Learn How to Create and Manage Basic Partitions using GUI Tool Part 2



After learning the GUI method for partitioning disks into basic partitions (Palimpsest Disk Utility), it is time to discuss the other method: using the fdisk utility.
The fdisk Utility
From the fdisk command man page:
fdisk is a menu-driven program for creation and manipulation of partition tables.

This will list the partition tables.

This will start the utility menu for the specified device.
For example, to list the existing devices on your Linux box:


From the above output, you could easily recognize the following facts:

  • There are two hard disks on the system: /dev/sda and /dev/sdb.
  • The first disk /dev/sda is about 10 GB size, and contains two partitions, one of them is the boot partition.
  • The second disk /dev/sdb is about 4.3 GB size, and has not been partitioned yet.

Creating Partitions
To start dividing /dev/sdb into basic partitions, go through the following steps:

      1. Open your terminal, and switch to user root.
      2. Run the following command:

You should get the following screen:


      1. Type m o get help.


      1. Type n to add a new partition.


      1. Type p to select primary partition, then enter 1 as the partition number


      1. Now, you are asked to specify the boundaries of your new partition. You are asked first to specify the first cylinder. You could type a number between 1 (the first cylinder in the disk) and 522 (the last cylinder in your 4GB hard disk) or you could leave the default value 1.


      1. You are asked to specify the other boundary of your partition, which is the last cylinder. Options are: last cylinder, number of cylinders, or size in kilobytes, megabytes, or gigabytes. In our example, I will specify a size of 1 gigabyte.


      1.  To print the current partition table, enter p:


      1. To save the changes, enter w.


Now, we have a raw partition on /dev/sdb1 with 1 gigabyte size. What we need now is to configure that raw partition into something useable.
Creating File System
The mkfs command and its derivatives are used to build a file system on a device, usually a hard disk partition.

To format the /dev/sdb1 partition using the ext3 type:


Now, the partition /dev/sdb1 contains a valid ext3 file system. To use it, we need to mount it first.

To verify it is mounted:

The file system is mounted and ready to use. However, if you reboot your box, you will notice that the /sales_data file system is not mounted. Although the /sales_data directory exists, the /dev/sdb1 file system is not mounted on it. To configure your system to mount /sales_data automatically on startup, we need to add a line for it in the /etc/fstab file:


Save and exit the file.
You have made great job today. Congratulations!!
In this article, we have learned the second method used to partition disks: the fdisk command line tool.

      • The fdisk command is a menu-driven tool that could be used to:
        • List the available disks, and the partition table in each.
        • Create, modify, and remove partitions on a disk.
      • A raw partition needs to be formatted using one of the available file system types: ext2, ext3, ext4, msdos, and vfat.
      • The mkfs command is used to build a file system on a disk device.
      • For a file system to be used, it needs to be mounted on a directory using the mount
      • To make sure a file system will be mounted automatically after system reboot, we need to add a line for it in /etc/fstab.

That is it for basic partitions. In the next article, we will start talking about Logical Volume Manager LVM: an important constitutive article to wait for. So, stay here. We won’t be late.


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