How to use the mkfs command on Linux to format a USB drive to NTFS.

Posted: December 13, 2013. At: 9:13 PM. This was 4 years ago. Post ID: 6693

The mkfs command for Linux may be used to create new file-systems on a USB drive. I have used this to format a USB drive that had errors on it. Instead of using Windows 8.1 to format it, I have chosen to use the mkfs command as that is the standard command for formatting a partition. This is also useful if you are creating a loopback file-system and you need to create a file-system within that file to store files. The command by default will take a while, it zeroes the drive first to clean the file-system and then creates the new file-system in place. I am using NTFS as this is a USB drive I use on Windows as well.

This is the command that I used to format my USB drive.

sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1

And this is the result.

homer@deusexmachina ~ $ sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1 
Cluster size has been automatically set to 4096 bytes.
Initializing device with zeroes: 100% - Done.
Creating NTFS volume structures.
mkntfs completed successfully. Have a nice day.

If you do this whilst the USB drive is mounted, you will get this error:

homer@deusexmachina ~ $ sudo mkfs.ntfs /dev/sdb1 
[sudo] password for homer: 
/dev/sdb1 is mounted.
Refusing to make a filesystem here!

So make sure that the drive is unmounted first.

I used this command:

sudo umount /media/homer/OS\ Stuff

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