Flash Drive & SD Card Install problem

Discussion in 'Linux Hardware' started by Drew Campbell, Dec 30, 2013.

  1. Drew Campbell

    Drew Campbell New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I ran into a major problem installing Linux on a flash drive and was hoping someone could give me some assistance:


    First of all, I am a newbie using a Linux Cert Guide for study purposes and went through a project for installing Fedora 13 (I need to use 13 since it is for an upcoming class). I installed the Basic Installation with GNOME on a flash drive and it was just fine (ext4 filesystem as well).

    I tried a second installation on a 64gb flash using ext3 filesystem, Basic Install and added almost all optional components (except Virtualization). The drive did not boot properly and now it cannot be formatted. It reports "media not available" when I view its properties.

    I have also tried installing the Basic Install on a 32gb SD card and it also did not install properly, and the SD card now reports that it has a RAW format with a 31MB capacity (rather than 32GB). Here are some utilities I have tried:

    - Disk Management from Windows 7...sees it as a 31MB drive; cannot format it
    - diskpart from the command line. Did not work
    - MiniTool Partition Wizard..did not allow me to fix the MBR
    - EaseUS Partition Master...may work but $45 to register (which is fine) but did not see the flash drive when Windows 7 did. It did see the SD card.
    - GParted...also unable to format

    I believe I will need a program to rebuild the MBR for both the 32GB and 64GB drives but I have been unsuccessful. I also tried BootIce, utilities in Ubuntu and Fedora but with no luck. I would like the SD card to see its full 32GB capacity and allow me to format it, as with the 64GB flash drive.

    If anyone has some suggestions or have had similar experiences and found a solution, I would be greatful. Being a newbie, I'm not nearly as seasoned with the command line as I am with DOS so any help would be appreciated.

    Thank you all.
  2. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    290
    Trophy Points:
    63
    I *think* you may be getting your formatting wrong. A Flash Drive or an SD Card should be formatted to Win32...NOT ext3, ext4 or RAW...but Win32, which can be read by both Microsoft Windows and Linux.
  3. lobo

    lobo Active Member

    Messages:
    130
    Likes Received:
    74
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Your post is too confused and contains a lot of irrelevant chat. Try stripping it down to describe just the problem - without so much of the back story...

    Just boot from a livecd distro and dd the mbr of the flash memory. This way you should be able to destroy all partitions, file systems, data and reclaim the disk.

    Code:
    # dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdX bs=512 count=1
    Where sdX is the device you want to erase - get this right or you could be erasing the wrong disk.

    You should then use something like gparted to create your new partition table.
  4. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Rewriting the MBR is too much trouble for a fresh USB/SD install that couldn't boot at first.

    Try to properly understand how GParted works (under a Linux OS, since Windows won't read your current EXT formats very well). Make sure you're running it as root/system administrator, otherwise you won't be able to make any changes to your disks. If your system mounts them, you can partition and format them. EaseUS is not that great. Too heavy. $45 is the kind of money you shouldn't waste on that.

    Manage to format those drives into FAT/FAT32 and then install Fedora 13 on them with a complete newbie tool like LiLi from within Windows.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
    arochester likes this.
  5. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    892
    Likes Received:
    290
    Trophy Points:
    63
  6. KenJackson

    KenJackson Active Member

    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    28
    That's generally a good idea, which most people find convenient.
    But I use 64GB USB flash drives for backup and they work just fine with ext2.

    The OP is talking about SD cards, but I expect they can also be formatted with a file system of choice. I'm not sure that we have enough information to diagnose the problem. Fedora13? Wow.
  7. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Nah, you got it right... FAT also works, the other is just fatter :)

    From what he says, he wasn't able to boot Fedora 13 for some kind of specific project and couldn't hitherto read his USB/SD disks properly, which now show only a few MB of usable space. He could be clearer, of course.

    Yes, he could have picked any file system, if only he knew how to deal with it. I myself only choose EXT4 for *nix data partitions, including my USB live disks.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2014
  8. Drew Campbell

    Drew Campbell New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The flash drive (and the SD card) were to be used to install Fedora and boot from it. The project assignment said to use ext3.
  9. Drew Campbell

    Drew Campbell New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    The "irrelevant chat" may have been some help so I included all I experienced.

    I'll strip it down for you:

    Tried installing Fedora 13 on flash drive (full use and format). Cannot be seen by Windows OR Linux now.

    Tried also on SD card...same result.

    Can't reclaim what can't be seen by the system (no SD or Removable drive shows up whatsoever).
  10. Drew Campbell

    Drew Campbell New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I will try GParted for Linux. Hopefully it will see either or both of the externals. Thanks.
  11. Drew Campbell

    Drew Campbell New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I pretty much gave all I could for consideration. If anything was left out, my apologies. Just trying to install Fedora 13 on a flash drive to use in a classroom environment (to boot from) and work the assignments. I'm using 13 because that's what the text is tailored around and that's what I'm learning from at the start.

    The flash drive is seen as an E: drive in Windows, doesn't show up in Fedora or Ubuntu. Shows storage as 0. Tried to format, says "media not available"

    SD card shows up in Windows, not Fedora or Ubuntu. Shows 30mg instead of 64gb. Won't format.
  12. KenJackson

    KenJackson Active Member

    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Devices in Linux get renamed sometimes. Try this. Boot Linux and wait a couple minutes for activity to settle and then plug in the SD card. Then immediately type one of these commands in a terminal window:
    Code:
    dmesg | tail
    ls -tlr /dev/disk/by-id | tail
    It will be the last device listed. You can try the command before and after insertion to confirm.
  13. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

    Messages:
    268
    Likes Received:
    134
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Most probably, you won't be able to format that on Windows, unless you find out very specialized software to get the job done. Becoming familiar with *nix partition tables will help you reclaim space on your disks. After that, if you're still not comfortable with the command line, you should try some GUI like gparted again.

    One thing I realized while experiencing problems with *nix (GUI-)partitioning is that one must set up mount points for their devices before running gparted, since it won't mount any disk for you. You can do it by trying to access your drives on a file manager - accessible or not, they might get a mount point once you try to open them, and you'll be able to see through gparted (I'm telling it out of several experiences). However, if you have no luck with that, the command line is your only exit; there's a lot of documentation/methods on how to mount storage from the terminal. It's not that hard, really.

    Basically, I experienced the same issues: I couldn't even spot the existence of EXT partitions on Windows and they seemed inaccessible from GNU/Linux at first. Coincidentally, I also tried to have EaseUS solve those problems on W7 with no luck. A little knowledge and GParted revived my flash disks.

Share This Page