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Thread: Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Beans
    110
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Question Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

    Trying to format a USB flash drive, using gparted, to FAT32, in order to install a Debian Live system (which is a hybrid iso file) using the dd command. Once I've used the dd command, I get an error saying "Invalid partition table - recursive partition on /dev/sdb" in gparted. I've tried making a new partition table, but that also failed. What can I do?

    Thanks in advance for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Beans
    110
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

    Someone I know wiped the disk using Windows. This solved the problem. I was then able to use Unetbootin to write the OS to the drive (though it took a couple of tries).

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Beans
    Hidden!

    Re: Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

    I'm stuck on this too, but I don't understand your solution. What does "wiped the disk" mean exactly? Did you format it to fat? Was that before of after using dd to install Debian on the USB drive? Did you still do the gparted step?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Netherlands
    Beans
    51
    Distro
    Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

    Re: Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

    Hi friend!

    That is what I do,

    GParted
    Unmount the disk
    Delete the partition
    make a new one
    format it using what do you want it to be.

    and that is all.

    Good luck

    All the best

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    West Hills CA
    Beans
    7,457
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.10 Quantal Quetzal

    Re: Invalid partition table on USB flash drive

    I don't think it is that simple. USB and SD flash disks use a different cylinders, heads, sectors count scheme than normal hard disks. You need to find an identical, working USB flash drive and determine the CHS count. Then use a command line tool to format it with the correct CHS count. Works the same with SD cards, although it's easier to put it in a digital camera and format it with the camera. Windows may format a USB stick correctly.

    As a general rule: Don't use gparted or parted or fdisk to format SD cards and USB thumb drives. They will mess them up. It is correctable, but you have to find the correct CHS count from an identical drive.
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