Linux Partitioning and Formating

Partitioning with fdisk

fdisk usage

fdisk is started by typing (as root) fdisk device at the command prompt. device might be something like /dev/hda or /dev/sda. The basic fdisk commands you need are:

p print the partition table (you can also use the command fdisk -l at bash prompt)

n create a new partition

d delete a partition

q quit without saving changes

w write the new partition table and exit

Changes you make to the partition table do not take effect until you issue the write (w) command. Here is a sample partition table:

Disk /dev/hdb: 64 heads, 63 sectors, 621 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 4032 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hdb1   *         1       184    370912+  83  Linux
/dev/hdb2           185       368    370944   83  Linux
/dev/hdb3           369       552    370944   83  Linux
/dev/hdb4           553       621    139104   82  Linux swap

Here is a sample in which we create a new primary partition (first partition sda1) of 384 MB:

Command (m for help): n
Command action
   e   extended
   p   primary partition (1-4)
Partition number (1-4): 1
First cylinder (1-621, default 1):<RETURN>
Using default value 1
Last cylinder or +size or +sizeM or +sizeK (1-621, default 621): +384M

To set a partition type to swap do this:

Command (m for help): t
Partition number (1-4): 2
Hex code (type L to list codes): 82
Changed system type of partition 2 to 82 (Linux swap)
Command (m for help): p

Formatting an ext2/3 partition

The principal tool for making an ext2/3 file system in a partition is mke2fs. It is usually found in /sbin. mkfs.ext2 and mkfs.ext3 are frontends which pass specific options to mke2fs.

mke2fs /dev/hdb1 
mkfs.ext2 /dev/hdb1  

Note: both of which make an ext2 file system on
the first partition of the second drive, and
mke2fs -j /dev/hdb1 
mkfs.ext3 /dev/hdb1 
Note: This will make an ext3 file system.

Linux Partition HOWTO