Linux Hard Disk Format Command

by on March 10, 2008 · 65 comments· LAST UPDATED March 10, 2008

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Q. I've installed a new 250GB SATA hard disk on our office CentOS Linux server. How do I format a hard disk under Linux operating system from a shell prompt?

A.. There are total 4 steps involved for hard disk upgrade and installation procedure:

Step #1 : Partition the new disk using fdisk command

Following command will list all detected hard disks:
# fdisk -l | grep '^Disk'
Output:

Disk /dev/sda: 251.0 GB, 251000193024 bytes
Disk /dev/sdb: 251.0 GB, 251000193024 bytes

A device name refers to the entire hard disk. For more information see Linux partition naming convention and IDE drive mappings.
To partition the disk - /dev/sdb, enter:
# fdisk /dev/sdb
The basic fdisk commands you need are:

  • m - print help
  • p - print the partition table
  • n - create a new partition
  • d - delete a partition
  • q - quit without saving changes
  • w - write the new partition table and exit

Step#2 : Format the new disk using mkfs.ext3 command

To format Linux partitions using ext2fs on the new disk:
# mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1

Step#3 : Mount the new disk using mount command

First create a mount point /disk1 and use mount command to mount /dev/sdb1, enter:
# mkdir /disk1
# mount /dev/sdb1 /disk1
# df -H

Step#4 : Update /etc/fstab file

Open /etc/fstab file, enter:
# vi /etc/fstab
Append as follows:

/dev/sdb1               /disk1           ext3    defaults        1 2

Save and close the file.

Task: Label the partition

You can label the partition using e2label. For example, if you want to label the new partition /backup, enter
# e2label /dev/sdb1 /backup
You can use label name insted of partition name to mount disk using /etc/fstab:
LABEL=/backup /disk1 ext3 defaults 1 2

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

1 aniket March 11, 2008 at 1:53 pm

yah thats good for understand………

Reply

2 aniket March 11, 2008 at 1:55 pm

i have 48TB storage server in raid 5, how do i format this server?

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3 punam sen December 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm

to format the corresponding hdd you need a RAM(Random Access Memory) 1 YB(yota byte)
1YB=1024 ZB
1ZB=1024 XB
1XB=1024 PB
1PB=1024 TB

Reply

4 HAHA May 3, 2013 at 7:42 pm

That’s retarded.

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5 Anand October 5, 2013 at 4:47 pm

LOL, I’ve got 1 UB (UnniByte) RAM on my Server

1UB=1024YB
1YB=1024 ZB
1ZB=1024 XB
1XB=1024 PB
1PB=1024 TB

Is it possible to format my 1.4 MB floppy now?

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6 as pon FB May 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

I have 90’90 power of per zylions! So what? You’ve only got a pint of milk!!! does your processor register ????

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7 nixCraft March 11, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Aniket,

Use LVM directly or read this tutorial which explains how to create partition larger than 2TB

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8 ankur March 27, 2008 at 5:36 am

How do I format a harddisk using linux system call

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9 lakshmikanthan July 9, 2008 at 1:54 pm

hi,

thank you fro valuable information

Reply

10 dragon August 1, 2008 at 7:52 am

how to format a disk by cpp programe?is there any sample code ?

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11 Nagarajan January 6, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Hi,

Thank you very much this valuable information.

Regards,
Nagarajan.S.G

Reply

12 Iyyappan January 29, 2009 at 8:16 am

/dev/sdb1 /disk1 ext3 defaults 1 2

The above line what is mean by defaults and what is 1 2 ?

can u explain those two things !

Reply

13 bjaanes November 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm

This is directly from the arch linux (amazing) documentation:

  1. The first number is “dump”: used by the dump utility to decide when to make a backup. Dump checks the entry and uses the number to decide if a file system should be backed up. Possible entries are 0 and 1. If 0, dump will ignore the file system; if 1, dump will make a backup. Most users will not have dump installed, so they should put 0 for the entry.
  2. The second number is “pass”: used by fsck to decide which order filesystems are to be checked. Possible entries are 0, 1 and 2. The root file system should have the highest priority 1 – all other file systems you want to have checked should have a 2. File systems with a value 0 will not be checked by the fsck utility.

Reply

14 Pgt August 22, 2012 at 12:55 am

Thanks bjaanes

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15 shyam kumar February 24, 2009 at 5:50 am

IN my system both WINDOWS-XP and LINUX , I’ve installed. after that
I want to format the linux OS from my system.
so please send to me tricks or method on Email addr., so i can remove LUNUX OS from my system.
BY both method (i)Text command and
(ii)without Text command.

Reply

16 Greatkanth March 22, 2011 at 10:07 am

Hey man I also have same problem .did u got any methods to remove . please help man

Reply

17 HyPerCuBe March 12, 2009 at 3:56 pm

verrrrrrrrry useful i’ve searched for 2 days for this thanks

Reply

18 Sathish April 16, 2009 at 10:47 am

Hi,

Thank you very much this valuable information. Very useful this

Thanks
B. Sathish.

Reply

19 Prasoon May 11, 2009 at 6:18 pm

I have installed CentOS ..
now i want my disk to be fully formatted like a new one. with no files on it..

i remember doing it by booting in DOS mode in Win98..
Please tell how can i do it..

Reply

20 mjisri May 20, 2009 at 4:06 am

Thank you.
nice and clear.

Reply

21 LinuxUser July 14, 2009 at 8:10 am

Excellent and easy. Thanx

Reply

22 Charanjit Singh Cheema July 18, 2009 at 7:20 am

Nice information and esp. the link that you posted for Anikat. Information really useful pal. Thanks a ton..

Regards
Charanjit Singh Cheema

Reply

23 Carlo August 16, 2009 at 11:14 am

Thank you, this is the kind of fast reference that one is always looking for

Reply

24 antonio August 21, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Well, this saved me an hour of banging my head against the wall… well written! thanks!

Reply

25 Jam September 1, 2009 at 10:00 am

Yes. Very useful. Thanks.

Reply

26 anburaja September 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

help me to see the out put of the php programe, i have php 2007 developer

Reply

27 anburaja September 9, 2009 at 12:13 pm

god bless you

Reply

28 Lion September 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm

Very simple and useful, thanks :)

Reply

29 Chris November 6, 2009 at 2:08 am

Great. Searched for a long time to find this, very well done. Thanks!

Reply

30 Sanjay January 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

Can any one tell me what the mean by 1,2 in default and when i create a raid partition is there any change in default charcter or it is sama as ” default” .

Reply

31 manikandan April 14, 2010 at 6:50 am

IN my Laptop both WINDOWS-XP and LINUX, i’ve safe the problem in windows hal.dll file is corrupted.
so please send to me tricks or method on Email addr.

Reply

32 Rick May 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Good Recipe for what I did in UNIX for years with the simple format command.
You boiled it down to an excellent example…

Reply

33 Sigie May 1, 2010 at 2:14 pm

very helpfull , thanks.

Reply

34 aaron May 14, 2010 at 5:29 pm

very first command (fdisk /dev/sdb) failed. message is “Unable to open /dev/sdb”. any suggestions?

Reply

35 Abdelmannan May 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Hello all,

Is there any software to bound two NIC to use on ip address for both NICs.

Thanks

Reply

36 nixCraft May 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm
37 Pankaj, Lucknow June 7, 2010 at 11:26 am

Thank you very much these are very good and easy way commands to understand for the people.

Reply

38 mumunendra kumar July 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

how to format linex form my system plz reply solution at my email

Reply

39 vahid August 26, 2010 at 3:02 am

thanks alot ,,,,, that was really usefull

Reply

40 sandeep choudhary August 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

how many formatting for window and linux
plz sand ams on my email address

Reply

41 raj September 30, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I deleted the panel in ubuntu by mistake.. how can i get the default panels?

Reply

42 sathishkumar October 14, 2010 at 2:53 pm

The above steps are so good and easy to format

Thank u Very much for your Formating steps.

Reply

43 linux December 18, 2010 at 4:12 pm

a very nice article. thank you for sharing.

Reply

44 kunal December 30, 2010 at 10:10 am

how do installed linux …. with command ???? tell me all command…????

Reply

45 bapi January 30, 2011 at 5:04 am

IN my system both WINDOWS-XP and LINUX , I’ve installed. after that
I want to format the linux OS from my system.
so please send to me tricks or method on Email addr., so i can remove LUNUX OS from my system.
BY both method (i)Text command and
(ii)without Text command.

Reply

46 Guy February 6, 2011 at 1:04 am

Good article.
Note: this works on centos 5.5 … fyi.

Reply

47 tmel173 June 1, 2011 at 4:09 pm

This is beautiful!!! There are some who care out there..

Reply

48 Narendra June 10, 2011 at 4:28 am

IN my system both WINDOWS-XP and LINUX , I’ve installed. after that
I want to format the linux OS from my system.
so please send to me tricks or method on Email addr., so i can remove LUNUX OS from my system.
BY both method
(i)Text command and
(ii)without Text command.

Reply

49 Aravind September 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

Hi Naren…I need to format my linux suse10.3 from my system.Will you please help me how to do.i am very new to this linux.If u have any tricks means please send me that files also.Aravind
Thank you

Reply

50 paco July 31, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Good tuto, thank you

Reply

51 retheesh October 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm

very good solution thanks…

Reply

52 Ashok December 13, 2011 at 2:39 am

Very Good solution.

Thanks

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53 Zero February 11, 2012 at 12:58 pm

just wanted to let you know you just saved my life, cheers mate

Reply

54 BINU RAJAN March 22, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Vivek Gite U R GREAT
MY HDD WAS DETCTED BUT WAS NOT BOOTING AND WAS ALSO DENYING FRESH INSTALLATION OF WINDOWS AND WAS RETURNING SOME STOP ERROR …. BUT AFTER FORMATING ONE OF MY PARTITION IN SLAX NOW EVERYTHING IS BACK TO NORMAL AND IT ALSO SAVED MY TONNES OF DATA

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55 brandon April 20, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I am using VMWare version 8 to run backtrack 5 and I added another hard drive to it. How do I format the drive to place a rainbow table on the said drive?

Reply

56 Sia Gi May 15, 2012 at 8:48 pm

Very good and concise tutorial, thank you.

Reply

57 Vicky July 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

HI,

I have a FS created with the below cmd and started using fine.

mkfs.ext3 /dev/sdb1
(/dev/sdb1 been allocated from SAN with 1 TB capacity)

Now, I have resized the disk /dev/sdb1 to 2 TB from the SAN. After this my filesystem doesn’t show the resized capacity of 2 TB :(, it still shows as 1 TB. What has to be done to get the FS space resized without data loss ?

Please help with this.

Thank you.
Cheers,
Vicky

Reply

58 Vimal July 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm

Very clear & complete. Keep it up..!

Reply

59 Ahphu August 18, 2012 at 4:57 am

hi
I have 640GB. how to format this hard disk for Linux operating system?
Please help me solution…..

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60 Nickiest February 12, 2013 at 9:08 am

I think you make a wrong typing in mkfs. In the line is hdb not sdb. ok?

Reply

61 Tejas Sakhare April 29, 2013 at 5:50 am

I have 1.60GB. how to format this hard disk of Linux OS System. I have try but disk not detected for formatting. I want to OS Windows
Please help me solution…..

Reply

62 lalji June 8, 2013 at 10:32 am

thank to much sir

Reply

63 Paola L. August 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

Written in a clear and simple!!
Thank you :)

Reply

64 sarah September 9, 2014 at 6:12 am

I am extremely techie challenged :( I do not know what kind of linux I have on my laptop. All I want to do is format my USB drive but I receive an error message.

Sorry, could not display all the contents of “THE GALILEO”: Error when getting information for file ‘/media/sarah/THE GALILEO/FOUND.000′: Input/output error

Easy way to correct and format?

Reply

65 Wellington Torrejais da Silva September 16, 2014 at 7:42 pm

Thanks!!!

Reply

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