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usb_modeswitch - Man Page

control the mode of 'multi-state' USB devices


usb_modeswitch [-heWQDIvpVPmM23rwKdHSOBGTNALnsRiuagft] [-c filename]


Several new USB devices have their proprietary Windows drivers onboard, most of them WWAN and WLAN  dongles. When plugged in for the first time, they act like a flash storage and start installing the Windows driver from there. If the driver is installed, it makes the storage device disappear and a new device, mainly composite (e.g. with modem ports), shows up.

On Linux, in most cases the drivers are available as kernel modules, such as "usbserial" or "option". However, the device initially binds to "usb-storage" by default. usb_modeswitch can then send a provided bulk message (most likely a mass storage command) to the device; this message has to be determined by analyzing the actions of the Windows driver.

In some cases, USB control commands are used for switching. These cases are handled by custom functions, and no bulk message needs to be provided.

Usually, the program is distributed with a set of configurations for many known devices, which allows a fully automatic handling of a device upon insertion, made possible by combining usb_modeswitch with the wrapper script usb_modeswitch_dispatcher which is launched by the udev daemon. This requires a Linux-flavoured system though.

Note that usb_modeswitch itself has no specific Linux dependencies.


This program follows the usual GNU command line syntax, with long options starting with two dashes ('--').  A summary of options is included below.

-h --help        

Show summary of options.

-e --version        

Print version information and exit

-v --default-vendor NUM        

Vendor ID to look for (mandatory), usually given as hex number (example: 0x12d1). Each USB device is identified by a number officialy assigned to the vendor by the USB association and a number for the respective model (product ID) chosen by the vendor

-p --default-product NUM        

Product ID to look for (mandatory)

-V --target-vendor NUM        

Target vendor ID. When given will be searched for and detected initially for information purposes. If success checking (option -s) is active, providing target IDs (vendor/product) or target class is recommended

-j --find-mbim        

Return configuration number with MBIM interface and exit.

-P --target-product NUM        

Target product ID

-b --bus-num NUM        
-g --device-num NUM        

If bus and device number are provided, the handling of a specific device on a specific USB port is guaranteed, in contrast to using only the USB ID. This is important if there are multiple similar devices on a system

-C --target-class NUM        

Target Device Class according to the USB specification. Some devices keep their original vendor/product ID after successful switching. To prevent them from being treated again, the device class can be checked. For unswitched devices it is always 8 (storage class), for switched modems it is often 0xff (vendor specific). In composite modes, the class of the first interface is watched

-m --message-endpoint NUM        

A specific endpoint to use for data transfers. Only for testing purposes; usually endpoints are determined from the device attributes

-M --message-content STRING        

A bulk message to send as a switching command. Provided as a hexadecimal string

-2  --message-content2 STRING        
-3  --message-content3 STRING        

Additional bulk messages to send as switching commands. Provided as hexadecimal strings. When used with mass storage commands, setting --need-response is strongly advised to comply with specifications and to avoid likely errors

-w --release-delay <milliseconds>        

After issuing all bulk messages, wait for the given time before releasing the interface. Required for some modems on older systems (especially after an EJECT message)

-n --need-response        

Obsolete. CSW is always attempted to being read after mass storage transfers. No downside

-r --response-endpoint NUM        

Try to read the response to a storage command from there. Only for testing purposes; usually endpoints are determined from the device attributes

-K --std-eject        

Apply the standard SCSI sequence of "Allow Medium Removal" and "Eject". Implies -n. One 'Message' can be added with -M that will be transmitted after the eject sequence. Used by many modems

-d --detach-only        

Just detach the current driver. This is sufficient for some early devices to switch successfully. Otherwise this feature can be used as a 'scalpel' for special cases, like separating the driver from individual interfaces

-H --huawei-mode        

Send a special control message used by older Huawei devices

-J --huawei-new-mode        

Send a specific bulk message used by all newer Huawei devices

-X --huawei-alt-mode        

Send an alternative bulk message to Huawei devices

-S --sierra-mode        

Send a special control message used by Sierra devices

-G --gct-mode        

Send a special control message used by GCT chipsets

-T --kobil-mode        

Send a special control message used by Kobil devices

-N --sequans-mode        

Send a special control message used by Sequans chipset

-A --mobileaction-mode        

Send a special control message used by the MobileAction device

-B --qisda-mode        

Send a special control message used by Qisda devices

-E --quanta-mode        

Send a special control message used by Quanta devices

-F --pantech-mode NUM        

Send a special control message used by Pantech devices. Value NUM will be used in control message as 'wValue'

-Z --blackberry-mode        

Send a special control message used by some newer Blackberry devices

-S --option-mode        

Send a special control message used by all Option devices

-O --sony-mode        

Apply a special sequence used by Sony Ericsson devices. Implies option --check-success

-L --cisco-mode        

Send a sequence of bulk messages used by Cisco devices

-R --reset-usb        

Send a USB reset command to the device. Can be combined with any switching method or stand alone. It is always done as the last step of all device interactions. Few devices need it to complete the switching; apart from that it may be useful during testing

-c --config-file FILENAME        

Use a specific config file. If any ID or switching options are given as command line parameters, this option is ignored. In that case all mandatory parameters have to be provided on the command line

-f --long-config STRING        

Provide device details in config file syntax as a multiline string on the command line

-t --stdinput        

Read the device details in config file syntax from standard input, e.g. redirected from a command pipe (multiline text)

-Q --quiet        

Don't show progress or error messages

-W --verbose        

Print all settings before running and show libusb debug messages

-D --sysmode        

Changes the behaviour of the program slightly. A success message including the effective target device ID is put out and a syslog notice is issued. Mainly for integration with a wrapper script

-s --check-success <seconds>        

After switching, keep checking for the result up to the given time. If target IDs or target class were provided, their appearance indicates certain success. Otherwise the disconnection of the original device is rated as likely proof

-I --inquire        

Obsolete. Formerly obtained SCSI attributes, now ignored

-i --interface NUM        

Select initial USB interface (default: 0). Only for testing purposes

-u --configuration NUM        

Select USB configuration (applied after any other possible switching actions)

-a --altsetting NUM        

Select alternative USB interface setting (applied after switching). Mainly for testing


This manual page was originally written by Didier Raboud (didier@raboud.com) for the Debian system. Additions made by Josua Dietze. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU General Public License, Version 2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.

The complete text of the current GNU General Public License can be found in http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt

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