Format a USB flash drive using gpart

Carmel carmel_ny at
Sun Jul 8 11:42:08 UTC 2012

On Sat, 7 Jul 2012 20:36:36 -0600 (MDT)
Warren Block articulated:

> On Sat, 7 Jul 2012, Carmel wrote:
> > This is probably a dumb question, but does gpart even work on a USB
> > flash drive? I have not been able to figure out how to do it. I
> > want to erase the entire drive and format it for a FreeBSD UFS2
> > file system.
> Yes, gpart will work with pretty much any storage device.
> If you want the drive to be bootable, it needs boot blocks.  This is 
> easier with GPT than MBR.  For an 8G drive:
> # gpart create -s gpt da0
> # gpart add -t freebsd-boot -s 512k da0
> # gpart bootcode -b /boot/pmbr -p /boot/gptboot -i 1 da0
> # gpart add -t freebsd-ufs -b 1M -s 7G da0
> # gpart add -t freebsd-swap da0
> # newfs -U /dev/da0p2

Thanks Warren, you win the prize for the most detailed answer.
Polytropon gave me the easiest answer if I just want to use the drive
as a simple storage device; however, if at some point I actually want
to go beyond that your answer is what I would require.

Interestingly enough, I searched through the man pages and FreeBSD help
but never came across anything that specifically addressed flash drive.
Perhaps I was just not looking hard enough.

Perhaps, and I know that this will offend some purists, but a nice GUI
that would do what your instructions detail above would be helpful.
There is no way that I am going to remember all of those instructions in
six months time. Just my 2¢.

Carmel ✌
carmel_ny at

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