Partitioning and Formatting New Drives in Linux

Step 1: Create a Partition

Before the drive can be used, you need a partition on the disk. This is done using fdisk. On my system, I started by using lsblk to find the device for my new drive. It was easy to see which drive it was because it was the only disk without any partitions, which for me happened to be /dev/sdc. So, we start fdisk with the command

sudo fdisk /dev/sdc

fdisk uses single letters for each command, and does a lot more than we need right now. We type


To start making a new partition. We then type


To indicate that this is a primary partition. We can then choose the partition number and the size of the partition. Since this is the only partition I want on this disk, I just hit enter 3 times to get the output:

Partition type
   p   primary (0 primary, 0 extended, 4 free)
   e   extended (container for logical partitions)
Select (default p): p
Partition number (1-4, default 1):
First sector (2048-3907029167, default 2048):
Last sector, +/-sectors or +/-size{K,M,G,T,P} (2048-3907029167, default 3907029167):

Created a new partition 1 of type 'Linux' and of size 1.8 TiB.

If you were doing something different, you could use the t command here to change the partition type, but for my purposes the default type of 'Linux' is fine. We finish using fdisk by writing our new partition data with


Now if I use lsblk again I can see a new partition /dev/sdc1 that takes up all of /dev/sdc.

Step 2: Formatting the New Partition

Before we can use the new partition, we have to create the filesystem on it, using mkfs. For my purposes, ext4 will do. (From what I can tell, the only other common one you might want to use is NTFS, if you want Windows to also be able to read this drive)

sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdc1

Step 3: Mounting the New Partition

The last thing we have to do is actually mount our new filesystem somewhere we can use it. A common place for this is to mount under /mnt, which is also what I have already used on my system. I'm going to call my new drive /mnt/black, after what kind of drive it is. Thus the command is

sudo mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/black

However, using mount is not permanent and would need to be run again after rebooting. To mount it automatically on boot, we need to list it in the special file /etc/fstab, or the file system table. To reliably identify the partition even after hardware changes, we can use the UUID, which we can retrieve using

lsblk -f

Whose output included the line for this partition as:

     ext4   1.0         598cb0f9-e0dc-4094-b30e-657c5112d6c7      1.7T     0% /mnt/black

Therefore, to the end of /etc/fstab we add the line:

UUID=598cb0f9-e0dc-4094-b30e-657c5112d6c7   /mnt/black  ext4    defaults    0 1