HOWTO: Set up USB Storage

Introduction

This is a summary of the steps I've taken to set up a Maxtor USB disk vanilla RedHat 8.0 box, more for my own future reference than as a compreehensive setup guide.

Before going through the rest of this HOWTO, bear in mind that the 2.2 series of kernels (such as those used in the Cobalt server appliance products) do not support usb storage.

Requirements

I had a 120GB USB disk that had been repartitioned under Mac OS X and wanted to re-use it on my PC environment. However, Windows XP refused to format it as FAT32 (anything larger than 32GB is to be NTFS by default), even on the command line.

Procedure

So I hooked it up to my RedHat laptop and got this output in /var/log/messages:

kernel: hub.c: USB new device connect on bus1/2, assigned device number 2
kernel: usb.c: USB device 2 (vend/prod 0xd49/0x3010) is not claimed by any active driver.
/etc/hotplug/usb.agent: Setup usb-storage for USB product d49/3010/100
kernel: SCSI subsystem driver Revision: 1.00
kernel: Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
kernel: usb.c: registered new driver usb-storage
kernel: usb-uhci.c: interrupt, status 2, frame# 1393
kernel: usb_control/bulk_msg: timeout
kernel: scsi0 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
kernel:   Vendor: Maxtor    Model: 3000LE v01.00.00  Rev: 0100
kernel:   Type:   Direct-Access                      ANSI SCSI revision: 02
kernel: USB Mass Storage support registered.
kernel: Attached scsi disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0

Another way to verify it was connected would have been typing:

# cat /proc/scsi/scsi
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: Maxtor   Model: 3000LE v01.00.00 Rev: 0100
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI SCSI revision: 02

I then proceeded to partition it with:

# fdisk /dev/sda0

And, after setting up a single primary partition, I set the partition type to 0x0c (Win 95 FAT32 LBA) and formatted it by using:

# mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n VolumeLabel /dev/sda1

(Note the -F 32 to force creation of a FAT32 volume. The rest is pretty standard.)

Windows XP accepted the volume without a single complaint.

These instructions worked for me. There is no guarantee (express or implied) that they'll work for you, nor will I necessarily be able to help you if anything goes wrong.