Newbie here. I tried to install arch linux to my laptop which has 2 partitions and windows 10 installation. I could not delete and merge partitions with fdisk, so googled and ran the following command.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1 conv=notrunc

as per the this question.

Now I don't see my partitions, all I see with fdisk -l is

/dev/sdb1, /dev/sdb2 and /dev/sdb3 partitions only.

/dev/sdb is the installation medium. I don't want to do anything it to that.

How do I make /dev/sda visible again in fdisk and delete all the partitions then merge them into one so I can install arch linux into one single partition with swap and efi?

2 Answers 2


That's normal, since you deleted everything on sda. It has no partitions to be shown. Do:

fdisk /dev/sda

You'll enter fdisk interactively. If something got wrong and sda is really missing from the system, you'll get an error on this step. I'd suggest executing partx or partprobe or a reboot; probably the kernel needs to be informed for the changes on sda. Then try fdisk /dev/sda again.

Type p to print partitions, it should be empty.
You should then create a new label - partition table:

  • GPT on newer UEFI systems, press g.
  • For MBR/DOS on older BIOS ones press o.

Next step is to add partitions by pressing n.

You can use m to get help, for the available choices.


So the problem is you did dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1 conv=notrunc

This only writes to the drive /dev/sda. You have not done anything to /dev/sdb.

If you would like to delete partitions /dev/sdb1, /dev/sdb2, and /deb/sdb3, do dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdb bs=512 count=1 conv=notrunc and this will wipe the partitions in your other drive. MAKE SURE THIS IS NOT YOUR INSTALL MEDIUM

you could also do fdisk /dev/sdb and type d to delete a partition

If you would like to merge these 2 drives, you would need a Raid card of some sorts to combine the 2 drives into 1 virtual drive.

Now that your partitions are gone, you can use this resource to create your partitions with swap and efi https://wiki.archlinux.org/title/Installation_guide

  • Actually /dev/sdb is the installation medium. I don't see the /dev/sda in the fdisk -l. I want to get that in fdisk May 25, 2021 at 15:35
  • Could you post the output of fdisk -l as an edit to your original question?
    – Toasty140
    May 25, 2021 at 15:43
  • One my systems a flash drive is sdb, but on reboot, the flash drive is sda and hard drives move up one letter. Best to always check which device is which with fdisk, gdisk or parted.
    – oldfred
    May 25, 2021 at 17:21

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .