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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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BTW what distribution / version of linux are you running?
In most cases the USB modules are not loaded when the OS mounts the filesystems via fstab and AFAIK the OS will not wait until the modules are loaded. There are several ways to fix this problem. Compile the USB modules into the kernel, add a line to mount the drive by adding a command to the /etc/rc.local file or add the usb modules to the initrd image if your linux distro uses one. The /etc/rc.local file method is the easiest to accomplish by adding a mount command.
If you want you usb-key mounted on bootup, and the standard automount doesn't work for you, you have to modify your boot scripts.
Probably it tries to mount your USB key too early in the boot process, before USB is properly handled.
The easiest solution is to add a command mounting your USB key, near the end of the boot process. I don't know Ubuntu or Debian, but I think that their boot scripts are in
try to cd to that directory. Or try /etc/rc.d
Then look for a file called rc.local. If it doesn't exist, type ls and post the output here.
Edit rc.local, and add (at the end of it) :
see if that works.
Another solution could be
EDIT : I see that it's exactly what michaelk has told you to do. Just check for the exact location of the rc.local file, and it'll work !