Can you create a partition in a usb disk using fdisk command in a single line.

fdisk command is interactive in nature, But I want to automate partition creation in a single line using fdisk command.


Trying to automate fdisk is possible, but it is not easy to maintain. As other answers note, either parted or sfdisk are designed to do what you want and are easier to automate.


To create a partition in one line with parted:

parted -a optimal /dev/usb mkpart primary 0% 4096MB

as seen in this UNIX SE post. Each of the parts is pretty self-explanatory, but just in case here is how mkpart is defined:

mkpart [part-type fs-type name] start end

where things in square brackets are optional, but you probably want primary for your part-type, start at 0% and end at 4096MB or however large your USB stick is.


The input to sfdisk is arguably not much easier to understand than the input to fdisk but it is intended for automation.

# Example Usage: create_sd /dev/sdb


dd if=/dev/zero of=$DRIVE bs=1024 count=1024

SIZE=`fdisk -l $DRIVE | grep Disk | awk '{print $5}'`

echo DISK SIZE - $SIZE bytes

CYLINDERS=`echo $SIZE/255/63/512 | bc`


echo ,9,0x0C,*
echo ,,,-
} | sfdisk -D -H 255 -S 63 -C $CYLINDERS $DRIVE

mkfs.vfat -F 32 -n "boot" ${DRIVE}1
mke2fs -j -L "rootfs" ${DRIVE}2

comes from The Linux Daily and despite not fitting the one line request it does show how it could be done.

  • FWIW, the options specified here are no longer supported by sfdisk and results in an error for the above snippet. – logidelic Apr 2 at 14:02

Erase everything, and create a single partition:

sudo umount "$dev"
printf "o\nn\np\n1\n\n\nw\n" | sudo fdisk "$dev"
sudo mkfs.ext4 "${dev}1"

See also: https://superuser.com/questions/332252/creating-and-formating-a-partition-using-a-bash-script

  • this works but using sfdisk or parted will be easier to get working and maintain – chicks Sep 11 '15 at 20:36
  • 1
    @chicks cool, I will have a look at it. Someone should have posted an example :-) – Ciro Santilli 新疆改造中心法轮功六四事件 Sep 11 '15 at 20:40
  • good point @Ciro, I will take care of that... – chicks Sep 12 '15 at 0:10

You probably need to use the parted command instead of fdisk.


sfdisk also has a non-interactive mode that reads in partition information from stdin. parted is more flexible, though.


Use sfdisk instead.

The sfdisk man page is a little confusing, here's some specific examples of how to automate partition setup with sfdisk. One example is you can save the partition info from one drive via sfdisk -l and then dump that directly on to a new drive.


For GPT tables you can use sgdisk:

sgdisk -n 0:0:0 /dev/sde

-n, --new=partnum:start:end Create a new partition. You enter a partition number, starting sector, and an ending sector. Both start and end sectors can be specified in absolute terms as sector numbers or as positions measured in kibibytes (K), mebibytes (M), gibibytes (G), tebibytes (T), or pebibytes (P); for instance, 40M specifies a position 40MiB from the start of the disk. You can specify locations relative to the start or end of the specified default range by preceding the number by a '+' or '-' symbol, as in +2G to specify a point 2GiB after the default start sector, or -200M to specify a point 200MiB before the last available sector. A start or end value of 0 specifies the default value, which is the start of the largest available block for the start sector and the end of the same block for the end sector. A partnum value of 0 causes the program to use the first available partition number.

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