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9. Disk and File System Management

  • Managing Disk Partitions

  • Creating Filesystems

  • Mounting and Unmounting Filesystems

  • Maintaining Filesystems

  • Advanced Disk Management

    • RAID

    • LVM

Managing Disk Partitions

  • Partition Types

  • Device File Name: /dev/sda1

  • Partitioning tools:

    • fdisk

    • parted

    • gparted

Basics About Partitions

MBR partitioning scheme allows you to have up to 4 partitions on a drive, one of those partitions can be an "extended partition", which acts as a container for 16 "logical partitions". The partitions which are not inside the extended partition are called "primary partitions".

In layman's words: when a partition is created simply on a drive (in a MBR partition-scheme), it is called "primary", when it is created within an extended partition, it is called "logical". Read more about it below:

Read about types pf drives:

Drive Partition

Drive partition concepts

sudo fdisk -l => gives the information about the drive(s)

sudo fdisk /dev/sdb => select the disk you want to work with. I choose sdb, for example. Once done, you will get the program and the program will help you go through this simple process.

File systems

Prepare a partition to accept the data. Once you create the partition, it is not ready for accept the data, you have to format it using some sort of a file system that file system decides how the files and folders are laid out in the partition.

For Linux:

  • ext4: default filesystem for most Linux distros.

  • xfs: more robust than ext4. Default filesystem for Red Hat Enterprise distros. Also default for SUSE "/home" partition.

  • btrfs: Default filesystem for SUSE "/" partition. Available in RHEL7 as "technology preview", but now deprecated.

sudo mkfs.ext4 -m 0 /dev/sdb1

Formatted a partition in ext4

Mounting the device

After having formatted a file system, you need to mount it somewhere to make it accessible. There are many places where you can mount the drive but in the following example, I have mounted in inside /mnt/data

mounting an ext4 the drive inside /mnt

In the following example, I am formatting the /dev/sdc1 to xfs and then mounting it to a directory called my-sdc1-drive inside /mnt. Full process:

Remember this is not a persistent mounting at this point. If you reboot the machine now, the mounting will go away and you will have to mount it again. Check out /etc/fstab for persistent mounting.

You can un-mount the partition using sudo umount /mnt/my-sdc1-drive

Permanent mounting:

First check the block id of the device you want to mount. In this example, I want to mount sdb1 to be mounted permanently: sudo blkid /dev/sdb1

Then, copied the UUID and pasted it to the /etc/fstab

After pasting it, you can specify where you want it to be mounted. Remember, you can mount it anywhere.You just need to create a folder and mount the partition it there.

permanently mounting

You can check it by the command mount | grep 'sd'

Imagine you want to change the permission on the sdb1 from rw to ro. You can of course go ahead umount it and change the permission and remount it but there is easier way to do so. sudo mount -o remount,ro /dev/sdb1 /mnt/data

Linux Filesystem Maintenance

Toots of the trade

  • fsck - check if the disk is corrupted

  • df and du - check the space availability

  • lsof - check what filesystem is using it. For example, if you want to umount a drive, and something is using it, using this tool, you can know what is using the drive.

  • fuser - almost the same function as lsof

  • dumpe2fs - info about parameters set on the filesystem

  • tune2fs - modify that info if you need to.


Never run fsck against a mounted device or you may end up corrupting the drive. Always unmount first.

-b superblock => it is the metadata of the filesystem. Information like the type of file system, the size, status, etc. If you lose your superblock on the filesystem, you lose access to the file system.

fsck and dumpe2fs
du and df
tune2fs and lsof