usb_modeswitch Man page

USB_MODESWITCH(1) General Commands Manual USB_MODESWITCH(1)


usb_modeswitch – 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 already installed, it makes the
storage device disappear and a new device, mainly composite 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 mes‐
sage has to be determined by analyzing the actions of the Windows

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

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

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 num‐
ber (example: 0x12d1). Each USB device is identified by a
number officialy assigned to the vendor by the USB associa‐
tion and a number for the respective model (product ID) cho‐
sen 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 (ven‐
dor/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 spe‐
cific device on a specific USB port is guaranteed, in con‐
trast 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 success‐
ful 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 test‐
ing 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, -3 –message-content2, –message-content3 STRING
Additional bulk messages to send as switching commands. Pro‐
vided as hexadecimal strings. When used with mass storage
commands, setting –need-response is strongly advised to com‐
ply with specifications and to avoid likely errors

-w –release-delay NUM
After issuing all bulk messages, wait for NUM milliseconds
before releasing the interface. Required for some modems on
older systems (especially after an EJECT message)

-n –need-response
Read the response (command status wrapper) to a mass storage
command transfer. Some devices have trouble switching if the
response is not read; most are disappearing right away. When
sending multiple mass storage commands with -2 and -3, this
may need to be set to avoid transfer errors

-r –response-endpoint NUM
Try to read the response to a storage command from there if
option -n is active. Only for testing purposes; usually end‐
points 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

-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

-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

-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

-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 dur‐
ing testing

-c –config-file FILE


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 mes‐

-D –sysmode
Changes the behaviour of the program slightly. A success mes‐
sage 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 NUM
After switching, keep checking for the result up to max. NUM
seconds. If target IDs or target class were provided, their
appearance indicates certain success. Otherwise the discon‐
nection of the original device is rated as likely proof

-I –no-inquire
do not obtain SCSI attributes from device (default is on).
For proper identification of differing devices the attributes
of the storage part provide valuable information. This is
not needed for devices that are known and supported

-i –interface NUM
Select initial USB interface (default: 0). Only for testing

-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
( 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


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