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 either the device name (e.g. /dev/hda1,
/dev/sdb2). blocks is the number of blocks to be used for the file

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 com-
mands 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 speci-
fied, the default file system type (currently ext2) is used.

File system-specific options to be passed to the real file sys-
tem 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.

fs(5), badblocks(8), fsck(8), mkdosfs(8), mke2fs(8), mkfs.bfs(8),
mkfs.ext2(8), mkfs.ext3(8), mkfs.minix(8), mkfs.msdos(8), mkfs.vfat(8),
mkfs.xfs(8), mkfs.xiafs(8)

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

Version 1.9 Jun 1995 MKFS(8)

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