Setting up USB HD

Nils Kassube kassube at
Mon Feb 25 22:00:47 UTC 2008

Karl Larsen wrote:
>     I have a 18 GB hard drive in a case with a power supply and a
> devise that couples it to the USB system. When I checked it is mounted
> at /dev/sde1 and I was able with fdisk to put 2 partitions on it that
> are called /dev/sde1p1 and /dev/sde1p2. Here is what fdisk shows:

The device mounted as "/dev/sde1" should be one partition of the 
disk "/dev/sde".

> root at karl-desktop:~# fdisk /dev/sde1

It should be "fdisk /dev/sde" instead.

>      Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
> /dev/sde1p1               1       25000    12599968+  83  Linux
> /dev/sde1p2           25001       59597    17436888   83  Linux

Now that's strange - there should not be partitions within partitions. 
Probably fdisk thinks, the data from the first sector of that partition 
must be a partition table (which is wrong).

> root at karl-desktop:~# mkfs.ext3  /dev/sde1p1
> mke2fs 1.40.2 (12-Jul-2007)
> Could not stat /dev/sde1p1 --- No such file or directory

Glad it didn't work - I suppose that was close to a disaster.

>     It must be a problem with the USB connection. I was frankly
> surprised and happy that the fdisk worked properly, or appeared to at
> least. Does anyone have experience that might help?

No, the USB connection is OK. Just use the correct name for the devices 
you want to use, i.e. /dev/sde for the fdisk command. And before you 
format a partition, umount it, if it is mounted.


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