Cannot remove flash memory

Toby Dickenson toby at
Wed Nov 29 20:29:14 UTC 2006

Dotan Cohen wrote:

> I've always heard that one should never pull out a USB stick when the
> led is lit or flashing. Does anybody else have a second opinion?

Which kde versions are you using? some recent hal/kde updates have caused
problems for usb sticks:

> > At that point, the icon disappears, but the
> > LED on the USB unit turns on, and never turns off. So I cannot remove
> > the device. 

First check if the device is still mounted, using the mount command:

$ mount
/dev/hda8 on / type reiserfs (rw)
proc on /proc type proc (rw)
<many lines deleted>
/dev/sda1 on /media/STICK type vfat (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,noatime,

You should be able to unmount it with the pumount command. If this fails, it
will often give a better error message that kde. For example in this case I
still had konqueror window open:

$ pumount /media/STICK/
umount: /media/STICK: device is busy
umount: /media/STICK: device is busy
Error: umount failed

After unmounting there is still no guarantee that all the data has been
written. Particularly if you have a slow memory stick. Try the
command 'sync'. This will only return when all outstanding data has been

If anything seems to be going wrong then check /var/log/syslog for kernel
error messages.

I hope this helps.

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list