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Old 04-14-2007, 12:15 PM   #1
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Find out how a disk was partitioned

I have a disk that I know nothing about except that it was partitioned with EXT2 or EXT3. How can I determine if it was EXT2 or EXT3?
Old 04-14-2007, 12:26 PM   #2
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Look in /etc/fstab
Old 04-14-2007, 01:29 PM   #3
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Also just run
fdisk -l
Not all partitions on a drive may be listed in fstab
Old 04-14-2007, 01:43 PM   #4
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I think that fdisk will respond with 83 for ext2, ext3 and even Reiserfs.

First, if necessary use fdisk -l to check if the partition is a Linux partition. Then use "sudo file -s /dev/<dev>".

For example:
jschiwal@hpamd64:~> sudo /sbin/fdisk -l /dev/hda
root's password:

Disk /dev/hda: 100.0 GB, 100030242816 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 12161 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda5            3983        3994       96358+  83  Linux

jschiwal@hpamd64:~> sudo file -s /dev/hda5
/dev/hda5: Linux rev 1.0 ext3 filesystem data (needs journal recovery)
You could also use the "dumpe2fs" program to print out information on the filesystem. If it indicates a journal and journal size, it is ext3. If you have an ext2 filesystem, you can use tune2fs to add journaling, making it ext3.

Just some trivia. After the ext2 filesystem support was included in the kernel, Linus decided that any new features would be included in a new version instead of having different versions of ext2 to deal with. This made ext2 universally compatible. Now that ext3 support is included in the kernel, any new features will go in ext4 which is under development.
This way, an ext3 filesystem will be able to be mounted in an older kernel even if it was created on a newer one.

Last edited by jschiwal; 04-14-2007 at 01:56 PM.
Old 04-14-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2006
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Thanks jschiwal,
That is exactly what I needed. I was setting up a drive that was not in the fstab file. Turned out that I ran it as a ext2 for a while and it was powered down by my son and his foot (accidentally) on the power cord. Now that I have it properly identified as Ext3 hopefully I can prevent some damage!

Thanks again!


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