I have formatted the disk (/dev/sdb) instead of partiton(/dev/sdb1) and filled it with data. I have a remote backup of data, but no way to do a local backup, as it is 3Tb. Now my dual-boot Windows attempts to corrupt the disk every time I run it.
Is there any way I can attempt to turn this partitionless disk into GPT-partitioned one without reformatting it and redownloading 3Tb of data?

  • I'm puzzled. I did not even know that something like that is possible at all!?
    – Byte Commander
    Mar 9 '15 at 15:35

In theory, I suppose you could shrink the filesystem on the disk by a small amount (say, 2 MiB), then use tricky dd commands to shift it all 1 MiB to the right, then use gdisk or parted to create a partition table with a partition that begins at 1 MiB.

In practice, I do NOT recommend attempting this because there's too much chance of a slipup that will trash everything. It might be OK to risk it if you had a backup, but you say you don't have a backup. Thus, my recommendation is:

BUY ADEQUATE BACKUP HARDWARE! Once that's bought, back up the disk, partition it, and restore. In fact, you could simplify things by buying a similar-sized disk as your backup hardware, partition it normally, copy the files, and begin using the new disk in place of the original and the original as your backup.

  • Easy to say. The company will not pay for the backup hardware, because they have "centralized backup" over the internet, and nobody cares that downloading it will exceed our monthly limit. I would not be asking this if I could just get another HDD right now. Mar 10 '15 at 10:02
  • @BarafuAlbino: First of all: look up the name of the above poster. He is one of the world's top 100 experts in disk technology... If he tells you to back up, you back up! :P ;-) Secondly, print off this page and show it to the CFO of your company. I used to be an IT director of an IT company in EMEA with about 25.000 end-users using our equipment 24/7. Just calculate how long it will take to do a restore from the Internet only if a small truck drives into your data center/computer room's wall and just 20% of all your disks fail...
    – Fabby
    Mar 12 '15 at 22:43
  • Then ask him if he can wait that long for the business to be back up-and-running and how much that would cost. Don't ask for the moon: just a decent tape back-up system that makes weekly back-ups every Saturday-night running into Sunday will be fine... You need local back-up and remote backup! Don't talk about planes flying into the building! Just a small truck! Not even filled with fuel! Only 20% of the disks!
    – Fabby
    Mar 12 '15 at 22:46

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