This question already has an answer here:

For some obscure reason, which seemed like a good idea at the time, I installed Kubuntu onto an external USB 1TB drive. It never worked.

Now, I would like to use that drive as storage but cannot delete any of the installation or boot files. I also cannot upload any other files onto it.

How would I reformat the whole drive so it can be used as general storage which can be read by linux, android and windows devices

Many thanks

marked as duplicate by David Foerster, Eric Carvalho, Wayne_Yux, Ketan Patel, user364819 Jan 17 '18 at 18:46

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.



In most cases it would work to use the graphical program gparted. It is available in Ubuntu live (booted from USB or DVD), and it can be installed in installed systems,

sudo apt install gparted

Start gparted

  • Prepare by unmounting and swapping off all partitions on the drive and (you see lock symbols at mounted partitions and swapped on swap partitions).

  • The next step would be to select the dropdown menu

    Device - Create partition table

    to create a new partition table (GPT is the new partition table and MSDOS is the old partition table).

  • Now you can use the graphical interface or the dropdown menus to create partitions.

Wipe the first mibibyte

If gparted does not work, you can wipe the first mibibyte to remove data, that might cause confusion. You can use mkusb for this purpose.



and after that gparted should work.

Check the S.M.A.R.T. status

If there are still problems we can suspect that the drive is physically damaged, and you should check the S.M.A.R.T. status with Disks alias gnome-disks. See this link,

FSCK reports that filesystem still has errors - what should I do now?

Select file system

Depending on where and how you want the drive to work, you should select different file systems. If you want it to work easily 'everywhere' you can have a FAT32 file system, but then the maximum file size is 4 GB. If you want to manage bigger files, you should select another file system, for example NTFS or exFAT or UDF.

See the following link with detailed descriptions of how to select and create these alternative file systems.

How do I copy a file larger than 4GB to a USB flash drive?

  • Thanks for this. I tried this but still wont mount. At least I uninstalled all old files. Should I install as primary or extended partition. – Brian Ó'hÚrdail Jan 16 '18 at 22:10
  • @user272412, If you want to be modern, I suggest that you create a GUID partition table alias GPT. Then all partitions will be primary. There will be no need for extended and logical partitions. On the other hand, if you want to boot from the drive in BIOS mode, you will need a bios_grub partition. See this link, help.ubuntu.com/community/DiskSpace – sudodus Jan 17 '18 at 5:45
  • @user272412, If there are problems to mount your partition(s), you may get help from the following link, askubuntu.com/questions/11840/… – sudodus Jan 17 '18 at 6:09

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.