Label a Linux Partition

by on January 27, 2009 · 20 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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{ 20 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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12 Alan Jebakumar October 27, 2014 at 1:27 am

Hey,

Is it possible to use labeling even on a ext3 filesystem? When i used label on a ext3 fs and rebooted it, the host never came back online.

Any idea of how it can be fixed?

-Alan.

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13 Chad October 27, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Did you change an existing file system label? If /etc/fstab is referencing the old label the file system won’t be found and therefore will not get mounted. Depending which file system it is and how far your system gets in the boot process you might need to boot to a live cd to correct your fstab (if that’s the problem).

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14 Alan Jebakumar October 27, 2014 at 9:16 pm

Chad,
Thanks for the revert. Well, the below are the steps that i did
1. Added a HDD, sdc.
2. Created a partition sdc1
3. Formatted the sdc1 partition as ext3 by mkfs.ext3
4. Mounted the formatted partition in /vols
5. Added a label to it by $: e2label /dev/sdc1 SambaVols
6. Added a entry in fstab as
Sambavols /dev/sdc1 ext3 defaults 1 2

So when i rebooted the machine after doing these, it never came back. It said that i had to clear up the sambavols drive, as it had errors.

Please advise.

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15 Alan Jebakumar October 27, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Chad,
Let me send you a snapshot of the message in a while.
-Alan.

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16 Chad October 28, 2014 at 12:01 am

Change the end of the fstab entry to 0 0. That will allow the system to boot normally. You also need to put LABEL=Sambavols instead of just Sambavols. You are using the wrong syntax. Always good to test mounting the file system before you reboot.

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17 Alan October 28, 2014 at 2:02 am

Thanks for the note. Sure will change the values in fstab and trt rebooting. By the way, can you explain what these values mean after the defaults section?

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18 Alan October 28, 2014 at 2:05 am

Chan, Can you also comment on how to remove a label being set to a ext3 filesystem?

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19 Chad October 28, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Set it to an empty string. FYI, those are two single quotes.

tune2fs -L ” /dev/sda1

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20 Chad October 28, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Read the man page

man fstab

Normally you want the last value to be 2 for non-root file systems, but setting it to 0 will skip checking it during the boot process.

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