB Mass Storage Driver.
  3. Note:
    The system assigns an SCSI device ID to the USB device (even though it's likely to be IDE Laptop Disk if it’s a portable hard-drive). The critical bits are references to the SDG. This tells me that the USB device has been added to the end of all my other SCSI disks (sda, sdb, sdc). This will help me in the next stage, which is creating a mount point and mounting the partition on the USB disk.
  4. Create a mount point withmkdir

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  1. /mnt/usb
  2. Mount the first partition on the disk with mount /dev/sdg1 /mnt/usbNote:
    If you are unsure about the partition scheme on the disk, you can use fdisk -l /dev/sdg to print to the console of the partition table.


  3. List Files and Start using the disk withls -l /mnt/usb
  4. Unmount the USB device when finished with cd /
    umount /mnt/usbNote:
    Even after un-mounting the drive, if I down the ESX server with the USB Storage attached I get this worrying message, which could be benign. Any Linux people out there know what this is and what should be done to stop it from happening? 

scsi: device set offline is not ready or command retry failed after bus reset : host 2 channel 0 id 0 lun 0
i/o error: dev 08:62, sector 4168
i/o error: dev 08:62, sector 4168
i/o error: dev 08:62, sector 0


This was first published in November 2005

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