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I have a cheap 2Gig mp3 player. It works well with a windows filesystem, but in linux there must be some tricks I'm overlooking. The format is generally good with the following options:

mkfs.vfat -I -F 32 -n "Mp3" /dev/sdb

(yep it has no partition table, it is used in "big floppy" mode). My only problem is that I can not browse the root directory on-device.

Linux sees the filesystem and I can copy files, create dirs, play them, but the device sees garbage folders in the root directory (totally random characters) containing more random dirs and so on.

What I think the problem is that mkfs creates a very short root directory entry, and the firmware on-device expects that the following sectors also contain directory entries, when in fact they contain garbage. Is there any additional option to mkfs.vfat to make it more dos-like?

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Can you ask device to “format” itself? – richard Sep 19 '12 at 10:24
What is your device? Perhaps the firmware is expecting a different filesystem? Fat16 or NTFS (doubtful I know)? – terdon Sep 19 '12 at 11:35
@richard It has "blockout" but no option to format :( – vbence Sep 19 '12 at 12:53
@terdon Only Fat32 seems to work. – vbence Sep 19 '12 at 12:53
If you can get it to work, by formatting on another machine (MS-Windows or not), then back on the Gnu/Linux machine type file --keep-going --special-files /dev/disk/by-… – richard Sep 19 '12 at 14:40
up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should use FAT16 filesystem instead of FAT32. You can also use either a partition or the whole device, it doesn't matter. I had the same issue, and in my case I formated my mp3player with the following command:

root:~# mkdosfs -n IAUDIO -F16 -f2 -v /dev/sdb1
mkdosfs 3.0.16 (01 Mar 2013)
/dev/sdb1 has 65 heads and 62 sectors per track,
logical sector size is 2048,
using 0xf8 media descriptor, with 1024640 sectors;
file system has 2 16-bit FATs and 16 sectors per cluster.
FAT size is 64 sectors, and provides 64030 clusters.
There are 16 reserved sectors.
Root directory contains 1024 slots and uses 16 sectors.
Volume ID is 1034e7d3, volume label IAUDIO     .

And now it works as it should.

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