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USB Flash Drive Support in AIX

Technote (FAQ)


Can I use a USB Flash Drive with AIX?


Beginning with AIX 5L Version 5.3 with the 5300-09 Technology Level and AIX 6.1 with the 6100-02 Technology Level, USB flash drives are supported. To use these devices, install the following device package:


The following USB flash drives are supported for use with AIX 5.3 with 5300-09 and AIX 6.1 with 6100-02:
  • Lenovo USB2.0 Essential Memory Key, part number 41U4944
  • Kingston 4GB DataTraveler, USB2.0
  • SanDisk 4GB Cruzer Micro Flash Drive, USB2.0

The AIX USB-host controller supports only USB1.1 on AIX 5.3 with 5300-09 and AIX 6.1 with 6100-02. All of the supported flash drives function with USB1.1.

These flash drives are configured with logical names such as flashdrive0 and flashdrive1, and they present both raw and block special files. For example, the raw special file for flashdrive0 is /dev/rflashdrive0, and the block special file is /dev/flashdrive0.

Only the ISO file system (read-only ISO9660) is supported on these drives. However, you can create a system backup on the drives by using the tar command, cpio command or the backup or restore archives. You can also use the dd command to add ISO images to the drives. These images can be used in read-only environments.

To make a flash drive available to AIX users, a root user must connect the drive to a system USB port and run the following command:

    # cfgmgr -l usb0

Use caution when you remove the flash drives from ports. If the drives are not properly closed or unmounted before you remove them, data on the drives can be corrupted.

After you remove the drives, they remain in the available state in the ODM until the root user runs the following command:

    # rmdev -l flashdrive< n >

When a drive is in the available state, you can reconnect it to the system, and it can be remounted or reopened. If a drive is disconnected from a system USB port while it is still open to a user, that drive will not be reusable until the user closes and reopens it. AIX 5.3 with 5300-09 and AIX 6.1 with 6100-02 do not include plug-and-play support for USB flash drives.


This information can also be found in the Release Notes for AIX 5.3 and 6.1 on the Infocenter web site:

AIX 5.3 Release Notes

AIX 6.1 Release Notes

Document information

More support for: AIX family

Software version: 5.3, 6.1, 7.1

Operating system(s): AIX

Reference #: T1018989

Modified date: 22 September 2016

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