Usb Login Scripts Save Abandoned

A formal repository for the scripts we use on our SSH-loading USB sticks

Project README


These scripts extend the idea of loading SSH keys from a USB stick described here.


  • Load a password-protected SSH key, which will automatically expire at 6:20 local time, or after 1 hour (whichever is longer)
  • Add your email and initials to the .git-authors file on the machine if not already present
  • Automatically pull script updates from github (off by default; needs --update flag)
  • Automatically unmount the drive when complete


Disk formatting

These steps are not necessary if your drive has already been formatted, e.g. because you previously used Tammer's blog's steps.

  1. Insert your USB and run the following command to get the disk identifier:

    diskutil list
  2. Run the following commands to reformat the drive with password-protection, inserting your variables.

    diskutil eraseVolume jhfsx <new-usb-name> /Volumes/<old-usb-name>/
    diskutil partitionDisk /dev/<disk-identifier> GPT JHFS+ <new-usb-name> 0b
    diskutil cs convert /Volumes/<new-usb-name>/ -passphrase

Script installation and key creation

  • If you already have a keypair on your drive, the installation below will respect it
  • If you already have an executable file named load, the script will overwrite it (after prompting)
  • If you already a differently named executable file or other content, the script will not touch it

Run the following commands and enter your details when prompted:

cd /Volumes/usb-volume-name-here
git clone

(if you would like to use the script from Tammer's blog, which does not add you to the git duet file or calculate an automatic expiry time for the keys, you can run ./usb-login-scripts/ --classic instead)

This will copy the repository onto your USB drive and create a load file in the root. It will also optionally create a public/private key pair in the root of your drive. If so, you should next upload the public key to github.

Later, you can update the load script if needed by running git pull from the usb-login-scripts directory (or if you are using the "full" version, by specifying the --update flag).


  1. Insert your USB key and enter your password to unlock it (if you chose to encrypt the entire filesystem)
  2. In a terminal run /Volumes/my-usb-stick-name/load
  3. You will be added to .git-authors immediately (to prevent this, add --noduet or -D to the command)
  4. You will be prompted for your SSH key password; enter it and the key will be loaded until the end of the day (to prevent this, add --nokey or -K to the command)
  5. If you specify --update or -u, a git pull will be attempted to update the scripts.
  6. The drive will automatically eject when the script is finished (to prevent this, add --noeject, -E, or keep to the command)

As with typical UNIX commands, you can chain short-form arguments. For example, load -KE will disable key loading and ejecting the drive.

Note that all stages will run by default. You can disable stages using capital letters, or focus stages using lowercase letters (e.g. load -k will only load the SSH key, or load -ke will load the SSH key and eject).

If anything goes wrong, simply kill with Ctrl+C.


Orchestration is handled by, but scripts can also be executed on their own.

Git duet author file

Searches the ~/.git-authors file for the user's email address, and if not found, attempts to create a new entry under authors:. If the user's initials are already in use, will prompt for alternative initials.

Code is in

Key loading

Keys are loaded with ssh-add, and expect is used to enter the password programmatically.

Code is in


Unmounting is only attempted if the script's path contains "/Volumes/", to prevent accidentally unmounting a built-in drive.

Code is in

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "Usb Login Scripts" Project. README Source: vmware-archive/usb-login-scripts
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