Recently I got a new hard drive (3TB) for my Linux box at work. I didn’t realize that it is problematic / nightmare to do such a simple work.

First, if you try to use fdisk to add the drive, it won’t work. Or I should say… it works, but it only give you a 2TB usable space. This is a limitation of fdisk, because it can handle up to 2^32 -1 sectors (or 2TB). That’s why fdisk is not a solution here.

It seems that the only solution is using parted.

sudo parted /dev/sdd

It will return something like this:

GNU Parted 2.3
Using /dev/sdd
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted)

First, we want to create a label:

(parted) mklabel gpt
Warning: The existing disk label on /dev/sdd will be destroyed and all data on this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
Yes/No? Yes

Then, we want to specify the unit:

(parted) unit TB

And tell parted to use all available space:

(parted) mkpart primary 0 -0

Next, we need to review the summary:

(parted) print
Model: ATA WDC WD30EZRX-00M (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdd: 3.00TB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
 1      0.00TB  3.00TB  3.00TB  ext2         primary

As you can see, the size is 3TB. Don’t worry about the file system for now (ext2). If it looks good to you, now we need to leave parted.

(parted) quit
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

Next, we need to format the partition:

#CentOS 6
sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdd1

#CentOS 7
sudo mkfs.xfs /dev/sdd1

After few seconds, it will give you some more information about your drive:

mke2fs 1.41.14 (22-Dec-2010)
Filesystem label=
OS type: Linux
Block size=4096 (log=2)
Fragment size=4096 (log=2)
Stride=1 blocks, Stripe width=1 blocks
183148544 inodes, 732566272 blocks
36628313 blocks (5.00%) reserved for the super user
First data block=0
Maximum filesystem blocks=4294967296
22357 block groups
32768 blocks per group, 32768 fragments per group
8192 inodes per group
Superblock backups stored on blocks:
        32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632, 2654208,
        4096000, 7962624, 11239424, 20480000, 23887872, 71663616, 78675968,
        102400000, 214990848, 512000000, 550731776, 644972544

Writing inode tables: done
Creating journal (32768 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done

This filesystem will be automatically checked every 35 mounts or
180 days, whichever comes first.  Use tune2fs -c or -i to override.

Now you can use your drive, such as mounting or putting it into /etc/fstab

sudo mount /dev/sdd1 /mnt/
df
/dev/sdd1             2.8T   42G  2.6T   2% /mnt

That’s it! Enjoy your new disk.

–Derrick

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