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I'm trying to create a bootable SD with Arch on it after failing miserably earlier today in VirtualBox

fdisk output :

Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 32.0 GB, 32010928128 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 3891 cylinders, total 62521344 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
Disk identifier: 0x0004d62e

        Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/mmcblk0p1   *        8192    62521343    31256576    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

I've just run the command :

sudo dd if=/home/vco/linux_isos/arch/archlinux-2015.03.01-dual.iso of=/dev/mmcblk0

After running that command heres what Gparted shows. I've no idea whether this will be GPT or MBR for this?

I clicked YES to that message, here's the message that followed that

After clicking yes to the above I get this message in Gparted, I clicked ignore to that message.

After Gparted had finished scanning the system I get this information, which I'm guessing means it's broken.

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I've run the DD command again and gone into GParted.

When prompted by GParted about the GpT sigs I said 'NO' instead of 'YES' this time

After GParted finished scanning this is an image of what it shows

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    that infomation (lh4.googleusercontent.com/-OBk-hwCsyMQ/VQXvWfuDeXI/AAAAAAAAdYE/…) is typical as the format of the partition or drive is not recognized by gparted (iso9660) instead of something like ext4 ntfs vfat etc. – mchid Mar 16 '15 at 1:16
  • thanks @mchid, ive had a few instances of it this evening. I connected a drive that had similar errors, though I formatted that from macs hfs+ to ext4, but there were still errors after that. – baxx Mar 16 '15 at 1:18
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    if the flash drive has a partition table, then you probably need to start over and reformat it to no partitions with something like sudo umount /dev/mmcblk0p1 (to unmount it if not already) and sudo mkfs -t vfat -I /dev/mmcblk0 to format it. Then, run dd. Not sure if there's any difference but wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/USB_flash_installation_media says to run sync after dd. Also, cat seems to do pretty much the same as dd #cat image.iso > /dev/mmcblk0 – mchid Mar 16 '15 at 1:40
  • cheers @mchid, I did use sync before, I've managed to get into a bit of a pickle this evening though! thanks – baxx Mar 16 '15 at 1:41
  • Don't dd the .iso. The iso is a hack anyway - if you want a GPT boot disk, make a GPT boot disk. – mikeserv Mar 16 '15 at 3:42
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Why are you using gparted at all? Either you want the ISO on it, which you have achieved by dd, or you want to do something else. You can't do both (once you put the ISO on it you must not change it in any way).


If you partition a device with GPT, it does the following:

  1. It puts a MSDOS partition table at the beginning of the device (just so programs that don't understand GPT will still see something rather than nothing).
  2. It puts a GPT partition table also at the beginning of the device, right after the MSDOS partition table.
  3. It puts a backup of the GPT table at the end of the device, just in case the beginning is damaged for some reason.

Now you go and dd an ISO over it, thereby partially overwriting your device.

By doing so you killed 1) and 2), but 3) survives. If you start gparted on a device such as this, it will see 3) and assume something or other went wrong.

That's assuming the ISO itself did not contain anything that could be interpreted as partition data. If it does, it will see some kind of partitions and backup partitions that just don't mach one another.

Either way you get errors such as the ones you showed.

You can get rid of old GPT label by running 'mklabel msdos' in parted. And then get rid of the msdos table by putting the ISO on it. Not that there would be a problem with your ISO as it were, you're not supposed to run gparted on it in any case.

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    because all the memory seems knackered, dd didn't seem to work. I have another hdd now that has all these error things on it as well. Maybe thats the problem – baxx Mar 15 '15 at 23:54
  • @learner - That's funny. Your sd card is drunk? – mikeserv Mar 16 '15 at 3:43

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