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How to format a hard drive on Ubuntu 12.04 using Fdisk


Today I will show you how to format a hard disk using Fdisk.  Fdisk comes already installed on most modern Linux distributions by default.

For the purpose of this tutorial I will be using Fdisk on Ubuntu 12.04 to format a 16Gb USB penstick with the ntfs file system.

First we need to see what our 16Gb USB penstick is mounted as so open up a terminal and type:

sudo fdisk -l

and type your password when prompted.  You should get a screenshot similar to the one below.

In this case my 16Gb USB penstick is mounted at /dev/sdc1.

Next type:

sudo fdisk /dev/sdc1

and you should get the command prompt shown below.

Now we need to check the existing partitions on the penstick so type:

p

to get the screenshot below.

Now we know what is on the drive it is time to delete it so type:

d

You will then be asked for the partition number (1-4).  In my case I have 4 partitions on the disk and I need to delete them all.  So I will type 1 and this will erase the 1st partition only.  I would then be left with partitions 2 – 4 and to remove these I would repeat the procedure until all the partitions have been erased.

We now need to set up the new partition so in your terminal type:

n

Because this is the first partition on the drive type:

p

You will now be asked for a partition number.  Choose 1 and then press return.  When asked to specify the First Sector choose the default by pressing Return.  Again accept the default Last Sector by pressing Return.

Now that the partition parameters have been specified we need to write them to the hard drive and we do that by typing:

w

All that is left to do is to make the filesystem on the hard drive and to do that we type:

sudo mkfs -t ntfs /dev/sdc1

Next time I will show you how to accomplish the same task using GParted (for those who like a GUI).

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

Formatting a hard drive in Linux


Imagine the situation.  You are using Linux and you want to format a particular hard drive.  What tool would you use?  If you like GUI’s then the best tool to use would be GParted.  But what if you think that GUI’s are not your thing and you want to use the command line?  Then you want fdisk.

Ok here goes, open up a terminal and type su.  When prompted enter your root password.

Type fdisk /dev/device (where device is the ID of your hard drive you want to format eg sda)

Next you want to check for any existing partitions on the drive by pressing p.

You now want to delete any existing partitions by pressing d.

Press n to construct a new partition on the hard drive.

When you get the choice of specifying cyclinders use the default for first and last (unless you have a specific need to change them).

Now we need to write the partition to the disk and we do this by pressing w.

It is now time to make the filesystem on the partition.  First off though you have to choose the file system you want.  At the moment the best one to use in Linux is ext4.  If however you intend to use the hard drive with Windows at some point then use NTFS.

In your terminal type mkfs -t ext4 /dev/device (where device is the ID of your hard drive you want to format eg sda).

All that is left to do is mount the hard drive.  If the hard drive is an external one then it will be automatically mounted when you plug it in.  However if the drive is an internal IDE or SATA drive you will need to enter it into the fstab file which is covered here.

About the Author

P1020114

Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows, Mac and Linux based IT Support to small businesses in Stirling, Alloa and Falkirk.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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