Format & Partition USB Drive Command line / Terminal :the simple way:



  • First and most importantly, we need to locate the correct drive. In a terminal session (command line), type:

    Try to type the commands in, instead of copy/paste, this helps with retention for next time.

    lsblk
    

    In other words, ‘List Block Devices’

    This command will list all block devices, hard drives, USB drives, scsi devices, RAID devices and their partitions.

    In this case here is what is displayed:

    NAME                        MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE   MOUNTPOINT
    sda                           8:0    0 465.8G  0 disk   
    └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume0    254:0    0 931.5G  0 dmraid 
      ├─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume01 254:1    0 893.8G  0 dmraid /
      └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume05 254:2    0  37.7G  0 dmraid 
    sdb                           8:16   0 465.8G  0 disk   
    └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume0    254:0    0 931.5G  0 dmraid 
      ├─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume01 254:1    0 893.8G  0 dmraid /
      └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume05 254:2    0  37.7G  0 dmraid 
    sdc                           8:32   1   1.9G  0 disk   
    └─sdc1                        8:33   1   1.1G  0 part 
    

    We can see ‘sda’ and ‘sdb’ are defined as raid members. Where sdc is a disk, which has one partition ‘sdc1’ ,which is in this case the USB drive we will be working with.


    Unmount the device

    umount /dev/sdc
    

    The USB device will not always be automatically mounted upon insertion, even if it shows as a block device. Depending on previous configurations, so don’t be concerned after running the command if you are told ‘umount: /dev/sdc: not mounted’


    At this point we are ready to format and partition the device in one command.

    NOTE: Continuing will permanently Destroy and Delete anything on the chosen device.

    Format USB Drive:

    mkfs.msdos -n 'random' -I /dev/sdc
    

    Where: mkfs.msdos = make file system & partition as msdos

    -n = Name the Volume

    -I = Partitioning within the block device itself

    /dev = Device

    /dev/sdc = the device we are formatting and partitioning


    The output:

    mkfs.fat 3.0.27 (2014-11-12)
    mkfs.fat: warning - lowercase labels might not work properly with DOS or Windows
    

    If you are greeted with something to the effect of:

    mkfs.msdos: unable to open /dev/sdc: Device or resource busy

    Chances are your USB drive is write protected.

    You may be required to install hdparm:

    sudo apt-get install hdparm
    

    Then remove the write protection by running:

    sudo hdparm -r0 /dev/sdc
    

    Output:

    /dev/sdc:
     setting readonly to 0 (off)
     readonly      =  0 (off)
    

    If your still getting errors and care not to save Any data on the drive, you can write zeros to the device by running:

    sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdc  bs=512  count=1
    

    Then go ahead and try formatting again.

    After a successful format, the version, and a warning should be self explanatory.

    At this point, the device should have been formatted and partitioned, time depends on how large and complex the partitioning scheme.

    In formatting this particular device, a 2GB USB drive, the time was ~3 seconds, for reference.


    There are many other type of partitions we can use, such as the following, however in this case, I’m going to be transferring an ISO from one (linux) machine to a non networked (windows) machine. Where msdos is highly compatible.

    Examples of file system types: mkfs.msdos; mkfs.ext2; mkfs.ext3; mkfs.ext4; mkfs.vfat and many more depending on the intended application.


    You can re-list all block devices to see your final result. Only this time, we want to verify the file system type, so we add the ‘-f’ flag

    lsblk -f
    
    NAME                        FSTYPE          LABEL  UUID                                 MOUNTPOINT
    sda                         isw_raid_member                                             
    └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume0                                                                
      ├─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume01 ext4                   5ba67ace-a42d-404b-a6dc-eb2a73e8429c /
      └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume05 swap                   66b5b874-e24c-45df-a669-4b205affa2fc 
    sdb                         isw_raid_member                                             
    └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume0                                                                
      ├─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume01 ext4                   5ba67ace-a42d-404b-a6dc-eb2a73e8429c /
      └─isw_ccheigfjba_Volume05 swap                   66b5b874-e24c-45df-a669-4b205affa2fc 
    sdc                         vfat            random 2B9E-2530                            /media/rick/random
    

    As we can see, now /dev/sdc has been formatted and partitioned vfat, which is essentially the same as FAT32 and allows the use of longer volume names, post WIN95.

    In other words, it’s compatible for basic storage on linux, as well as readable on windows versions supplied in the last ~20 years.

    Fin!





Tmux Commands

screen and tmux

A comparison of the features (or more-so just a table of notes for accessing some of those features) for GNU screen and BSD-licensed tmux.

The formatting here is simple enough to understand (I would hope). ^ means ctrl+, so ^x is ctrl+x. M- means meta (generally left-alt or escape)+, so M-x is left-alt+x

It should be noted that this is no where near a full feature-set of either group. This - being a cheat-sheet - is just to point out the most very basic features to get you on the road.

Trust the developers and manpage writers more than me. This document is originally from 2009 when tmux was still new - since then both of these programs have had many updates and features added (not all of which have been dutifully noted here).

Action tmux screen
start a new session tmux OR
tmux new OR
tmux new-session
screen
re-attach a detached session tmux attach OR
tmux attach-session
screen-r
re-attach an attached session (detaching it from elsewhere) tmux attach -d OR
tmux attach-session -d
screen -dr
re-attach an attached session (keeping it attached elsewhere) tmux attach OR
tmux attach-session
screen -x
detach from currently attached session ^b d OR
^b :detach
^a ^d OR
^a :detach
rename-window to newname ^b , <newname> OR
^b :rename-window <newn>
^a A <newname>
list windows ^b w ^a w
list windows in chooseable menu ^a "
go to window # ^b # ^a #
go to last-active window ^b l ^a ^a
go to next window ^b n ^a n
go to previous window ^b p ^a p
see keybindings ^b ? ^a ?
list sessions ^b s OR
tmux ls OR
tmux list-sessions
screen -ls
toggle visual bell ^a ^g
create another window ^b c ^a c
exit current shell/window ^d ^d
split window/pane horizontally ^b " ^a S
split window/pane vertically ^b % ^a |
switch to other pane ^b o ^a <tab>
kill the current pane ^b x OR (logout/^D)
collapse the current pane/split (but leave processes running) ^a X
cycle location of panes ^b ^o
swap current pane with previous ^b {
swap current pane with next ^b }
show time ^b t
show numeric values of panes ^b q
toggle zoom-state of current pane (maximize/return current pane) ^b z
break the current pane out of its window (to form new window) ^b !
re-arrange current panels within same window (different layouts) ^b [space]
Kill the current window (and all panes within) ^b killw [target-window]
  • Again running smartctl after all is said and done:

    smartctl --all /dev/sda

    ddrescue-smartctl-after-rescue.png ddrescue-smartctl-2.png

    Yet an old drive in itself, I run the wheels off of them, and monitor regularly as anyone should.

    read more
  • Clone hard drive with ddrescue

    Testing a hard drive for failure via smartmontools

    Install smartmontools if not already present: (debian)

    apt-get install smartmontools

    Locate specific hard drives currently installed:

    lsblk

    In this case I choose device ‘sda’

    smartctl --all /dev/sda -q errorsonly

    Example of failing hard drive: smart-failure.png

    Preparing a used hard drive for cloning

    Clearing existing partitions from destination hard drive:

    In this case the destination drive is defined as sdc:

    I’ll use fdisk to clear all existing partitions:

    fdisk /dev/sdc Then print partition existing on sdc by typing the letter p

    p

    fdisk.png

    The above image shows some detail on the destination drive, including on FreeBSD partition named /dev/sdc4

    Since there is only one partition on the destination drive, we simply need to type the letter d at the fdisk command prompt:

    d

    fdisk-delete.png

    If there are more existing partitions on the destination drive, we are presented with them, and numbers to go along, we select which partition via numbers what we delete (in this case everything)

    fdisk-multiple-partitions.png

    Once we’ve removed the partitions, we type the letter w to write the changes, (actually delete the partitions)

    I type the letter p once again to make sure no partitions are still on the disk and then the letter w to write the changes:

    fdisk-write.png

    Using ddrescue to clone the hard drive:

    !Insure your drive letters are correct!

    The command I use to simplify the procedure including reading the damaged drive and putting as little pressure on it as we can manage, while getting as much data as we can, are as follows:

    Insure existing, or damaged hard drive first, and destination hard drive second (In other terms input file first and output file second)

    ddrescue -f -n /dev/sda /dev/sdc /root/recovery.log

    From https://linux.die.net/man/1/ddrescue

    -f, --force overwrite output device or partition

    -n, --no-split do not try to split or retry failed blocks

    We set a log file, which ddrescue can read later if for any reason the proceedure fails in the middle. Or also if we do not get as close to a 100% success rate when finished, the log file will set ddrescue to only attempt to get failed blocks on additional runs.

    ddrescue.png

    In this case 100% of the data was recovered, and transferred to the new hard drive:

    ddrescue-complete.png

    I run lsblk once again to check partitions have been transferred: ddrescue-new-partitions.png

    I then restart the machine:

    shutdown -r now

    After a restart, the journal will be recovered as well as other routine scripts run. I remove other old, damaged hard drives during the restart just before the BIOS kicks up.

    Again after a restart I run :

    lsblk

    ddrescue-new-harddrive.png

    Fin!

    Note This local server is a test environment running ProxMox. Everything running as it should after the clone.

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