How do I know if a partition is ext2, ext3, or ext4?

I just formatted stuff. One disk I format as ext2. The other I want to format as ext4. I want to test how they perform.

Now, how do I know the kind of file system in a partition?

Asked By: user4951


You can use sudo parted -l

[shredder12]$ sudo parted -l

Model: ATA WDC WD1600BEVT-7 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 160GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos

Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system     Flags
 1      32.3kB  8587MB  8587MB  primary   ext3            boot
 4      8587MB  40.0GB  31.4GB  primary   ext4
 2      40.0GB  55.0GB  15.0GB  primary   ext4
 3      55.0GB  160GB   105GB   extended
 5      55.0GB  158GB   103GB   logical   ext4
 6      158GB   160GB   1999MB  logical   linux-swap(v1)


Answered By: Karthik T

try using df -T see man df for more options still one more way I found is cfdisk

Answered By: harish.venkat

Another option is to use blkid:

$ blkid /dev/sda1
/dev/sda1: UUID="625fa1fa-2785-4abc-a15a-bfcc498139d1" TYPE="ext2"

This recognizes most filesystem types and stuff like encrypted partitions.

You can also search for partitions with a given type:

# blkid -t TYPE=ext2
/dev/sda1: UUID="625fa1fa-2785-4abc-a15a-bfcc498139d1" TYPE="ext2" 
/dev/sdb1: UUID="b80153f4-92a1-473f-b7f6-80e601ae21ac" TYPE="ext2"
Answered By: crater2150

Still another way, since you know you’re running some flavor of ext?, is to look at the filesystem’s feature list:

# tune2fs -l /dev/sda1 | grep features

If in the list you see:

  • extent — it’s ext4
  • no extent, but has_journal — it’s ext3
  • neither extent nor has_journal — it’s ext2

The parted and blkid answers are better if you want these heuristics run for you automatically. (They tell the difference with feature checks, too.) They can also identify non-ext? filesystems.

This method has the virtue of showing you the low-level differences.

The important thing to realize here is that these three filesystems are forwards compatible, and to some extent backwards-compatible, too. Later versions just add features on top of the older ones.

See the ext4 HOWTO for more information on this.

Answered By: Warren Young

How do I tell what sort of data (what data format) is in a file?
→ Use the file utility.

Here, you want to know the format of data in a device file, so you need to pass the -s flag to tell file not just to say that it’s a device file but look at the content. Sometimes you’ll need the -L flag as well, if the device file name is a symbolic link. You’ll see output like this:

# file -sL /dev/sd*
/dev/sda1: Linux rev 1.0 ext4 filesystem data, UUID=63fa0104-4aab-4dc8-a50d-e2c1bf0fb188 (extents) (large files) (huge files)
/dev/sdb1: Linux rev 1.0 ext2 filesystem data, UUID=b3c82023-78e1-4ad4-b6e0-62355b272166
/dev/sdb2: Linux/i386 swap file (new style), version 1 (4K pages), size 4194303 pages, no label, UUID=3f64308c-19db-4da5-a9a0-db4d7defb80f

Given this sample output, the first disk has one partition and the second disk has two partitions. /dev/sda1 is an ext4 filesystem, /dev/sdb1 is an ext2 filesystem, and /dev/sdb2 is some swap space (about 4GB).

You must run this command as root, because ordinary users may not read disk partitions directly: if needed, add sudo in front.

fdisk -l
will list


 fdisk [options] -l <disk> list partition table(s)
 fdisk -s <partition>      give partition size(s) in blocks
 fdisk [options] <disk>    change partition table
Answered By: resultsway

Surprised this isn’t on here already.
No sudo required:

lsblk -f

Answered By: Freedom_Ben

use -T option to print file system type

[root@centos6 ~]# df -T

Filesystem           Type  1K-blocks    Used Available Use% Mounted on
                     ext4    6795192 6367072     76276  99% /
tmpfs                tmpfs    639164       0    639164   0% /dev/shm
/dev/sda1            ext4     487652   28684    433368   7% /boot
Answered By: LawrenceLi

To get just the filesystem type with lsblk:

# lsblk -n -o FSTYPE /dev/sda1 
# lsblk -n -o FSTYPE /dev/sda2

Another option is blkid:

blkid -o export <partition-device> | grep '^TYPE' | cut -d"=" -f2

An example run is:

# blkid -o export /dev/sda1 | grep '^TYPE' | cut -d"=" -f2
# blkid -o export /dev/sda2 | grep '^TYPE' | cut -d"=" -f2
Answered By: Diego

This didn’t show the BSD answer I was looking for. I had the impression these type bytes were actually contained in the partition table on the disk, not sure about that. There’s only type 85 for all Linux extfs types, but Linux doesn’t recognize OpenBSD’s A6 type at all either.

00 unused         20 Willowsoft     66 NetWare 386    A9 NetBSD
01 DOS FAT-12     24 NEC DOS        67 Novell         AB MacOS X boot
02 XENIX /        27 Win Recovery   68 Novell         AF MacOS X HFS+
03 XENIX /usr     38 Theos          69 Novell         B7 BSDI filesy*
04 DOS FAT-16     39 Plan 9         70 DiskSecure     B8 BSDI swap
05 Extended DOS   40 VENIX 286      75 PCIX           BF Solaris
06 DOS > 32MB     41 Lin/Minux DR   80 Minix (old)    C0 CTOS
07 NTFS           42 LinuxSwap DR   81 Minix (new)    C1 DRDOSs FAT12
08 AIX fs         43 Linux DR       82 Linux swap     C4 DRDOSs < 32M
09 AIX/Coherent   4D QNX 4.2 Pri    83 Linux files*   C6 DRDOSs >=32M
0A OS/2 Bootmgr   4E QNX 4.2 Sec    84 OS/2 hidden    C7 HPFS Disbled
0B Win95 FAT-32   4F QNX 4.2 Ter    85 Linux ext.     DB CPM/C.DOS/C*
0C Win95 FAT32L   50 DM             86 NT FAT VS      DE Dell Maint
0E DOS FAT-16     51 DM             87 NTFS VS        E1 SpeedStor
0F Extended LBA   52 CP/M or SysV   8E Linux LVM      E3 SpeedStor
10 OPUS           53 DM             93 Amoeba FS      E4 SpeedStor
11 OS/2 hidden    54 Ontrack        94 Amoeba BBT     EB BeOS/i386
12 Compaq Diag.   55 EZ-Drive       99 Mylex          EE EFI GPT
14 OS/2 hidden    56 Golden Bow     9F BSDI           EF EFI Sys
16 OS/2 hidden    5C Priam          A0 NotebookSave   F1 SpeedStor
17 OS/2 hidden    61 SpeedStor      A5 FreeBSD        F2 DOS 3.3+ Sec
18 AST swap       63 ISC, HURD, *   A6 OpenBSD        F4 SpeedStor
19 Willowtech     64 NetWare 2.xx   A7 NEXTSTEP       FF Xenix BBT   
1C ThinkPad Rec   65 NetWare 3.xx   A8 MacOS X     

If you’re in OpenBSD’s fdisk and you hit ? when it asks for partition type this is what you get. The types show when you’re editing or listing the partition table.

Partition types on Wikipedia:

Answered By: Alan Corey

Since it hasn’t been mentioned, wipefs can also do this.

When used without any options, wipefs lists all visible filesystems and the offsets of their basic signatures. The default output is subject to
change. So whenever possible, you should avoid using default outputs in your scripts. Always explicitly define expected columns by using –output
columns-list in environments where a stable output is required.


wipefs --output type -i /dev/sdb1

--output to specify you only want the type column

-i hides headers from the output

Under the hood this appears to use libblkid so should have the same output as blkid

Answered By: nijave

You can mount the partitions and then use findmnt. (Doesn’t require root.)

findmnt             # to lists all
findmnt /dev/sda1   # to specify a partition


Answered By: zazke
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