Read Your SD card with your ubuntu laptop

Nowadays, laptops comes with Inbuild SD card reader. I too have Ricoh Card Reader inbuilt with my Lenovo R61i Laptop.

My Friend Elango.S, a Hardcore Windows user, is becoming a big fan of ubuntu. Hmmm. That is the power of Ubuntu. It is like AR Rahman’s Music.  First it may hard to look and get to used with. But, as we keep on living with it, it will become a great companion in all times, till our life. 🙂

Elango is pinging me often to get some little how-to do the things in ubuntu. He is an alwasys-ready-to-learn guy. so the transition from windows is a breeze for him. He is wondering the ubuntu’s powers.

This post is the answer to his query on how to make use of the inbuilt SD card reader. Ubuntu 9.10 does not reads it by default. So what? Google is there. Ubuntu community is there. 🙂

Get the details on Card Reader.

shrinivasan@shrinivasan-laptop:~$ lspci | grep Card
15:00.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev ba)
15:00.5 System peripheral: Ricoh Co Ltd xD-Picture Card Controller (rev 11)

Googled as “”

Got the solution in the very 2nd link.

Do the following things.

1. Backup the file /etc/modules

sudo cp /etc/modules /etc/modules.bak

2. Add one line to /etc/modules

gksu gedit /etc/modules
sudo vi /etc/modules

3.Tag this on to the end of the file in a new line:


When you restart, you’re card reader will be functional. You’ll see that when you slap an SD card into the reader, it will automount.

But wait, don’t want to have to restart your machine? Go back to the terminal you impatient person and type:

sudo modprobe tifm_sd

Thats all. After a restart, My laptop recognized the inserted SD card and opened the SD card in Nautilus. 🙂

Yes Elango. Ubuntu will make your life easier, just like a sweet music. Enjoy the Freedom with Linux.

80 thoughts on “Read Your SD card with your ubuntu laptop

  1. Hi!
    I have a ShuttleXP running only Ubuntu and my multiple cardreader will “see” a CF card/ no problem..
    I bought an SD card & when I put it -in- partway or pull it out it shows up in 2 rows under “computer”(pulldown menu/system) but will not mount.

    will this remedy shown above work for this problem, even though the computer is a different model & the internal card reader is unlikely to be a Ricoh?

    PS: I’m totally new and am intimidated to do anything in Terminal; I wish there was a way to learn what these things mean (and what -not- to do..) aka: please dumb it down completely for me..Thanks

    • Hi,

      Nice to get from you.

      Ubuntu is a wonder that changes the most of the things from terminal to GUI.

      But still, I am a beginner in GUI as I learnt the terminal things first and use the terminal to trouble shoot the things. 🙂

      get that book and learn all the things in GUI itself.

      To answer your question, need the output of “mount” command in terminal after you insert the card.


      reply with the output.

      Let us make it happens.



  2. Hi!
    SORRY for my delay in replying..

    what do I put in the terminal box / at the prompt to get the ‘Mount’ message?

    -alternatively, is there any info on how to read/use/understand working in Terminal? l
    for instance, if I have the computer literacy of just a “surface” user (equivalent of either a 6year old or a senior citizen).
    using the Terminal (to me) means: you’re doing surgery in your system and any space or dot can wipe you out, versus GUI being the nice friendly surface where you can’t harm anything.. so, I’ve been intimidated plus I can’t find where to learn “code”/terminal-speak.

    I’m thoroughly grateful for your reply; I’ve been one week on the Forum with no assistance.

    I’ll watch for your instruction on how to monitor the “mount” error message and let you know!

  3. Hi there,

    I am a total newbie with Ubuntu and not so good in computing and actually I am quite happy with this OS but 2 major problems : Neither SD nor memory sticks are recognized. I have tried what you suggest. My notebook is a Sony VGN-TZ21XN and I am using Koala Karmique. So here wo go :

    michael@ubuntu:~$ lspci | grep Card
    09:04.0 CardBus bridge: Ricoh Co Ltd RL5c476 II (rev ba)

    Then I Backup the file /etc/modules and everything is ok until :

    michael@ubuntu:~$ sudo cp /etc/modules /etc/modules.bak
    [sudo] password for michael:
    michael@ubuntu:~$ gksu gedit/etc/modules
    michael@ubuntu:~$ tifm_sd
    tifm_sd: command not found

    tifm_sd: command not found.

    Can you help a 57 years old newbie ?

    Many thks and happy new year !

    • Hi,

      So happy to get from you.

      You have to add the entry “tifm_sd” into the file /etc/modules.

      sudo gksu gedit/etc/modules

      will open a file in a editor.

      in that file, type as tifm_sd

      in a new line and save it.

      restart the machine.

      your card will be detected.

      happy to help you.

      ping me for any help.

      Regards, Shrini

      • Sorry, I realize that I might have to answer your mail also here :

        Hi again,

        Many thks for your reply, but unfortunatly, when I type “sudo gksu
        gedit/etc/modules” no file editor opens :

        michael@ubuntu:~$ sudo gksu gedit/etc/modules

        It has asked me once for the password and thats it. As you can see, I am
        not asked anymore for my password.

        Sorry to bother you with this. Hope you can help !

        Best regards,


  4. I am pretty, but unfortunatly it does not work :

    michael@ubuntu:~$ sudo gksu gedit /etc/modules
    [sudo] password for michael:

    Then, the file editor opens :

    # /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
    # This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
    # at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with “#” are ignored.


    I have entered tifm_sd

    Now, perhaps should I have written “tifm_sd” somewhere else.

    Many thanks and again sorry. I am a poor old french newbie in Linux. But I can say that despite this small problem, this OS works much better and faster than Vista and 7 and also I just have a touch now of the friendship of this community.

    Best regards,

    • Hi,

      Thats fine.

      You are right.

      The file has the proper content as it has the line “tifm_sd”.

      Now restart your ubuntu machine.

      on the next reboot, your sd card will work very fine. the same has happened to me.

      After I restarted, it worked well.

      do it and reply me with your results.

      Thanks, Shrini

  5. Sorry Shrini, its still not working. But I think my problem might be beyond Linux because I have tried my SD card with Windows 7 on this laptop (I have installed over Vista) and it does not work either. I was wondering wether I should perhaps re-install Vista (originally installed on this notebook) and then, re-install Koala Karmique.

  6. Hi !

    I have recovered my Vaio system on my notebook (VGN-TZ21XN) with Vista Professional. I have then tested my SD card which has been working all right. I then reinstalled Karmique Koala, killed Vista (because my laptop works a lot better with Linux) and followed the instructions :

    michael@michael-laptop:~$ sudo gksu gedit /etc/modules
    [sudo] password for michael:


    the file editor opens and I add tifm_sd :

    # /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
    # This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
    # at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with “#” are ignored.


    But unfortunatly; its still not working. Do I need something else ?

    Many thanks for your help

    Regards from freezing Paris.

      • Hi Shrini,

        Yes I have rebooted several times and it is not working. I would say that this is not essential because this is the only device which does not work. Everything otherwise is working properly and my laptop is much faster than it was before with Windows. But that would be nice if this card reader could work. So, if you have by any chance a solution, please do hesitate to shoot me a mail.

        Best regards and long life to Linux.

  7. Hi Mike
    You must move “tifm_sd” to the line before the “lp” line then save it and reboot it again it will work!!!!
    So Thank to tshrinivasan

  8. It didn’t work! I did everything like you said and nothing. It still doesn’t read my sd card. I’m running Ubuntu 10.04 on a Toshiba Satellite Pro 6100. I live in a very rural area and have very limited access to the internet. I thought the idea of a free OS sounded good, but my experience as been anything but good. In fact it is costing me as much or more with hours spent at the cyber cafe (which isn’t free I might add). I guess you get what you pay for, or rather somebody is going to get paid one way or the other (this isn’t free). Let’s just say I’m not very happy with having to spend hours doing google searches every time I want to do anything new on my computer. Maybe I should go back to using the system that seemed to work every time I double clicked on setup.exe. In those days I didn’t have to spend hours on the internet wading through ignorance, finally post a question only to be given a web link to another long thread that I had already read and tried and found it didn’t work.
    Okay, sorry for venting on your post but not having the SD card show up when I put it in the slot was the proverbial last straw. The only reason I’m still playing with Ubuntu is I like the challenge of a puzzle. So far it has given me lots of challenges. If I had to do real work on this computer would have given up a long time ago and gone back to MS Windows.
    Sorry guys, that’s just the way it seems to be.
    Sincerely yours,

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  10. it works fine for me but unfortunately i must restart my computer. i want it to detect immediately after i inserted my card…could that be possible?

  11. Or, you could just run Windows or MacOS, both of which have recognized USB storage class devices out of the box since, oh, 1998 or so.

    No need for a mount command either.

    It’s unbelievable that the Linux community not only accepts but actively embraces and promotes this stuff.

  12. Guys, you obviously weren’t around at the start of the Windows road with DOS jumping into Windows 3.1…. These problems existed then and any new OS has to grow and make mistakes before getting to grips with every chipset/interface the world has to offer.

    If Linux had the kind of money thrown at it that Windows has had over the years, then it may have already been the Win beater it WILL BE !!! Dozens of people have reacted positively to this particular fix, with only one MS lover professing love for the world’s bloatware producer. I love Linux/Ubuntu/Debian and tinker till daylight…..

  13. Heya! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several
    weeks of hard work due to no backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  14. Excellent info, thanks a lot! One of my favourite things about Ubuntu is learning stuff like this. I feel far more like an interactive user, rather than just having to take what I’m given, which is very much the experience with Windows.

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  25. I followed the above steps. But it is not working. Fatal: moule tfim_sd not found. Are the above steps for sdhc card which is inserted into laptop default card reader?

  26. In my case, the file opened after which i typed tifm_sd and restrarted the system. But it still failed to recognize the card. What should i do?

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