How to Reset USB Device in Linux–using libusb

This is a follow up of the previous entry How to Reset USB Device in Linux. The previous blog covers a method to reset usb device using ioctl system call. This blog gives an alternative approach to reset usb device, using libusb.

libusb is a cross-platform library giving user level application uniform access to usb devices. You’ll need to install the development package first. Simply typing the following commands to your terminal (using Ubuntu as an example),

sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev

After installation, you can use the methods in libusb. Below is the C source code to reset usb device using libusb API,

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <libusb-1.0/libusb.h>

//compile: gcc usbreset.c -o usbreset -lusb-1.0
//usage: ./usbreset 2 6
//use lsusb to check out the bus number and device number

struct libusb_device_handle *devh;
struct libusb_device *dev;
struct libusb_device **devs;

void resetUSB() {
    int success;
    int bpoint = 0;
    do {
        success = libusb_reset_device(devh);
        if ((bpoint % 10) == 0) {
        if (bpoint > 100) {
            success = 1;
    } while (success < 0);
    if (success) {
        printf("nreset usb device failed:%dn", success);
    } else {
        printf("nreset usb device okn");

struct libusb_device* search_device(int _busNum, int _devNum) { 
    libusb_device *l_dev;
    int i = 0;
    int l_busNum, l_devNum;
    while ((l_dev = devs[i++]) != NULL) {
        printf("check against %d devicen", i);
        l_busNum =(int) libusb_get_bus_number(l_dev);
        l_devNum =(int) libusb_get_device_address(l_dev);
        printf("bus number: %d; device number: %dn", l_busNum, l_devNum);
        if ((l_busNum == _busNum) && (l_devNum == _devNum)) {
            printf("found devicen");
            return l_dev;
    return NULL;

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
    //parse the input parameters to get the bus number and device number
    int l_busNum, l_devNum;
    int l_ret;

    printf("program started!n");
    if (argc < 3) {
        printf("not enough arguments!n");
        printf("usage: ./usbreset <bus number> <dev number>n");
        return 0;
    printf("bus number: %sn", argv[1]);
    printf("dev number: %sn", argv[2]);

    l_busNum = atoi(argv[1]);
    l_devNum = atoi(argv[2]);
    printf("bus number: %d; dev number: %dn", l_busNum, l_devNum);

    l_ret = libusb_init(NULL);
    if (l_ret < 0) {
        return l_ret;
    l_ret = libusb_get_device_list(NULL, &devs);
    if (l_ret < 0) {
        return (int) l_ret;
    dev = search_device(l_busNum, l_devNum);
    if (dev == NULL) {
        printf("device not foundn");
        return 0;
    l_ret = libusb_open(dev, &devh);    
    if (l_ret == 0) {
        printf("got the usb handle successfully.n");
    } else {
        printf("error getting usb handle.n");
    //reset the usb device
    //free the device list
    libusb_free_device_list(devs, 1);

    return 0;

The code can be compiled using

gcc usbreset.c -o usbreset -lusb-1.0

To use the complied program usbreset, you can simply use,

sudo ./usbreset <bus number> <device number>

To check the bus number and device number of a usb device, you can use lsusb command.

To check if a device is resetted or not, you can use tail -f /var/log/messages.

An detailed example is given in How to Reset USB Device.

0 thoughts on “How to Reset USB Device in Linux–using libusb”

  1. i am tryin the same in debian….

    so i installed libusb 0.1.12-13 in my PC

    and used your reset code..but when i try to compile get the followin error..

    i am a newbie ..please guide..

    vir-deb5:/usr# gcc lib_reset.c -o gg -lusb
    lib_reset.c: In function âsearch_deviceâ:
    lib_reset.c:93: error: âlibusb_deviceâ undeclared (first use in this function)
    lib_reset.c:93: error: (Each undeclared identifier is reported only once
    lib_reset.c:93: error: for each function it appears in.)
    lib_reset.c:93: error: âl_devâ undeclared (first use in this function)

    1. It seems that you’re using the wrong libusb version. Please remove the wrong library and follow the instructions in this blog to install the correct one.

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