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Old 02-14-2005, 09:56 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 76

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fdisk, sfdisk, cfdisk: driving me crazy

I have attempted to repartition (about 20 times) my 512 meg flash usb disk (so that I can install damnsmalllinux on it). I keep running into problems, depending on which partitioning software I use.

I have read that sfdisk is the best for flash drives, but when I use that tool my drive won't mount ("cannot find valid vfat filesystem", or something like that, even though I have specified that the fs be fat16 and the verfification shows it to be).

Also, sfdisk is the most horribly awkward piece of software that I have ever come across. Probably I'm doing something wrong because I don't understand the program well enough (I have other problems with fdisk and cfdisk, probably due to the fact that I am not an uber-geek).

Can someone show me the command to create a single partition on the device, bootable, in fat16 format? (when I've done it, sfdisk always creates four partitions). It's the commas and the semicolons where I get mixed up. I want to remove the other three partitions and just leave the one. And, I want to make sure that the thing will mount.
Old 02-14-2005, 10:24 AM   #2
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Registered: Jul 2002
Location: East Centra Illinois, USA
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The man pages for sfdisk states that using sfdisk to create partitions is "very dangerous".
I think you might be better off using parted to 1) delete all the partitions on the disk, then 2) create a single partition on the disk.
When that is done, use parted with the mkfs option (see the man page for parted) to format for fat 16.
Old 02-14-2005, 11:20 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Vancouver
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Thanks for the prompt reply.
Why is everyone (in all the googling I did) using sfdisk (and fdisk and cfdisk) for this kind of thing?
Parted works:

mkpartfs primary fat16 0 495
set 1 boot on

Done. Easy.

(I did see the "dangerous" warning, but thought it had to do with accidentally overwriting data, and since there was no data on the disk..)

Thanks again.
Old 02-14-2005, 01:21 PM   #4
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Registered: Nov 2002
Location: CA
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Well, I'm glad you achieved your goal with parted. I've used fdisk all the time and got comfortable with it. Once you understand how the software works, it's pretty easy to use. At first, it can get daunting but once you spend more time with it, you get the feel of it. Kind of like migrating windows->linux.



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