On Ubuntu 14.04 I am trying to create new partitions but it's failing to create the filesystem

fdisk -l /dev/sde

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sde'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

Disk /dev/sde: 299.0 GB, 298999349248 bytes
256 heads, 63 sectors/track, 36209 cylinders, total 583983104 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sde1               1   583983103   291991551+  ee  GPT
Partition 1 does not start on physical sector boundary.


partprobe /dev/sde1
Error: Error opening /dev/sde1: No such device or address


mkfs.xfs /dev/sde1
mkfs.xfs: cannot open /dev/sde1: No such device or address

The device exists, although the device nodes seem strange

ls -la /dev/sde*
brw-rw---- 1 root disk 8, 64 Jan 18 16:43 /dev/sde
cr-------- 1 root root 8, 65 Jan 17 09:20 /dev/sde1
cr-------- 1 root root 8, 66 Jan 17 09:20 /dev/sde2
  • Try running partprobe without any arguments - so it checks for any new partitions. Do cat /proc/partitions - this list all disks and the partitions on them (that Linux knows about) with their sizes - is it there? If it's there, then you can create a filesystem on it (eg. mkfs.ext4). First when there is a recognizable filesystem on the partition, will it be automatically mounted (and opened in the file-browser). Note: External drives may "move around" with each mount - look for a partition of the right size when you list /proc/partitions. Jan 18, 2017 at 17:23

2 Answers 2


There is a warning displayed by fdisk:

WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sde'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.

You must use gdisk or parted with GPT disks.

  • @roaima What sector 1 means here in the MBR is that the whole disk is "controlled" by GPT. The first GPT partition /dev/sde1 should indeed no start at sector 1 (rather 2048 than 8192 but it doesn't matter much)
    – xhienne
    Jan 18, 2017 at 19:24
  • Ah yes. Sorry. Over thinking it. Jan 18, 2017 at 20:21

If /dev/sde corresponds to a removable device, unplug it and remove any remaining device nodes (rm /dev/sde*). Then reconnect it and allow the system to create the device nodes properly.

On the other hand, if /dev/sde is an internal device, remove the device nodes and reboot your system. This should allow the system to recreate the device nodes properly.

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