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I created disks with fdisk:

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *         xxx         xxx         xxx   83  Linux
/dev/sda2             xxx         xxx         xxx   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3             xxx         xxx         xxx   8e  Linux LVM

(Sytems are created using fdisk's t command)

Should I now format each disk using mkfs on /dev/sdaX?

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Depends, what are you trying to do? What OS are you using? Are you installing a new system? – terdon Jun 18 '13 at 11:37

Do a ls /dev/sd* and see if the device names show up.

If they don't show up, do this:

/sbin/blockdev --rereadpt /dev/sda

If they still don't show up,. reboot.

I know cfdisk, which is what I usually use, causes the partition table to update afterward. Not sure about fdisk.

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You should do that if you want a particular FS on that partition.

You can achieve that by using the mkfs suite. (You can add more FS to the mkfs suite by installing exfat-utils, ntfs-3g and so on, if you're trying to set up a Windows Box for example.)

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