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It seems there's a bug in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx which affects USB devices which do not automount when plugged-in meaning the device isn't displayed on the desktop and also doesn't show up in Nautilus.

I upgraded to Lucid a long time ago and this bug wasn't occurring but today when trying to plug in an USB device (I actually tried several devices - a music player and several USB memory sticks) they simply won't automount.

After some research it seems this is caused (weird, I know...) by the BIOS "Legacy Floppy" setting being enabled (it seems it's related to this). So to fix it, all I had to do is restart the computer and next to the "Floppy" setting in the BIOS I selected "Disabled" instead of "Legacy Floppy" - problem solved, as soon as Ubuntu booted, automount was working again and my USB devices were showing up in Nautilus again.

Hopefully this will help those of you having the same issue as I did.

Update: alternatively (thanks to Benplanet), run the following command in a terminal:
sudo modprobe -r floppy

And then restart your computer.