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Is it possible to format a Raspberry Pi Zero to automatically mount as a hard drive when plugged into a computer via USB? If so, are there any available tutorials or resources to help me achieve this?

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  • Stephan, welcome to the RPi flavored corner of Stack Exchange. As is, your question is way too broad to be reasonably answered in this format. I suggest you take the tour and take a look at what kind of questions work well here. – Jacobm001 May 8 '17 at 20:25
  • Your project has a ton of moving parts. If you need help from us, you'll need to break it down into much, much smaller and more manageable pieces. Presenting as a mountable device, being powered by a battery, and interfacing with Dropbox are all completely separate projects and can be rather involved in their own right. – Jacobm001 May 8 '17 at 20:26
  • Thanks for the advice! I'll try moving forward with just one part at a time. – Stephan Krasner May 8 '17 at 20:33
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I used this to create a 1.5 MB Pi USB memory stick:

g_mass_storage - To have your Pi Zero appear as a mass storage device (flash drive), first create a mini filesystem in a file on your Pi with:

    dd if=/dev/zero of=./piusb.bin bs=512 count=2880

and set it up as a fat32 filesystem with

    mkdosfs ./piusb.bin

Then load the drive use:

    sudo modprobe g_mass_storage file=./piusb.bin stall=0

Of course you can make the piusb.bin file as large as you want your USB file system to be. 512 bytes * 2880 = 1.5 MB

Thanks to this Raspberry Pi forum posting I found that if you use g_multi instead of g_mass_storage (or in fact g_serial and g_ether) you can use all of the USB gadgets!!!

Therefore you want the following in your /etc/rc.local:

    /bin/sleep 5
    /sbin/modprobe g_multi file=/home/pi/piusb.bin

As an added plus you can now also use screen to get to the console of your Pi using the command:

    screen /dev/ttyACM0 115200

You may need to enable serial console using the command:

    sudo systemctl enable getty@ttyGS0.service
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