A friend of mine gave me his external 2TB Seagate HDD which appeared to be somewhat faulty. And, it is indeed pretty faulty.

First, I did try a lot of "common" commands, spent a few hours googling stuff, tried Linux and Windows (for chkdsk), opened the HDD case to plug it directly in SATA and I'll add that I do not need to recover the data, I just need to format it.


sda            8:0    0   1,8T  0 disk 

Here, sda is the disk, its size, 1,8T seems correct.

In GParted, the disk only appears to be ~1.9GB. I can create a partition table but I cannot create a valid partition. And even if I could, it could only be 1.9GB.

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda

dd: error writing '/dev/sda': No space left on device
3782129+0 records in
3782128+0 records out
1936449536 bytes (1,9 GB, 1,8 GiB) copied, 7,04022 s, 275 MB/s

smartctl -a /dev/sda

Read Device Identity failed: Invalid argument

parted -l

Error: Unable to open /dev/sda - unrecognised disk label.   
Model:  (file)                                                           
Disk /dev/sda : 1936MB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition table : unknown


[ 7925.612174] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Synchronizing SCSI cache
[ 7925.862625] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Synchronize Cache(10) failed: Result: hostbyte=DID_ERROR driverbyte=DRIVER_OK
[ 7931.193045] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] 3809353968 512-byte logical blocks: (1.95 TB/1.77 TiB)
[ 7931.193049] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] 4096-byte physical blocks
[ 7931.193313] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Write Protect is off
[ 7931.193316] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Mode Sense: 2f 00 00 00
[ 7931.193593] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Write cache: enabled, read cache: enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 7931.193995] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] Optimal transfer size 33553920 bytes not a multiple of physical block size (4096 bytes)
[ 7931.390515] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#18 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
[ 7931.390523] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#18 Sense Key : Illegal Request [current] 
[ 7931.390529] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#18 Add. Sense: Invalid command operation code
[ 7931.390536] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#18 CDB: Read(6) 08 00 00 00 08 00
[ 7931.390545] blk_update_request: critical target error, dev sda, sector 0 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x0 phys_seg 1 prio class 0
[ 7931.390558] Buffer I/O error on dev sda, logical block 0, async page read
[ 7931.500384] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#19 FAILED Result: hostbyte=DID_OK driverbyte=DRIVER_SENSE
[ 7931.500451] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#19 Sense Key : Illegal Request [current] 
[ 7931.500461] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#19 Add. Sense: Invalid command operation code
[ 7931.500472] sd 2:0:0:0: [sda] tag#19 CDB: Read(6) 08 00 00 00 08 00

Do you have any idea? I guess the HDD may be dead, but I'm not quite sure.
What I find intriguing is the 1.8TB size with lsblk and 1.9GB elsewhere.
And again, I do not need to recover previous data (and since I did write a lot of 0's, they're probably gone for good :p). I just want to format the disk to make it usable again.

Thanks for your time :)

  • 3
    This does look like a hardware issue, indeed. Are you sure that it is a smart idea to continue using this drive, if it appears to be failing? Ticking time bomb.
    – Panki
    Jun 30, 2021 at 12:46
  • Yeah I guess not :) I was just trying to make sure the disk is indeed failing and not only a partition/soft related issue.
    – Pablo
    Jun 30, 2021 at 12:47
  • [ 7931.390545] blk_update_request: critical target error, dev sda, sector 0 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x0 phys_seg 1 prio class 0 [ 7931.390558] Buffer I/O error on dev sda, logical block 0, async page read it's dead Jun 30, 2021 at 13:46
  • I might try writing zeros to partition table and then see if you can create partition. Corruption in partition table could be issue. sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1 Was drive used as installer, like a flash drive? Reset USB flash that was dd'd to make it usable again, reuse askubuntu.com/questions/939230/… & help.ubuntu.com/community/mkusb#Re-use_the_pendrive & unix.stackexchange.com/questions/216152/…
    – oldfred
    Jun 30, 2021 at 14:39
  • @oldfred An error in the first sector normally indicates the complete death of a device. Jun 30, 2021 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


If you can pull the drive from the external case and attach directly to the motherboard SATA then try out MHDD. It will give you complete low level diagnostics of the whole disk. You can use any old computer that will at least post and boot. You can get various bootable versions here.


I used to use the Magic Boot Disk version all the time.

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