[sf-lug] how to use fdisk to repartition a 1TB USB hard drive? (jim) [sf-lug Digest, Vol 41, Issue 8]

jim jim at well.com
Mon Jun 15 08:10:51 PDT 2009

   "some such" is a place holder for my bad memory: 
i forget the exact words of the error message. 
   the system originally reported the device as 
/dev/sdb6, and using  fdisk /dev/sdb  did bring up 
something credible: a complaint about the invalidity 
of the partition table, which showed four partitions 
with complaints. 
   i deleted the four partitions and made a new one 
of 100 GB, wrote it, and rebooted. 
   voila:  fdisk -l  reported /dev/sdb and /dev/sdb1 
and i used  mke2fs -j  to make an ext3 filesystem 
and rebooted. 
   voila: right-click the GUI icon and choose volume 
and see rw ... ext3 but use  fdisk -l  and see 
/dev/sdb1 as vfat. _not only_, but both GUI and fdisk 
report /dev/sdb1 as 1TB (approximately), tho' i'd 
used  fdisk  to make a 100GB partition. 
   i copied some files and rebooted, and there are 
the files. the  ls -lai  command reports inode 
numbers, so it looks like ext3 and i'm guessing 
ext3 is somehow sitting on vfat, tho' i'm not taking 
my guesswork seriously. 
   i took up the strategy "screw it" and used 
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1 
and got the error message i've badly reported as 
"some such". 
   files are still there, drive is still variously 
seen as 1TB vfat or ext3, and  ls -i  reports inode 

   i'm hoping for another bit of feedback as to what 
i might be able to do, then i'll make a decision as 
to returning the thing (minus files and hopefully as 
vfat) or voiding the warrantee. 

On Sun, 2009-06-14 at 20:55 -0700, Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting jim (jim at well.com):
> >    the  dd  command failed: /dev/sdb wasn't 
> > valid or wasn't there or some such. 
> Um, whoa there.  Huh?  What does "some such" mean?   
> I certainly wasn't guaranteeing that, at any given time, the device
> would be addressable as /dev/sdb.  That part's up to you, e.g., through
> checking "dmeg | more" to find out what device name the kernel assigned
> to the mass storage device.  Then, once you have the correct device
> name, and are the root user, "dd" _will_ be able to write to it, if it
> can be physically written to at all.
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