I have a compact flash card formatted to FAT16. I am unable to format it to any other file system. I used GParted to format the card to ext2 for example, after I do that, the file system becomes unknown to GParted! I ran fsck on the card and it returned a dirty bit to be deleted. Do I deleted this dirty bit? 'sudo fsck /dev/sdb1' output now:

fsck from util-linux 2.20.1
dosfsck 3.0.16, 01 Mar 2013, FAT32, LFN
/dev/sdb1: 1 files, 0/61366 clusters
  • Since it is a fresh partition and you don't have any data to loose, you might as well do whatever fsck says (fsck -y will spare you the questions). BTW: If you can run e2fsck on the partition, you do have a real filesystem and you can ignore my answer. I think you should add more details to your question though, such as a cut n' paste of the fsck command you actually ran and the output it produced.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 11:50

1 Answer 1


I think there maybe some misleading information around about how to format a partition with GParted, such as this "How to Format a USB Drive in Ubuntu Using GParted" page. <- I don't think that will actually format the partition in the sense of creating a filesystem, it just sets the partition type in the partition table on the device.

To actually be able to use the partition as that type, a filesystem must be created on it. GParted can do that, but it seems to me you must do it explicitly (see here).

To re-iterate: there is a difference between creating a partition and setting the type of filesystem it is intended to contain and actually formatting a partition with a specific type of filesystem. You must do both in order to have a usable partition.

  • I don't get you, I think the two links you provided instruct to the same task, there is no difference in the steps mentioned. Please have another look at my question, I have a CF card formatted to FAT 16, when I use GParted to format it to another file system, it becomes unknown. Running fsck returns a dirty bit, do I delete it or not? Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 11:41
  • It seems to me the first one never explicitly formats the partition. According to the second one (official documentation), you are supposed to select Partition->Format from a drop down menu. I could be wrong, but I think unless you have done that explicitly, it did not actually format the filesystem. It just sets the type in the partition table, which is usually all a partition tool (e.g., parted, to which Gparted is a GUI front-end) does.
    – goldilocks
    Commented Mar 29, 2014 at 11:46

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