Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In a failed attempt to install Linux Mint on an external hard drive, I damaged the disk. Now, it does not show up in the 'My Computer' folder or in Disk Management. I speculate it might have to do something with the fact that i formatted it to EXT3 and it is unreadable by Windows. How can I format the hard drive back to its state if my computer cannot recognize it?

share|improve this question

You could boot using a Live Linux disc to fix it. Once booted you could use GParted if you like GUI's or fdisk through the CL.

  • GParted is pretty straight forward
    • Open GParted as root
    • Make sure you are on the correct device (top right corner has a dropdown list)
    • Select "Partition" and "New Partition Table"
    • The default is MSDOS, but you can verify this via opening the advanced arrow.
    • Apply the change
    • Then you can right click the (unallocated space) line and Add New > fat32/ntfs/etc. You could also skip this step since it has a partition table, and finish in Windows.

  • fdisk is more in-depth as it is command line base.
    • be sudo first in the terminal ($ sudo -i)
    • type fdisk -l to list your discs, verify which one is yours (you will want to know the line that says /dev/sdX (X is just a placeholder for a letter) (the windows one will probably have sdX1 sdX2 and so-forth)
    • Double check that you KNOW which hard drive you are messing with
    • Now that you know, type fdisk /dev/sdX
    • You can type o to write a new MSDOS partition table.
    • 'n' will make a new partition, choose 'p' and '1' and then accept the defaults for the next two (first and last sectors).
    • Select 't' for type, and '1' for NTFS (just to get you back to Windows to finish again)
    • 'w' to write the changes to the disc (if you feel you messed up, 'q' is quit and won't write changes)

    • Now you need to make the NTFS formatting on the drive, so install ntfs-3g with sudo apt-get install ntfs-3g
    • mkfs.nfts /dev/sdX1 (If you followed above, you made 1 partition on your disc, so you want to write that to that partition not the whole device).

Important: I am assuming that you did the whole external device and that you want to fully wipe the thing. If that is not the case, then let me know and we can work on that. However, this will wipe the drive of your data. So measure twice, cut once (i.e. double check everything and understand it before blindly typing the above).

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .