mkfs - Unix, Linux Command

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mkfs - build a Linux file system


mkfs [ -V ] [ -t fstype ] [ fs-options ] filesys [ blocks ]


mkfs is used to build a Linux file system on a device, usually a hard disk partition. filesys is the device name (e.g. /dev/hda1, /dev/sdb2). blocks is the number of blocks to be used for the file system.

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 file system builders (mkfs.fstype) available under Linux. The file system-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 file system-specific builder manual pages for further details.


-V Produce verbose output, including all file system-specific commands that are executed. Specifying this option more than once inhibits execution of any file system-specific commands. This is really only useful for testing.
-t fstype
  Specifies the type of file system to be built. If not specified, the default file system type (currently ext2) is used.
  File system-specific options to be passed to the real file system builder. Although not guaranteed, the following options are supported by most file system builders.
-c Check the device for bad blocks before building the file system.
-l filename
  Read the bad blocks list from filename
-v Produce verbose output.


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


David Engel (
Fred N. van Kempen (
Ron Sommeling (
The manual page was shamelessly adapted from Remy Card’s version for the ext2 file system.


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