I was partitioning a backup drive of 4.4TB, using fdisk. I got the following warning.

WARNING: The size of this disk is 4.4 TB (4398046511104 bytes). DOS partition table format can not be used on drives for volumes larger than 2.2 TB (2199023255040 bytes). Use parted(1) and GUID partition table format (GPT).

I found that the issue is due to the limitation of the MSDOS partition table format, which could be overcome using GPT. As fdisk will not work with GPT, I used parted instead. But it does not support creation of ext3 file system.

How can this disk be partitioned and used as ext3 file system? Is there any convenient method?

  • Isn't there a newfs command or something like that... Just create the partitions and then format them.
    – Chris S
    Apr 16, 2011 at 2:25
  • Hi, I have partitioned the disk in the followig manner. The drive is partitioned using parted to ext2. Then formatted the partition to ext3 using the following commands. [root@server ~]# parted /dev/sdb (parted) mklabel gpt (parted) mkpartfs primary ext2 1 -1 For converting the ext2 file system to ext3, you can format the drive. [root@server /]# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1 Please Note that this process will take hours depending on the size of the disk. It took almost 5 hours for the 4.4TB disk. Apr 16, 2011 at 16:41

2 Answers 2


gdisk supports GUID partition table format. The page also has links to tutorials.


From CLI you could do this by using parted utility this utility is normally pre installed but in case if you don't have you can do install by

[root@images-on-dr ~]# yum install parted or apt-get install parted

identify your disk to partition.

[root@images-on-dr ~]# fdisk -l

then create partition with parted lets assume sdb is your drive with 4TB capacity.

[root@images-on-dr ~]# parted /dev/sdb

after entering to parted cli prompt delete any existing partition (if data is not there)

(parted) rm 
Partition number? 1

After above step create table label with GPT because MSDOS supports max 2TB disk partition lets assume drive is 4TB

(parted) mkpart primary 0.00TB 4.00TB

(parted) print                                                            
Model: VMware Virtual disk (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 4.40TB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
 1      0.00TB  4.00TB  4.00TB               primary

Then create format the partition with mkfs.xfs or anything

[root@images-on-dr ~]# mkfs.xfs /dev/sdb1 
meta-data=/dev/sdb1              isize=256    agcount=4, agsize=268435328 blks
         =                       sectsz=512   attr=2, projid32bit=0
data     =                       bsize=4096   blocks=1073741312, imaxpct=5
         =                       sunit=0      swidth=0 blks
naming   =version 2              bsize=4096   ascii-ci=0
log      =internal log           bsize=4096   blocks=521728, version=2
         =                       sectsz=512   sunit=0 blks, lazy-count=1
realtime =none                   extsz=4096   blocks=0, rtextents=0

Hoping this will helpful for everyone

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