I have an old 8GB USB stick with a GPT filesystem hanging around. I'd like to move it to a more familiar fs, as NTFS or FAT32, but the usual mkfs doesn't seem to work since there is no /dev/sdb1 (as there are no partitions). I've found on Google that I should be using parted, but I haven't figured out how to do it though, so I'm asking for a little help.

As you've probably noticed, I'm not pretty used to these concepts either, so it'd be great if you could provide an explanation or a link about this topic.

Thanks in advance and ask for all the information you need.

  • Which OS you're on? Dec 22, 2014 at 12:31
  • elementary OS, based on Ubuntu 12.04
    – cronos2
    Dec 22, 2014 at 12:45

2 Answers 2


GPT is not a filesystem; it's a partition table format, like the older MBR (MS-DOS). It can hold partitions with all the usual filesystems inside – just mkpart them in Parted, and you'll get /dev/sdb1 and such.

Use mktable msdos in Parted if you need a MS-DOS (MBR) partition table for compatibility with older Windows. This will discard all existing partitions and create a blank table.

  • That was a really good answer. Thanks for your explanation!
    – cronos2
    Dec 24, 2014 at 11:45

A GUI complement for @grawity's answer.

One lined answer : You need to create partitions.

Some Information (optional) :

MBR (Master Boot Record) and GPT (GUID Partition Table) are two different ways of storing the partitioning information on a drive. This information includes where partitions start and begin, so your operating system knows which sectors belong to each partition and which partition is bootable. This is why you have to choose MBR or GPT before creating partitions on a drive.

GPT is a new standard that is replacing the old MBR.

One Solution (If you need this device to be used with new UEFI based systems):

1) Use GParted. Download it from here.

2) Create a partition first. Select Partition -> New.

3) In the popup box input New size (MiB), select File system from the drop down list and click Add.

4) Now select Edit -> Apply All Operations.

Now you've created the selected File system on the GPT drive.

Another Solution (If you need this device to be used with systems with traditional BIOS) :

1) Use GParted. Download it from here.

2) After the installation is complete, open the application and press Ctrl + R to refresh devices list.

3) Goto Gparted -> Devices -> Select your device in menu.

4) Goto Device -> Create Partition Table...

If you get any error then you need to get the device unmounted. Select Partition -> Unmount

5) Now, Select new partition table type : msdos and click Apply.

You've successfully created MBR partition table on the device.

Now you can create partitions with whichever file system you like the same way (First Solution).

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