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Old 01-21-2007, 08:29 AM   #1
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Question Need to format hd outside of linux

Hi all I'm trying to install DSL onto my hd for a legacy pc(32mb ram 2.5gb hd, you get the picture)

I've tried to format the hd using cfdisk on the bootable cd but it returns a "disk not found" error,even after mounting everything i can.I'm a tech support agent for windows but a complete linux noob.

Is there a bootable app that will let me format the hd to ext3 similar to windows boot environment or installing kubuntu and similar?Or could someone explain how to use cfdisk?! (I've tried cfdisk /dev/hda, cfdisk /dev/sda, cfdisk /dev/hd1 and cfdisk /dev/hd3 (because i can mount hd3)
Old 01-21-2007, 08:38 AM   #2
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cfdisk is fine, but you really don't want to be screwing with a mounted disk. Try (as root)
fdisk -l
(lower case ell) - it will tell you what the disks are known as.
Make sure you are hitting the disk (i.e. for example cfdisk /dev/hda), not a partition (i.e. for example cfdisk /dev/hda1).
Old 01-21-2007, 09:08 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply

Unfortunately the fdisk -1 wasn't recognised as a command. I've checked the DSL site and they recommend using the livecd to format the hard drive but it's not a windows executable.

At the moment I'm booting to a livecd and trying to format from the cd. As far as i know it uses a ramdisk as opposed to my physical hd so maybe the hard drive isn't directly accessible?

I think the easiest solution would be a bootable GUI formatter like partitionmagic but I don't know of any that include ext2/ext3.

Any further help would be greatly appreciated.DSL doesn't recognise my NIC(broadcom suck) so it may take my replies some time as I'm booting back and forth
Old 01-21-2007, 09:23 AM   #4
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If you want a bootable formatter, you should look at the qparted livecd.

However, it seems you typed "fdisk -<one>" when it should've been "fdisk -l". That's "l" as in "live".
Old 01-24-2007, 08:16 AM   #5
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cfdisk (and fdisk) do not format anything for you. they are like the dos app fdisk, they create and alter partition tables. Once they are created then they can be formatted using the appropriate mkfs command (i.e. for ext2 mke2fs).

If your harddrive is on an ide interface it will most likely be /dev/hda, so you could try fdisk /dev/hda then press m for help (or l to list partitions on /dev/hda). If its a sata interface it may be /dev/sda instead, (you'll have to figure out the actual device to use. try looking in your bios set up utility and see if it tells you which interface the drive is on)

Once the partitions have been created then you can format them. before doing anything though you should read the man pages for fdisk (or cfdisk) and mkfs by typing into the console man fdisk/cfdisk/"any other command you want info on".

Make sure your harddisk isn't mounted first though, you can check what is mounted by typing df -h into the console.

Last edited by jameson; 01-24-2007 at 08:19 AM.
Old 01-24-2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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Download the knoppix livecd and use the included qparted (gui version). It's a gui partitioning tool which supports ext3, vfat and ntfs. Knoppix will automount your drives if possible. What hardware are you using? SATA, IDE, PATA, SCSI, etc. You may need to configure BIOS to turn off modern emulation settings like AHCI, the support for some of them is somewhat spotty.


cfdisk, disk, drive, ext3, format, found, hard, hd

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