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Thread: 32 GB USB stick won't format

  1. #1
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    Default 32 GB USB stick won't format

    openSUSE 13.2 64bit KDE 4.14.6

    I just bought a Kingston 32GB USB stick. It was formatted as FAT32. I deleted the single partition with fdisk, started a new Linux partition and wrote it. I then tried to format it as ext2 using mkfs. It locked up and I had to pull it out to try again. Same result. I tried ext4. Same result. I tried mkfs.vfat and it worked, but I don't want a FAT32 file structure. I then started YaST and tried the same thing using the partitioner only to fail again. It will format an XFS file system but as I am unfamiliar with its structure I would like to use an ext version. The package states support for only WinDoze and Mac so I suspect I can't return it.

    Any explanation and suggestions for a solution would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: 32 GB USB stick won't format

    While I understand that you used fdisk to remove the only partition that was there, maybe completly removing the partition table would help:
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1
    And take care! that X must be the correct letter for your device, do not destroy your system!!!!

    After wards, you could use fdisk to create a new partition table with one (or more) partitions and then use mkfs to create the file system(s) on it, or YaST.
    Henk van Velden

  3. #3
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    Default Re: 32 GB USB stick won't format

    Quote Originally Posted by hcvv View Post
    While I understand that you used fdisk to remove the only partition that was there, maybe completly removing the partition table would help:
    Code:
    dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1
    And take care! that X must be the correct letter for your device, do not destroy your system!!!!

    After wards, you could use fdisk to create a new partition table with one (or more) partitions and then use mkfs to create the file system(s) on it, or YaST.
    Thank you Henk. That was very good advice and it worked.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 32 GB USB stick won't format

    Quote Originally Posted by ionmich View Post
    Thank you Henk. That was very good advice and it worked.
    Nice it worked.

    There seems to be something in that MBR/partition block that can block things. It seems also that nobody here (there are several threads around) really knows what it is. But as in all of these cases a complete reorganisation of the device was wanted, thoroughly removing that block is easier/faster then finding out what it exactly is.
    Henk van Velden

  5. #5
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    Default Re: 32 GB USB stick won't format

    On 2015-05-04 13:16, hcvv wrote:
    >
    > ionmich;2708232 Wrote:
    >> Thank you Henk. That was very good advice and it worked.

    > Nice it worked.
    >
    > There seems to be something in that MBR/partition block that can block
    > things. It seems also that nobody here (there are several threads
    > around) really knows what it is. But as in all of these cases a complete
    > reorganisation of the device was wanted, thoroughly removing that block
    > is easier/faster then finding out what it exactly is.


    Interesting...

    Often I create an image on hard disk of new and empty usb sticks before
    formatting them, so that I can revert the operation (as the image is
    full of zeroes, it compresses terribly).

    In this case, such an image could perhaps be used to investigate the
    reason for the problem.

    Maybe there was something in the log :-?


    There is something I know that might be related, or maybe not.
    USB sticks are in fact optimized for the FAT filesystem. Every file
    write (if it implies a file size change) implies a write to the FAT area
    as well. As flash supports a limited number of writes, the FAT wears out
    first.

    (People see this when they use the sticks to work on them. Say,
    edit a word document on the stick. I have seen sticks break down
    relatively early because of this — we thought.
    The recommendation is to work on the hard disk, then copy
    the file to the stick. Not work on the stick.)

    Well, what the manufacturer does is implement the flash area where the
    FAT will be placed to have smaller chunks, and it is made more resilient
    to writes (I do not know how; perhaps remapping or spreading).

    Thus I'm afraid that placing Linux filesystems on sticks will wear them
    differently. Don't know if better of worse. The documentation where I
    read about the issue didn't say.


    --
    Cheers / Saludos,

    Carlos E. R.

    (from 13.1 x86_64 "Bottle" (Minas Tirith))

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