I just bought a 3TB WD green drive, but when I try to partition in in gparted I get an error like:

libparted : 2.3
partition length of 5860530176 sectors exceeds the msdos-partition-table-imposed maximum of 4294967295

And when I try with Ubuntu "Disk Utility" I get a similar error like:

Error creating partition: helper exited with exit code 1: In part_add_partition: device_file=/dev/sdc, start=0, size=3000592982016, type=0x83
Entering MS-DOS parser (offset=0, size=3000592982016)
looking at part 0 (offset 0, size 0, type 0x00)
new part entry
looking at part 1 (offset 0, size 0, type 0x00)
new part entry
looking at part 2 (offset 0, size 0, type 0x00)
new part entry
looking at part 3 (offset 0, size 0, type 0x00)
new part entry
Exiting MS-DOS parser
MSDOS partition table detected
containing partition table scheme = 0
got it
got disk
new partition
Error: partition length of 5860528002 sectors exceeds the msdos-partition-table-imposed maximum of 4294967295
ped_disk_add_partition() failed

4 Answers 4


The traditional partition table format used on PCs includes a 32-bit field to record the number of sectors a particular partition covers.

With 512 byte sectors, this sets the maximum partition size at 2TB (512 * 232).

If you need a partition larger than 2TB, you will need to repartition the drive using the GUID Partition Table (GPT) format for the disk. If you are not trying to boot off this new disk, you are unlikely to run into any compatibility problems.

Using GParted, you can do this by going into Device->Create Partition Table and select "gpt" from the list.

  • Plus, if you use GPT as opposed to MBR, you can have MUCH more primary partitions. With MBR, you only get 4 primary partitions, and then you must create logical partitions after that, which is frustrating and isn't compatible with certain operating systems. On GPT, however, you can have a lot of partitions, like on my MacBook Pro: OSX, OSX Recovery, ext4 /, linux swap, NTFS (Windows). Jan 3, 2012 at 21:18
  • 9
    I just bought a 3TB today and this saved my life. Feb 7, 2012 at 3:54
  • 2
    You've also saved my life and fed many starving children in Africa.
    – capdragon
    Nov 20, 2012 at 1:27

To complement James Henstridge's answer for computer's w/out gparted: you can achieve the same result from the command-line with parted. For the example below, I use the drive name sdX (though yours might be sdb, sdc, ...)

sudo parted
(parted) select /dev/sdX
(parted) mklabel gpt
(parted) mkpart primary 0% 100%
(parted) quit
sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdX1
  • So many long winded answers around the net, but finally just simple steps. Thanks!
    – Richard
    May 24, 2016 at 11:52
  • Mine shows zero files :( (except lost and found). Sep 1, 2020 at 4:51

You can also use gdisk. In my case, it was able to convert a disk with existing partitions and data from MBR to GPT, keeping everything intact. However, YMMV.

You can find more information about it on the ArchLinux forums. The process looks something like this:

$ sudo gdisk /dev/sda
GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.5

Partition table scan:
 MBR: MBR only
 BSD: not present
 APM: not present
 GPT: not present

Found invalid GPT and valid MBR; converting MBR to GPT format.
you don't want to convert your MBR partitions to GPT format!

Setting up a RAID10 using +2TB drives on Ubuntu 12.04.4. Use a 120GB+ SDD pair in RAID1 for boot & and 2 partitions / and /home. They become your md0 and md1 devices. RAID10 device will be /home/DATA or /home/whateveryouwant. You can put multiple partitions on the RAID10 device using GPARTED once the MD device is created mounting each device to /home/whateveryouwant.


  1. Use GPARTED setting partition tables of >2TB drives to GPT. Partition all drives for RAID10 with one EXT4 parttition using the entire device. Apply the partition then set the RAID flag on.
  2. Assuming 4 +2TB drives on partitions sda1, sdb1, sdc1, sdd1 (any number will work with 4,6,8 being fastest) use: mdadm -v --create /dev/md2 --level=raid10 --raid-devices=4 /dev/sda1 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdc1 /dev/sdd1
  3. It will take a while to sync the raid so set up a watch to wait for the md0 to finish. enter: watch -n30 cat /proc/mdstat
  4. When raid finishes RESTART
  5. Return to GPARTED when system is back and look for your md2. Probably not there but you will find md126 or md127 etc. that matches one half of the combined drive space. if using 4 3TB parttions will show about 6TB (half of the actual 12TB).
  6. Define the new md device (md127 in my case) with a new partition table as GPT Apply it!
  7. Add 1 or more partitions as ext4. No flags and label if you like. APPLY.
  8. Start terminal, enter: fdisk -l (you should have a md127 device with partitions labeled md127p1 if you have 1 partition, md127p2 etc... if you assigned more than 1.
  9. Enter mkdir /home/DATA or whatever in place of DATA
  10. Use: ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid to display uuid's for devices to copy md127p1 uuid later into fstab
  11. Enter: mount -t ext4 /dev/md127p1 /home/DATA then enter: ls -asl /home/DATA (to view directory) should have only one entry: lost+found if there you can add mount to /etc/fstab using: gksudo gedit /etc/fstab

  12. Enter a line before the swap line uuid=[uuid number for md127p1] /home/DATA ext4 defaults 0 2 (no brackets on actual entry, just copythe uuid number from terminal display (from line 10. command result)) use Ctrl+C to exit gedit

  13. Use: mount -a To mount all fstab devices

You now have a really large RAID10 drive called in /home/DATA. To USE IT: it is owned by root and group root. to change owner use: sudo chown youruserid /home/DATA to change group use: sudo chgrp users /home/DATA

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