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I have installed Arch Linux ISO file into Flash disk with the following command:

dd bs=2M if=~/archlinux-2013.11.01-dual.iso of=/dev/sdd

Now I'm trying to format the flash disk with the following command:

sudo mkfs.vfat -F 32 /dev/sdd

But it gets me the following error :

mkfs.vfat: Device partition expected, not making filesystem on entire device '/dev/sdd' (use -I to override)

The output of sudo fdisk -l:

Disk /dev/sda: 298.1 GiB, 320072933376 bytes, 625142448 sectors
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: dos
Disk identifier: 0xf3286bd2

Device    Boot     Start       End    Blocks  Id System
/dev/sda1 *    119700315 154850534  17575110  83 Linux
/dev/sda2       19834880 119700314  49932717+  7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3      154850535 174385574   9767520  83 Linux
/dev/sda4      174385575 625137663 225376044+  f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5      174385638 185610192   5612277+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6      185610256 338423679  76406712   7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda7      338423808 477687807  69632000   7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda8      477689856 625137663  73723904   7 HPFS/NTFS/exFAT

Partition table entries are not in disk order.

Disk /dev/sdd: 7.5 GiB, 8019509248 bytes, 15663104 sectors
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: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000
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You generally don't want to write the filesystem on the entire block device (ie. /dev/sdd), you want to create a partition and then put the filesystem in there (ie. /dev/sdd1). That is also what your mkfs complained about.

If you are sure you only want to have one filesystem on this disk at a time, and you don't need a bootloader, you can safely ignore this warning using mkfs.vfat -I, and use the whole device. Otherwise, create a partitioning scheme using fdisk or similar (you can create a basic, full one with o, n, p, 1, Enter, Enter, w), and install the filesystem at /dev/sdd1 (or whichever partition you want to use).

If you only plan to use FAT on this device, with no MBR, then it is safe to install to the full device. Otherwise, use a partition table.

  • Not working for me; I get same error yet! Even I format it to FAT32 in windows Os completely! But when I want to format it as vfat (via mkfs.vfat command) on linux, I get above error. – Dr.jacky Feb 2 '16 at 7:01

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