HTGWA: Partition, format, and mount a large disk in Linux with parted

This is a simple guide, part of a series I'll call 'How-To Guide Without Ads'. In it, I'm going to document how I partition, format, and mount a large disk (2TB+) in Linux with parted.

Note that newer fdisk versions may work better with giant drives... but since I'm now used to parted I'm sticking with it for the foreseeable future.

List all available drives

$ sudo parted -l
Error: /dev/sda: unrecognised disk label
Model: ATA Samsung SSD 870 (scsi)                                         
Disk /dev/sda: 8002GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: unknown
Disk Flags:

Good, I had plugged in that SSD just now, and it's brand new, so it doesn't have a partition table, label, or anything. It's the one I want to operate on. It's located at /dev/sda. I could also find that info with lsblk.

Partition your drive with parted

$ sudo parted /dev/sda
(parted) mklabel gpt             # to create a partition table
(parted) print                   # to verify parition info
(parted) mkpart primary 0% 100%  # create primary partition filling entire disk
(parted) quit

Verify you see the partition with fdisk

$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda                                        
Disk /dev/sda: 7.3 TiB, 8001563222016 bytes, 15628053168 sectors
Disk model: Samsung SSD 870 
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: gpt
Disk identifier: 44C96693-5B5E-4ABB-AEEC-A60C613E7EC6

Device     Start         End     Sectors  Size Type
/dev/sda1   2048 15628052479 15628050432  7.3T Linux filesystem

Now we know the partition ID, /dev/sda1.

Format the partition

I almost always use EXT4, because it's nice and reliable:

$ sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sda1
mke2fs 1.44.5 (15-Dec-2018)
Discarding device blocks: done                            
Creating filesystem with 1953506304 4k blocks and 244191232 inodes
Filesystem UUID: c597dcb4-83b2-4a93-a8a0-34d17af17729
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
    32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208, 
    4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872, 71663616, 78675968, 
    102400000, 214990848, 512000000, 550731776, 644972544, 1934917632

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
Creating journal (262144 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done 

Mount the partition

$ sudo mkdir /mnt/mydrive
$ sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/mydrive

Verify the mount shows up with df

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1       7.3T   93M  6.9T   1% /mnt/mydrive

Bingo! It's mounted.

Make the mount persist

If you don't add the mount to /etc/fstab, it won't be mounted after you reboot!

First, get the UUID of the drive (the value inside the quotations in the output below—and not the PARTUUID):

$ sudo blkid
/dev/sda1: UUID="c597dcb4-83b2-4a93-a8a0-34d17af17729" TYPE="ext4" PARTLABEL="primary" PARTUUID="99457865-24e2-4e2a-becd-1d6498de2369"

Then, edit /etc/fstab (e.g. sudo nano /etc/fstab) and add a line like the following to the end:

UUID=c597dcb4-83b2-4a93-a8a0-34d17af17729 /mnt/mydrive ext4 defaults 0 0

Save that file and reboot.

Note: If genfstab is available on your system, use it instead. Much less likely to asplode things: genfstab -U /mnt/mydrive | sudo tee -a /etc/fstab.

Note 2: You can verify the fstab syntax is correct with sudo findmnt --verify

Verify the mount persisted.

After reboot:

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1       7.3T   93M  6.9T   1% /mnt/mydrive


I quite like `cfdisk` for partitioning a disk. It provides a quite nice curses UI that's quite simple to use.