Edit: I have just noticed that even after reformating the usb stick that in gparted there is a red circle with an exclamation mark and clicking on it brings up the warning.

plain floppy: device "/dev/sda" busy (Resource temporarily unavailable): Cannot initialize '::' mlabel: Cannot initialize drive

I reformatted the usb stick to FAT 32 via both gparted and Nautilus. How can I get rid of this message.

  • It isn't clear from your description so I'm asking: You are checking it from another system, correct? Not from the live session booted from the same drive, correct? Anyway, I think you should have imaged the whole drive, i.e., sda instead of sda1.
    – user880592
    Commented May 13, 2019 at 19:25
  • I am running 18.10 on my laptop running from the hard drive. I plugged in a USB stick, checked where it was mounted (/dev/sda) and then copied the first partition using the command shown above. I then unmounted it and plugged in the second usb stick, checked where it was mounted and copied the image onto it via the second command above. I didn't copy the whole disk originally because when I did that earlier I couldn't copx the omage onto the second usb stick because there wasn't enough space on the second usb stick even though they are both 16GB. Commented May 13, 2019 at 19:38

2 Answers 2


I found the answer after a lot of trial and error. First of all I reformatted the usb stick with FAT32. In gparted the red warning circle was still there. I then made a new partition table using Device-Create partition, selecting MS-DOS and then clicking the green tick. I then selected Partition-New and then the green tick and then I had a new FAT32 partition without any warning.


Sounds like incorrect flash partitioning.

the easy fix (usually) is dd...

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/[usb_here]

that will wipe it finding the first and last sectors.

then format it normally

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