Linux and Unix mkfs command

mkfs commandAbout mkfs
mkfs syntax
mkfs examples
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About mkfs

Build a Linux file system.


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 will 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 your filesystem-specific builder manual pages for further details.

mkfs syntax

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


-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.

mkfs examples

mkfs -t ext2 /dev/fd0

The above example would create an ext2 filesystem on a floppy diskette in the first floppy drive.

fdisk — A disk partioning utility.
fsck — Check and repair a Linux file system.
losetup — Set up and control loop devices.