What is Maximum Partition size supported by Linux?

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Asked by Aniruddha Chhatre


A file system is a method for storing and organizing computer files and the data they contain to make it easy to find and access them. Some time it is necessary to know maximum file and partition size. Currently the most commonly used Linux file systems are ext2, ext3 or ReiserFS. To support files larger than 2 GiB on 32-bit systems, Linux need to use Large File Support (LFS). The LFS support is done by the Linux kernel and the GNU C library i.e. glibc. LFS raises the limit of maximal file size. For 32-bit systems the limit is 2 GiB but using the LFS interface on filesystems that support LFS applications can handle files as large as 263 bytes.

Below is a summery of the these file system:

Maximum Partition size supported by Linux
Click to enlarge

Please note that following Linux distributions comes with LFS support:

  • Red Hat Linux
  • Suse Linux
  • Debian

Maximum Number of Partitions
Please note that under Linux maximum 63 IDE partitions can be created and 15 SCSI partitions can be created per disk.

Update 18-Nov-05, 23:18 IST by nixCraft
Q. Aniruddha is working with Dell Server (6680 server) installed Redhat AS 4 server (2.6.4 kernal, 32Bit with ext3 FS.), ENC CX500 Storage connected to it, that provides 16 TB of size and he want to connect this volume to Redhat Server. He is not able to create single volume of 6TB on Redhat AS 4 server, maximum he can create 1.8TB or 1.4 TB.

A. I had same problem to create 8 TB logical unit, after upgrading RHEL via up2date command it started to support disk size large than 2TB. so first update it next make sure HBA, HBA driver, and the storage device must also support 64-bit block address. If all this condition satisfied RHEL can see disk size upto 32TB! In short update kernel version via up2date. Also let me know the HBA driver name you are using and make sure it support 64 bit addressing.

That is why you need to use 64bit server and not 32 bit, anyways update kernel and use LVM2.

* For more information:
Understanding Linux file system
See Large File Support in Linux docs published by Suse Linux
Please see Documentation located under Linux kernel source tree


    Posted by: Vivek Gite

    The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.

    5 comment

    1. This is a little short sighted – on Linux you can have XFS filesystems at least a Petabyte in size. FS itself supports up to 9 exabytes ,which are all SIGNIFICANTLY larger than 16 Terabytes.

      It is included in the kernel, and has been since at least 2001. http://oss.sgi.com/projects/xfs

    2. You tell em’ Joshua.

      I’m amazed by how few of todays “unix” admins do not know about XFS or who SGI was/is… The only bad one can say about XFS is it’s slow unlinking.. but who deletes stuff now a days anyway?


    3. Thanks for posting this. I knew that Linux had a larger partion size than Windows, but this really lays it out nicely. I also looked at XFS and am asking our development team to look at it as well for our product line.

    4. There’s incorrect info in this article with regards to ReiserFS:

      It *does* support ACLs and has supported them for a long while.

      The recovery time after a crash is actually dependent on the severity of the crash, for most crashes where a simple rollback is performed, the recovery time is actually way faster than either ext2 or ext3 (a few seconds on 100’s gigabyte-sized partitions). On rare occasions where the metadata is damaged and a tree-rebuild must be performed, the recovery time is similar to ext2-3. When there’s bigger damage it can take a lot of time, but then you’d better recover from backup.

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