Linux Commands Examples

A great documentation place for Linux commands


build a Linux filesystem

see also : badblocks - fsck - mkdosfs - mke2fs - mkfs.bfs - mkfs.ext2 - mkfs.ext3 - mkfs.ext4 - mkfs.minix - mkfs.msdos - mkfs.vfat


mkfs [options] [-t type fs-options] device [size]

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sudo mkfs -t ext3 /dev/rvd


mkfs is used to build a Linux filesystem on a device, usually a hard disk partition. The device argument is either the device name (e.g. /dev/hda1, /dev/sdb2), or a regular file that shall contain the filesystem. The size argument is the number of blocks to be used for the filesystem.

The exit code returned by mkfs is 0 on success and 1 on failure.

In actuality, mkfs is simply a front-end for the various filesystem builders (mkfs.fstype) available under Linux. The filesystem-specific builder is searched for in a number of directories, like perhaps /sbin, /sbin/fs, /sbin/fs.d, /etc/fs, /etc (the precise list is defined at compile time but at least contains /sbin and /sbin/fs), and finally in the directories listed in the PATH environment variable. Please see the filesystem-specific builder manual pages for further details.


-t, --type type

Specify the type of filesystem to be built. If not specified, the default filesystem type (currently ext2) is used.


Filesystem-specific options to be passed to the real filesystem builder. Although not guaranteed, the following options are supported by most filesystem builders.

-V, --verbose

Produce verbose output, including all filesystem-specific commands that are executed. Specifying this option more than once inhibits execution of any filesystem-specific commands. This is really only useful for testing.

-V, --version

Display version information and exit. (Option -V will display version information only when it is the only parameter, otherwise it will work as --verbose.)

-h, --help

Display help and exit.


The mkfs command is part of the util-linux package and is available from


All generic options must precede and not be combined with filesystem-specific options. Some filesystem-specific programs do not support the -V (verbose) option, nor return meaningful exit codes. Also, some filesystem-specific programs do not automatically detect the device size and require the size parameter to be specified.

see also

fs, badblocks , fsck , mkdosfs , mke2fs , mkfs.bfs , mkfs.ext2 , mkfs.ext3 , mkfs.ext4 , mkfs.minix , mkfs.msdos , mkfs.vfat , mkfs.xfs, mkfs.xiafs


David Engel (david[:at:]ods[:dot:]com)
Fred N. van Kempen (waltje[:at:][:dot:]org)
Ron Sommeling (sommel[:at:]sci.kun[:dot:]nl)
The manual page was shamelessly adapted from Remy Card’s version for the ext2 filesystem.

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