Linux - HardwareThis forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?
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This isn't a Linux issue as much as one of a hardware nature but I am looking for a Linux-related solution (I don't run Windows at all).
I have a USB flash drive that can't be written to. I can mount the drive (apparently) and I can copy the one and only file on it but I can't write to it at all. This includes repartitioning or reformatting.
fdisk -l output is very strange:
leisa@laptop:~$ fdisk -l /dev/sdb
Disk /dev/sdb: 4288 MB, 4288676352 bytes
132 heads, 62 sectors/track, 1023 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 8184 * 512 = 4190208 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x6f20736b
This doesn't look like a partition table
Probably you selected the wrong device.
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 ? 95081 234561 570754815+ 72 Unknown
Partition 1 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
phys=(357, 116, 40) logical=(95080, 19, 11)
Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
phys=(357, 32, 45) logical=(234560, 104, 51)
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sdb2 ? 20613 257175 968014120 65 Novell Netware 386
Partition 2 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
phys=(288, 115, 43) logical=(20612, 14, 47)
Partition 2 has different physical/logical endings:
phys=(367, 114, 50) logical=(257174, 92, 42)
Partition 2 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sdb3 ? 228481 465043 968014096 79 Unknown
Partition 3 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
phys=(366, 32, 33) logical=(228480, 18, 30)
Partition 3 has different physical/logical endings:
phys=(357, 32, 43) logical=(465042, 95, 39)
Partition 3 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sdb4 ? 352601 352608 27749+ d Unknown
Partition 4 has different physical/logical beginnings (non-Linux?):
phys=(372, 97, 50) logical=(352600, 44, 25)
Partition 4 has different physical/logical endings:
phys=(0, 10, 0) logical=(352607, 15, 33)
Partition 4 does not end on cylinder boundary.
Partition table entries are not in disk order
I don't care about the data on this device. I only want to be able to use the damned thing.
I mentioned trying to zero the thing out using the dd command; that is, erase the device by filling it up with zero-bits. It's probably only necessary to wipe out the partition table that lies in the first sector or so.
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1
Be very careful you get the right device name, dd isn't nicknamed "data destroyer" for nothing. I know from personal experience.
Once you have the device zeroed, you should be able to go back in and repartition it. Assuming it's not a hardware problem, of course.
As for your comment about using the drive for backup, I'm sure they're generally quite reliable. But the FAT filesystem isn't. If you plan only to use the drive as a linux backup device, you might consider formatting it in ext3 instead.
Also be aware that flash memory devices are capable of only a limited number of write-erase cycles before the memory blocks in them start to become unusable, so try not to stress them too much.
This device is dead. Nothing will write to it. 'dd' command did nothing, 'badblocks' actually appeared to be doing something as it went on and on for about 11 hours but did nothing except to give my cpu fan a workout.