[dm-crypt] Cannot wipe header on device

H McCurdy hmccurdy at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 10 17:49:02 CET 2015

Hi Luis,

Error 5 is EIO or I/O error.  My first thought was if you are using USB 2.0 because those sometimes have power problems (that would explain an I/O error).  Then I looked at your log and it appears you are using 2.0.  

If I'm right, I suggest disconnecting every USB device that you don't absolutely need and trying again.  (The drive did pass a previous diagnostic test telling us that it was working.)  If that solves the problem, I suggest using a USB 3 drive or using a **powered** USB hub.


    On Thursday, December 10, 2015 8:20 AM, Luís de Sousa <luis.a.de.sousa at gmail.com> wrote:

 Hi everybody,

I am trying to encrypt an external hard drive on Ubuntu 14.04
following this guide [1]. I have previously ran badblocks, which
returned zero errors; I am also sure the disk is not mounted:

$ findmnt /dev/sdb
$ findmnt /dev/sdb1

Whenever I try the initialisation with cryptsetup I get this same error:

$ sudo cryptsetup -y -v luksFormat /dev/sdb1

This will overwrite data on /dev/sdb1 irrevocably.

Are you sure? (Type uppercase yes): YES
Enter passphrase:
Verify passphrase:
Cannot wipe header on device /dev/sdb1.
Command failed with code 5: Cannot wipe header on device /dev/sdb1.

dmesg is not reporting anything out of the ordinary:

$ dmesg
[ 3208.032228] usb 2-1.4: new high-speed USB device number 7 using ehci-pci
[ 3208.140990] usb 2-1.4: New USB device found, idVendor=059f, idProduct=0651
[ 3208.141001] usb 2-1.4: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2,
[ 3208.141024] usb 2-1.4: Product: LaCie Hard Drive USB
[ 3208.141031] usb 2-1.4: Manufacturer: LaCie
[ 3208.141037] usb 2-1.4: SerialNumber: 10000E000BD8A671
[ 3208.177576] usb-storage 2-1.4:1.0: USB Mass Storage device detected
[ 3208.178112] scsi4 : usb-storage 2-1.4:1.0
[ 3208.178183] usbcore: registered new interface driver usb-storage
[ 3209.176917] scsi 4:0:0:0: Direct-Access    SEAGATE  ST3160812A
  3.AA PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
[ 3209.177561] sd 4:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg2 type 0
[ 3209.181342] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] 312581808 512-byte logical blocks:
(160 GB/149 GiB)
[ 3209.182337] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write Protect is off
[ 3209.182348] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Mode Sense: 53 00 00 08
[ 3209.183339] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Write cache: enabled, read cache:
enabled, doesn't support DPO or FUA
[ 3209.201618]  sdb: sdb1
[ 3209.229465] sd 4:0:0:0: [sdb] Attached SCSI disk

In the log a strange message is reporting something with block 0:

$ tail /var/log/syslog
Dec  8 09:18:20 MekanikDestruktiwKommandoh kernel: [ 3698.016311]
end_request: critical target error, dev sdb, sector 0
Dec  8 09:18:28 MekanikDestruktiwKommandoh wpa_supplicant[1188]:

Any ideas on what may be going wrong here? Thank you,


[1] http://www.cyberciti.biz/hardware/howto-linux-hard-disk-encryption-with-luks-cryptsetup-command/
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