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How To Fix GPT Table Error When Formatting USB Drive

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In the world of data storage, encountering errors is not uncommon. One such error that you might come across when formatting a USB drive is the GPT (GUID Partition Table) error. This article will walk you through the steps to fix this issue and get your USB drive back in working order.

Quick Answer

To fix a GPT table error when formatting a USB drive, you can use the gdisk tool to erase the disk and create a new GPT. If the GPT was accidentally overwritten with an MBR partition table, you can recover the GPT using the gdisk tool. If these solutions don’t work, you can try using the FixParts tool to remove leftover GPT data. Remember to back up your data before attempting any of these solutions.

Understanding the GPT Table Error

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s essential to understand what a GPT is. The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a standard for the layout of the partition table on a physical storage device, such as a hard disk drive or solid-state drive. When a GPT error occurs, it usually means that there’s a problem with the partition table, making it difficult to format, delete, or create partitions on the USB drive.

Solutions to Fix the GPT Table Error

Solution 1: Using the gdisk Tool to Erase the Disk

The gdisk tool is a handy utility for managing disk partitions. It’s especially useful when you want to erase the disk entirely. Here’s how to use it:

sudo gdisk /dev/sdb

In this command sequence, sudo gives you superuser privileges, gdisk is the tool you’re using, and /dev/sdb is the path to your USB drive. The o command creates a new empty GUID partition table (GPT), and w writes the changes to the disk, effectively erasing it.

Please note that this operation will delete all data on the disk, so ensure you’ve backed up any important data before proceeding.

Solution 2: Recovering the GPT using gdisk Tool

If you suspect that the GPT table was accidentally overwritten with an MBR (Master Boot Record) partition table, you can recover the GPT using the gdisk tool. Here’s how:

sudo gdisk /dev/sdb

In this command sequence, r is for recovery and transformation options, and p prints the partition table. The tool will detect the problem and ask if you want to use the GPT or MBR data. Choose to use the GPT data and verify that it is correct. Then, save the changes by typing w.

Solution 3: Using the FixParts Tool

If the above solutions don’t work, you can use the FixParts tool, which is part of the gdisk package. It’s designed to fix certain types of issues with MBR partition tables and can remove leftover GPT data.

First, install the gdisk package by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install gdisk

Then, run the FixParts tool:

sudo fixparts /dev/sdb

FixParts will offer to remove the leftover GPT data, allowing you to use the disk normally.


Fixing a GPT table error when formatting a USB drive can be a bit technical, but with the right tools and guidance, it’s a manageable task. Remember to be cautious when using these tools as they can erase or modify your disk. Always double-check the disk you are working on (/dev/sdb in this case) to avoid accidentally affecting other drives.

We hope this guide has been helpful in resolving your GPT table error. If you’re still encountering issues, it may be worth reaching out to a professional for further assistance.

What is the difference between a GPT and MBR partition table?

The GUID Partition Table (GPT) is a newer partitioning scheme that allows for larger partition sizes and supports more than four primary partitions. The Master Boot Record (MBR) partition table, on the other hand, is an older scheme with limitations on partition size and the number of primary partitions it can support.

Can I recover data from a USB drive with a GPT table error?

If you have encountered a GPT table error and need to recover data from the USB drive, it is recommended to use a data recovery tool specifically designed for that purpose. There are various data recovery software options available that can help you retrieve your data, but success may vary depending on the severity of the error and the condition of the drive.

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