Device name

Updated: 10/02/2017 by Computer Hope

device fileAlternatively referred to as a device file or special file, a device name is an identification that is given to the physical hardware device assigned by the operating system.

A device name provides an interface to peripheral devices such as parallel and serial ports, or access to a disk partition. For example, "hd" being the device name for an ATA hard drive. The following table lists Linux device names in the /dev hierarchy and are all examples of device names.

Examples of device names

Name Description
fb Frame buffer
fd Floppy diskette or file descriptor.
hd IDE driver, ATA hard drive, or ATAPI optical disc drive
hda Master ATA device
hdb Slave ATA device
hdc Master ATA device on the second channel. An example of how this may be listed: hdc1, which indicates first partition on master ATA device.
lp Printer
parport, pp Parallel ports
pt Pseudo-terminal (virtual terminal)
sd SCSI mass-storage driver
sda First registered SCSI device. An example of how this may be listed: sda4, which indicates the last partition on the first registered SCSI device.
ses SCSI enclosure driver
sg Generic SCSI layer
sr SCSI ROM driver
st SCSI tape driver
tty Terminal
ttyS Terminal serial port driver
ttyUSB Terminal USB serial converter

Tip: MS-DOS and Windows users should see our reserved word definition for a listing of the device file names.

Hardware terms, Operating System, Operating system terms, Reserved word