Label a Linux Partition

by on January 27, 2009 · 11 comments· LAST UPDATED January 27, 2009

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Q. How do I label a Linux partition? How do I display current label?

A. You need to use e2label or tune2fs command line to change the label on an ext2/ext3 filesystem. e2label will display or change the filesystem label on the ext2 filesystem located on device.

Display current label

If the optional argument new-label is not present, e2label will simply display the current filesystem label.
$ sudo e2label /dev/sda1
or
# e2label /dev/sda1
Sample output:

/boot

Set a new label

If the optional argument new-label is present, then e2label will set the filesystem label to be new-label. Ext2 filesystem labels can be at most 16 characters long; if new-label is longer than 16 characters, e2label will truncate it and print a warning message. To set a new label, enter:
# e2label /dev/sdb2 usbstroage
It is also possible to set the filesystem label using the -L option of tune2fs, enter:
# tune2fs -L usbstroage /dev/sdb2

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jean-Francois January 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm

That’s something that I was looking for sometime already. I re-wrote the article on my own blog, with a link to this article as well.

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2 Edgar February 2, 2009 at 10:43 am

What if you wish to label a reiserfs disk?

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3 Marco February 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm

for reiserfs use reiserfstune -l LABEL and to display the labels of all mounted filesystems, just mount -l

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4 Edgar February 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm

Many thanks!

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5 Ralph Corderoy February 15, 2009 at 1:16 pm

The article is unclear. Must the filesystem be unmounted when e2label is used to set the label?

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6 nixCraft February 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

@ Ralph Corderoy,

No.

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7 Stevie November 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm

I did this and while I can see the label when I explicitly check for it using the e2label command, it doesn’t show up in /etc/fstab. Ex:
[root@Test ~]# e2label /dev/sda1
BOOT

But then:
[root@Test ~]# cat /etc/fstab
/dev/sda1 / ext3 defaults 1 1
/dev/sda2 swap swap defaults 0 0

I expected to see something like:
LABEL=BOOT /boot ext3 defaults 1 2

Did I do it wrong, or is this only when you create the label when formatting/creating the file type?

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8 Patrick Dickey August 30, 2012 at 1:10 am

The understanding that I’ve gotten is that you need to either change the line in /etc/fstab (/dev/sda1 ext3 defaults 1 1) to the LABEL=BOOT /boot ext3 defaults 1 1, or add that line at the end of /etc/fstab.

I came to this site to find out which one it is, but obviously I didn’t get the answer. So, I’ll keep looking.

Have a great day:)
Patrick.

P.S. I realize this post and comment are three years old, but the question still applies.

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9 nixCraft August 30, 2012 at 5:45 am

@Stevie,
It appears that your /etc/fstab was either created by installer or modified by other sysadmin.

@Patrick,

e3label /dev/sda1 boot

Edit/append in /etc/fstab:

LABEL=boot		/boot	ext2	defaults	0 2

And you are done. Where,

  • 0 – dump value. Zero means do not dump file system using dump(8) program.
  • 2 – pass value. This set order for checking file system using fsck at the boot time.

In short 0 and 2 (or any other value) will not prevent you mounting the file system.

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10 Chad August 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm

The title should read “Label a Linux File System”. Partitions are modified with a command like fdisk, which can set a BSD disk label. A partition is not required to store a file system on a disk.

For example:

# whole disk, no partition table
mkfs.ext3 /dev/sda

# logical volume, not a partition
mkfs.ext3 /dev/mapper/vg00-usr

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11 MrToan October 13, 2012 at 6:55 pm

How to delete a label of a Linux partition? please hepl me?

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