I am trying to access a USB thumb drive.

The drive has been formatted using Windows 10's format utility. Nothing fancy: One (empty) FAT32 partition (named "VOLUME") taking up the drive's entire capacity (1GB). I verified that the thumb drive is working by running h2testw (under Windows) which reported no drive errors.

I am now trying to reformat the device to ext3 as I will only use it from the Raspbery Pi. I am following this guide.

However, fdisk is showing me really strange output for the device (see picture):

enter image description here

This looks like complete garbage to me.

What's going on there?
Can I simply ignore this issue, delete the partitions and start over?

  • 3
    You seem to access the partition , not the block device itself : /dev/sd1a vs /dev/sda
    – flakeshake
    Jan 3, 2016 at 20:48
  • 2
    @flakeshake That is correct if you want to write a quick answer.
    – goldilocks
    Jan 3, 2016 at 20:51

1 Answer 1


You are accessing the partition, not the block device itself : /dev/sda1 vs /dev/sda.

Try using
sudo fdisk /dev/sda

  • Thanks - that works! Just out of curiosity: What is the reason for the strange output observed in the screenshot? Is that the result of fdisk trying to interpret partition content as another partition table?
    – Matthias
    Jan 3, 2016 at 21:00

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