Tool fdisk cfdisk mkfs mke2fs mke2fs -j mkswap mkdosfs mkisofs kfloppy
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To start fdisk, enter fdisk on the command line. This brings up an interactive program you can use to create your Linux partition. Be careful using Linux fdisk. It can literally erase your entire hard disk if you are not careful. The Linux fdisk operates much as described in the installation process discussed in 2. The command n creates a new partition, and the
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command t enables you to set its type to that of a Linux type, 83. Table 32-11 lists the fdisk commands. Table 32-11: The fdisk Commands Description Sets and unsets the bootable flag for a partition. Sets and unsets the DOS compatibility flag. Deletes a partition. List partition types. Displays a listing of fdisk commands. Creates a new partition. Prints the partition table, listing all the partitions on your disk. Quits without saving changes. Use this to abort an fdisk session if you made a mistake. Select the file system type for a partition. Verify the partition table. Write partition table to disk and exit. At this point, the changes are made irrevocably. Display a listing of advanced fdisk commands. With these, you can set the number of cylinders, sectors, and heads; print raw data; and change the location of data in the partition table.
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Hard disk partitions are named with hd (IDE drive) or sd (SCSI drives), followed by an alphabetic letter indicating the hard drive, and then a number for the partition on the hard drive. They can belong to any operating system, such as MS-DOS, OS/2, or Windows NT, as well as Linux. The first partition created is called hda1-the first partition on the first IDE hard drive, a. If you add another partition, it will have the name hda2. If you add a new IDE hard drive, its first partition will have the name hdb1. Once you create your partition, you have to format it. For this, use the mkfs command and the name of the hard disk partition. A hard disk partition is a device with its own device name in the /dev directory. You must specify its full pathname with the mkfs command. For example, the second partition on the first hard drive has the device name /dev/hda4. You can now mount your new hard disk partition, attaching it to your file structure. The next example formats that partition:
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# mkfs -t ext3 /dev/hda4
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mkfs is a front end that calls other tools to perform the actual formatting operation. For example, to format a Linux partition, mkfs uses mke2fs -j. For a windows or DOS partition, it uses mkdosfs. To create an ext2 Linux partition, you could just as easily use mke2fs with the j option, and not have to specify a type, as shown here (without the -j option it creates an ext2 file system)
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# mke2fs -j /dev/hda4
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To format a floppy disk, use the mkfs command. This creates a Linux file system on that disk. Be sure to specify the ext3 file system type with the -t ext3 option (see Table 32-12). Once it is formatted, you can then mount that file system. The mkfs command takes as its arguments the device name and the number of memory blocks on the disk (see Table 32-12). At 1,000 bytes per block, 1,400 formats a 1.44MB disk. You do not first mount the blank disk; you simply put it in your floppy drive and enter the mkfs command with its arguments. The next example formats a 1.44MB floppy disk:
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# mkfs -t ext3 /dev/fd0 1400
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With mke2fs, you could use:
# mke2fs -j /dev/fd0 1400
Option Blocks -t file-system-type fs -options -V -v -c -l file-name
Table 32-12: The mkfs Options Description Number of blocks for the file system. There are 1,440 blocks for a 1.44MB floppy disk. Specify the type of file system to format. The default is the standard Linux file system type, ext3. Options for the type of file system specified. Verbose mode. Displays description of each action mkfs takes. Instructs the file system builder program that mkfs invokes to show actions it takes. Checks a partition for bad blocks before formatting it (may take some time). Reads a list of bad blocks.
If you have the K Desktop installed, you can use the kfloppy utility to format your floppy disks. kfloppy enables you to choose an MS-DOS or Linux file system type. For MS-DOS disks, you can choose a quick or full format. If you want to create a swap partition, you first use fdisk to create the partition if it does not already exist, and then you use the mkswap command to format it as a swap partition. mkswap will format the entire partition unless otherwise instructed. It takes as its argument the device name for the swap partition.