Saturday, September 09, 2006

Formatting your USB stick in Linux

After all that dealing with all that fake USB key stuff, I ended up picking up a 5 gig USB stick from Z-Cyber (it was cheap). Long story short, I ended up having to format it, and I haven't been able to get it properly formatted since. I could get Linux to see the sole FAT32 partition on it, but not Windows. Oddly enough, even if I formatted it with Windows, it still wouldn't show up properly on Windows machines.

Anyways, I think I've finally found the proper way to format your USB key in Linux. This extremely helpful article walks you through it.

I think I kept making two mistakes before I found that article. The first was that I kept forgetting to actually format the partition using mkfs.vfat (fdisk just creates the partition). The other problem I had was that I forgot that /dev/sda and /dev/sda1 are different. The second one (/dev/sda1) is the "first partition" on the drive, while /dev/sda is the whole drive. (I had ended up adding accidentally creating a new partition on /dev/sda1, which made a partition in a partition or something screwy like that... I should have taken a screenshot of what Nautilus thought the drive contained... trust me, it was bad.)

Anyways, I pretty much feel like a total idiot for forgetting my partitioning basics, but I'm going to take that as a sign that desktop Linux's usability has gotten better, seeing as it's been a pretty long time since I've had to do any crazy manual partitioning like this. (Now, if only GParted worked properly on my USB key in the first place, I wouldn't have had to figure this out... :P)

8 comments:

romunov said...

Thank you for the link, it rendered my usbkey to work again.

Dushyant Sharma said...

awsome post buddy. it really helped me after i was about to destroy my usb disk. i tried lots of articles and posts but nothing worked. this one really did the trick. thanks man

maswey said...

thank you nice sharing
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Anonymous said...

Link is dead :(

Anonymous said...

Boo Dead link

tim said...

Havent had any worries partitioning/formatting key. I have a question though. Im hoping to do something like this: partition my key into two; leave one as a normal drive and throw a live distro on the other?

rcoyner said...

Dead link now... This is how I formatted my USB key if it will be any help for other people:

http://www.bytetrap.com/blog/2009/04/13/formatting-usb-stick-arch-linux/My post is specific to Arch Linux but most of the commands you need to go through to format a USB key should be universal to most distributions.

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