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Partitioning and Formatting New Disks in Linux

Posted November 4th, 2012 in Linux

The below is a quick guide to creating partitions on a newly purchased, unformatted disk. For this guide I’ll be formatting a new WD 2TB Black.

 

Find the disk you want to partition

# lsblk

NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 55.9G 0 disk
├─sda1 8:1 0 53.6G 0 part /
├─sda2 8:2 0 1K 0 part
└─sda5 8:5 0 2.3G 0 part [SWAP]
sdb 8:16 0 1.8T 0 disk
sdc 8:32 0 1.8T 0 disk

Partitions appear as subitems. Notice sdb and sdc have no partitions – those are the disks I want to format.

 

Create the partition

# sudo fdisk /dev/sdb

Device contains neither a valid DOS partition table, nor Sun, SGI or OSF disklabel
Building a new DOS disklabel with disk identifier 0xd3e43840.
Changes will remain in memory only, until you decide to write them.
After that, of course, the previous content won’t be recoverable.

Warning: invalid flag 0×0000 of partition table 4 will be corrected by w(rite)

Command (m for help):

Below I’m using the default values to create one large partition for the whole disk.

n

Partition type:
p primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
e extended

Select (default p):
Using default response p
Partition number (1-4, default 1):
Using default value 1
First sector (2048-3907029167, default 2048):
Using default value 2048
Last sector, +sectors or +size{K,M,G} (2048-3907029167, default 3907029167):
Using default value 3907029167

Command (m for help):

All done? Write!

w

The partition table has been altered!

Calling ioctl() to re-read partition table.
Syncing disks.

That’s all for partitioning! Take a gander at your fancy new partitions:

# lsblk

NAME MAJ:MIN RM SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda 8:0 0 55.9G 0 disk
├─sda1 8:1 0 53.6G 0 part /
├─sda2 8:2 0 1K 0 part
└─sda5 8:5 0 2.3G 0 part [SWAP]
sdb 8:16 0 1.8T 0 disk
└─sdb1 8:17 0 1.8T 0 part
sdc 8:32 0 1.8T 0 disk
└─sdc1 8:33 0 1.8T 0 part

 

Format to NTFS

I’m choosing a quick format. You may choose instead to remove the -f argument for a proper one instead.

# sudo mkntfs -f /dev/sdb1

Cluster size has been automatically set to 4096 bytes.
Creating NTFS volume structures.
mkntfs completed successfully. Have a nice day.

 

Optional: Name the drives

Because I’m running NTFS I can give the drives labels. Make sure you have ntfsprogs installed then enter:

# sudo ntfslabel -f /dev/sdb1 YourLabel

 

More Information

For more information on partitioning check out Chris Wakefield’s post here.
For a short and sweet howto on  formatting as NTFS check here.
Information on NTFS labels here.