I have a USB key that contains my keepass2 password database and I'd like to perform some actions when it is plugged into my computer, namely:

  • Auto-mount it to some specific location
  • When the mounting is done properly, launching keepass2 on the password database file

Simple tasks I guess, but I can't find how to do that.

I'm using Ubuntu 12.10, and it auto-mounts the device as a "media usb-key" and tries to open the images on it (even though there are none).

What is the best way to do that and to disable the ubuntu auto-mounting (so it doesn't conflict) ?

2 Answers 2


When a new device appears, udev is notified. It normally creates a device file under /dev based on built-in rules¹. You can override these rules to change the device file location or run an arbitrary program. Here is a sample such udev rule:

KERNEL=="sd*", ATTRS{vendor}=="Yoyodine", ATTRS{serial}=="123456789", NAME="keepass/s%n", RUN+="/usr/local/sbin/keepass-drive-inserted /dev/%k%n"

The NAME= directive changes the location of the device file, I included it for illustration purposes but it is probably not useful for your use case. The ATTRS rules identify the device; run udevinfo -a -n /dev/sdz when the drive is available as /dev/sdz to see what attributes it has. Beware that you can only use ATTRS rules from a single section of the udevinfo input (in addition, you can use ATTR rules from the initial section). See Understand output of `udevadm info -a -n /dev/sdb` for more background. This rule goes into a file called something like /etc/udev/rules.d/local-storage-keypass.rules.

Put the commands you want to run in the script given in the RUN directive. Something like:

set -e
if [ -d /media/keypass-drive ]; then
  [ "$(df -P /media/keypass-drive | awk 'NR==2 {print $1}')" = "$(df -P /media | awk 'NR==2 {print $1}')" ]
  mkdir /media/keypass-drive
mount "$1" /media/keypass-drive
su ereon -c 'keypass2' &

If you're having trouble running a GUI program from a script triggered from udev, see Can I launch a graphical program on another user's desktop as root?

¹ Not on modern systems where /dev is on udevtmpfs.

  • 1
    Important note on this: When writing rules using the info from udevadm info -a -n /dev/sdX, you cannot match based on multiple ancestors. You can only match based on data from the device itself, and a single ancestor. This is covered in man 7 udev, but is a small comment easily overlooked.
    – phemmer
    Nov 6, 2013 at 4:09

The best way of doing this would be writing your own udev rule(s) for this device. Unfortunately I can't give any tips on how to do this as I've never done so. So unless someone else has a more detailed answer, google for 'udev rules' and look in /lib/udev for examples. Your custom udev rules should go in /etc/udev/rules.d

  • Thanks for the info. This will at least make my searches more efficient.
    – ereOn
    Nov 12, 2012 at 12:39

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