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Does anyone know what it means when the 'fdisk' command returns 'unsupported wipe mode' when trying to delete data on a USB drive? My command was 'sudo fdisk -W /dev/sdb'. I know there are other ways of doing it with 'dd' for example but was wondering why this doesn't work with the fdisk command.

  • Since you are trying to run this on /dev/sdb, you are running it on a device. the option W (upper case) is for a partition, and you might have better luck using the option w (lower case). See man fdisk – Charles Green Nov 28 '19 at 1:41
  • The -w (lower case gave me the same thing), also I tried it from the /media directory as in 'sudo fdisk -w /media/jd/UDISK' but still got the same response. – podjv Nov 28 '19 at 2:34
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The way to write the command: sudo fdisk -W always /dev/sdb (capital W is right if you are trying to wipe the partition signatures)

However, this doesn't actually delete your data. If you really want to clear it then you have to use dd or similar. Otherwise you can use fdisk to make new partitition signatures, and then make new filesystems and write over your old data. And if you don't care about making a new partition table, you can just make a new filesystem on your current partition and not even bother with fdisk.

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