Format a USB flash drive using gpart

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Mon Jul 9 03:51:22 UTC 2012

On Sun, Jul 08, 2012 at 02:27:05PM +0100, Bruce Cran wrote:

> On 08/07/2012 13:30, Polytropon wrote:
> >With few routine, tasks are performed more natural using
> >the desired CLI tools. You don't go "Now I have to remember
> >which command to format the disk", you just format the disk,
> >which means "spaking to" newfs. The more often you do it,
> >the more obvious the tools are, and they won't change in
> >look and feel (or options). That makes them superior.
> How do you format a FAT32 partition? 

You don't.  You wipe the FAT32 with fdisk and make a FreeBSD slice on it.
Then you can bsdlabel it with one partition and newfs it.  Or you can 
use the gpart tools with I am not yet familiar.   But, in any case,
the FAT32 is irrelevant.  You just overwrite that with the FreeBSD stuff.

If you have a FAT32 on it and if you want to use it as a FAT32, then you 
leave the FAT32 alone and just mount the thing as type msdosfs.

Make a mount point for it.  I commonly use /stick
Add something like the following in your /etc/fstab

  /dev/da2s1              /stick          msdosfs rw,noauto       0       0

and then do 
  #mount /stick  
on the command line.

You will have to figure out the correct /dev/...  address for it.
Generally you dan find the info in dmesg.


>    newfs won't work. Is it newfs_vfat, 
> newfs_fat32, newfs_msdos etc.? And how do you specify you want FAT32 
> instead of FAT12 or FAT16? With a good GUI tool like diskmgmt.msc in 
> Windows 2008 you simply right-click the partition and click "New Volume" 
> to create a new partition, or "Format" to format it - and then follow 
> the prompts.  Of course using diskpart is faster if you know the 
> commands and parameters, but for an ordinary user adding a new disk 
> maybe once a year it's most likely more efficient to just use the GUI.
> -- 
> Bruce Cran
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