Linux Mint – Unable to mount USB STICK – Not authorized to perform this operation

On a perfectly installed Linux Mint PC, running Ubuntu 18.04 under the hood, you suddenly get the following message when inserting a USB Stick into the computer:

Unable to mount USB STICK

Not authorized to perform operation


If it’s installed, uninstall Chrome Remote Desktop:

sudo apt autoremove chrome-remote-desktop


Why does this happen? Having reviewed our notes 20 December 2021 after being prompted by a comment, we have added this section. In all honesty, I don’t know why it happens.

Something like mounting a USB stick would be “core”, and baked into the operating system.

Something as “powerful” as Chrome Remote Desktop would take over many functions for the operating systems. For example, hypothetically, if Chrome Remote Desktop is running and the remote user wants to mount their own USB stick, perhaps Chrome Remote Desktop has some kind of passthrough.

For actual users of Chrome Remote Desktop uninstalling the software of course isn’t ideal, but having your local computer working is probably the better of two evils. If I was a Chrome developer, I would examine the source code to see hardware interactions, particular those related to the USB bus.

If anyone has any more information on what’s causing this and a less radical solution, then please leave a comment.

How to mount an USB stick

You need to use fdisk -l and carefully examine which disk is the USB by looking at SIZES and DISK MODEL.

mkdir /media/usb-drive
fdisk -l 
mount /dev/sdf2 /media/usb-drive


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28 thoughts on “Linux Mint – Unable to mount USB STICK – Not authorized to perform this operation”

  1. And how are we supposed to use Chrome Remote Desktop? Why did it work before WITH CRD and suddenly it doesn’t?

    1. I know it’s been so long for this issue, I had the same problem, but only when I was using systemd, when I boot using sysvinit have not that problem, but I’m not able to run docker, so I ended up removing chrome remote destop extension….

    2. It does not have to be removed, just disabled on the page [] then re-enabled/re-setup when necessary. I don’t use USB as often as I want to be able to connect remotely, so my default is to have remote desktop enabled until I need to access a USB drive to move files.

  2. Robert L Smalley

    Thank You ~!~ been spending multiple months tinkering with folder & file permissions to no avail.

  3. Grillmeister Chrille

    also big thanks from me – you made my day
    nevertheless I dont appreciate the missing explaination 🙂

    1. Eugène van der Merwe

      Thank you so much, that’s a very fair comment. I always try to give some kind of explanation, unless course, I don’t have any. I’ll update the post now with my thoughts.

  4. Thank you very much for this insight. I haven’t confirmed this yet but I do believe that Chrome’s Remote Desktop system is indeed the culprit. In any case, what I did as a “workaround” in my case was simply to mount the disks that I intended to mount using the Disks partitioning facility, which I think is available in most Debian-based distros. Once I did that, I am not able to mount the darned drives/locations that I was surprised of not being able to mount at all using Nemo.

    1. Please change my erroneous statement from “Once I did that, I am not able to mount the darned drives/location” to “Once I did that, I am *now* able to mount the darned drives/location”. Sorry and thanks.

      1. Eugène van der Merwe

        Hi there,

        Thanks so much for your feedback. I also often type “not” instead of “now” so no worries.

  5. I was just about ready to throw away my tower in a fit of frustration. After reading this, I tried:
    killall chrome-remote-desktop
    And, magically, all is now working. Interestingly, this did not even require a “sudo”.

    1. Eugène van der Merwe

      Hi Bob!

      Thanks so much for the feedback. Your comments about not need “sudo” is on point, something like Chrome and in fact any other user application should run in the user space, meaning sudo shouldn’t be required.

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