Renaming USB Drive Labels in Linux

Renaming USB Drive Labels in Linux

Rename your usb drive in linux
Rename your usb drive in linux

There, you got all the inspirations from the web and your friends and have now Linux proudly running on your system. (Linux is the kernel, ya ya I know you got it). Your friend approaches you to help him get rid of the virus in his USB drive. And you are proud you are of help in terminating viruses with ease, thanks to Linux’s security. And he asks you to do a favour. To rename the USB drive label to his name, from the name “disk”.

You try to rename it from the terminal, but it fails. (Yes, command mv doesn’t work here.)

You open /media, right click on the USB Drive folder and go to Properties. But you find no option there either to change the drive Label! (Am talking with respect to Ubuntu. It’s great if other distros have it).

Did your new Linux system fail you? In Windows, you can rename Labels of USB’s just by visiting its Properties. Can’t Linux do even this simple thing!

Let me assure you that, you can, but in a slightly round about way.

From Terminal

You will be using the mlabel command.

1. First type the mount command to find out the device location of you pen drive. Find the line which goes like “/dev/sdc1 on /media/disk …”.

2. This means the device sdc1 which is my pen drive is mounted on /media/disk.

3. Next unmount the device.

sudo unmount /media/disk

4. Next use this command.

sudo mlabel -i /dev/sdc1 ::<new_label>

If you get a message like:
Total number of sectors (7831520) not a multiple of sectors per track (63)!
You can easily ignore the check by running this command:

echo mtools_skip_check=1 >> ~/.mtoolsrc

Try again and it should work.

5. The name of the USB should have changed. Unplug and Plug the pen drive back in and it will be mounted with the new label name.

The GUI way

1. For this you need the Gparted software. Install it if you don’t have it already.

2. Open the software as a super user, and select the pen drive from GParted>Devices>

3. Unmount the device if it hasn’t been, by right clicking on it.

4. After unmounting, right click on it and select “Label” and change it to whatever you want it to be. And then Apply it, by clicking the Edit>Apply All Operations.

5. Your pendrives label should be changed now.

Yes, it is a pretty around the way method. But unfortunately, nautilus doesn’t currently support partition renaming. Hope it’s there in Karmic Koala!

17 thoughts on “Renaming USB Drive Labels in Linux”

  1. This was helpful, but, as others have noted above. the command

    sudo mlabel -i /dev/sdc1 ::

    fails under Ubuntu 12.10. Removing the “-i” worked. It would be good to update the page to reflect this.

  2. another easy way
    I also found when using the Disk Utility, I had to unmount the volume before it would allow me to rename the label

  3. Thanks for a great how-to. I believe the mlabel command may have changed under 10.04, as I couldn’t get it to work from the command line. However the gparted GUI option worked like a charm. Simply run System -> Administration -> Disk Utility, click on the iPod, make sure it’s unmounted (if not, you can unmount it with the GUI), and then click the button that allows you to edit the volume label. Simple and effective. Thanks for pointing this out!

  4. Thanks! The mlabel trick worked on MEPIS 8.5. The only thing to note is that the label will only be in upper case (all caps) even if you use lower case in the mlabel command.

  5. Thanks for the article. One small tip for readers though, with sincere courtesy and respect intended, the unmount command is “umount” not “unmount”.
    Thanks for this. This method is less risky than doing it in gparted IMO.

  6. using ubuntu 8.04

    mlabel command was not recognised
    in gparted, there is no ‘label’ option

    thus for me this didn’t work at all

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