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This HOWTO lists the steps required for getting Gnome Volume Manager working in Gentoo. This application, along with sys-apps/hal and sys-apps/dbus allows you to plug in external media and have Linux immediately recognize it. Yes it does work, and it's very nice when you finally get it working! Please read Mount removable media first.


Have your USB flash drive, ieee1394 (external harddrive), CD-ROM, or other external media automatically mount transparently.


Ensure that HAL is properly set up otherwise gnome-volume-manager won't automatically display an icon on your desktop when you plug in an external device. You will also need to ensure that you've built gnome-vfs with the hal flag as well.

Now install:

emerge gnome-volume-manager
rc-update add dbus default

Now, start dbus and hald with the following command and when you plug in your USB drive, it should show up in your Nautilus computer window.

/etc/init.d/dbus start

To verify it was mounted, use this while mounting:

tail -f /var/log/messages

This command reads the tail of your log messages to see what is going on with your system. If you see something similar to fstab-sync: added mount point /media/usbdisk for /dev/sdc1 then the automounting should be successful.

To configure gnome-volume-properties or use System > Preferences > Removable Drives and Media

In the input tabs when entering commands to execute when media/devices are inserted, %d will be replaced with the device name and %m will be replaced with the path to the mounted volume.

Access Rights

As of gnome 2.12, users must be a member of the plugdev group in order for removable media to be mounted on insertion. To add via commandline:

sudo gpasswd -a user plugdev

Or through the GUI System > Administration --> Users and Groups and checking the "Enable access to external storage devices automatically" option in "Properties" User privileges tab.

You may need to restart dbus to make the change effective.

sudo /etc/init.d/dbus restart


If there are any issues here are a some ideas:

Automount Fails

If you find that it doesn't automount your USB drive, open up your GNOME menu, select Preferences followed by Sessions. Switch to the Startup programs tab, click Add and enter


USB fails without error

The file /usr/share/hal/fdi/policy/gparted-disable-automount.fdi will cause hal to ignore USB events. It may be left after a GParted crash, so it's safe to remove it iff GParted is not running.

Unwanted Mounts

If you specify in your /etc/fstab the option "noauto" drives should not mount on the desktop. This is a known-bug. Gnome-volume-manager may fail to recognize these as drives and rather as removable media. To fix uncheck "Mount removable media when inserted" in Removable Drives and Media". This will mean that you may have to manually mount drives, CD's... however.

See also

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Last modified: Sat, 06 Sep 2008 12:11:00 +0000 Hits: 68,439