I’ve been playing about with OS X on a Dell Mini 9 netbook. A major hassle is that it only has 8GB of on-board disk space (albeit on a lovely silent SSD). I bought a 16GB Class 4 SDHC card to use for my home directory, but it turns out OS X only automatically mounts external drives — such as USB drives, Firewire drives and memory cards — after you’ve logged in, which is too late for the OS to find your home directory, so you don’t get all your normal desktop customisations: preferences, dock icons, wallpaper, etc. However, after some magic googling, I found the solution:

sudo cat << EOM > /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/autodiskmount.plist
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple Computer//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
<dict>
  <key>AutomountDisksWithoutUserLogin</key><true/>
</dict>
</plist>
EOM

Reboot. Sorted.

2 thoughts on “Automatically Mount a USB Drive Before Login on Mac OS X

  1. Nice post. Never needed it, but nice to know nonetheless. Bookmarked & will play with time.

    BTW, SFIV on the 360 = WOW. Cannot believe what they’ve done to good old SFII.

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