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5 Methods to Identify Your Linux File System Type (Ext2 or Ext3 or Ext4)

Question: How do I identify my file system type? I like to upgrade my current file system to the latest ext4. Before that I would like to know what my current file system type is for various mount points I have on my UNIX system.

Answer: Use any one of the five methods mentioned below to identify your file system type.

Method 1: Use df -T Command

The -T option in the df command displays the file system type.

# df -T | awk '{print $1,$2,$NF}' | grep "^/dev"
/dev/sda1 ext2 /
/dev/sdb1 ext3 /home
/dev/sdc1 ext3 /u01

Method 2: Use Mount Command

Use the mount command as shown below.

# mount | grep "^/dev"
/dev/sda1 on / type ext2 (rw)
/dev/sdb1 on /home type ext3 (rw)
/dev/sdc1 on /u01 type ext3 (rw)

As shown in the above example:

  • /dev/sda1 is ext2 file system type. (mounted as /)
  • /dev/sdb1 is ext3 file system type. (mounted as /home)
  • /dev/sdc1 is ext3 file system type. (mounted as /u01)

Method 3: Use file Command

As root, use the file command as shown below. You need to pass the individual device name to the file command.

# file -sL /dev/sda1
/dev/sda1: Linux rev 1.0 ext2 filesystem data (mounted or unclean) (large files)

# file -sL /dev/sdb1
/dev/sda1: Linux rev 1.0 ext3 filesystem data (needs journal recovery)(large files)

# file -sL /dev/sdc1
/dev/sda1: Linux rev 1.0 ext3 filesystem data (needs journal recovery)(large files)

Note: You should execute the file command as root user. If you execute as non-root user, you’ll still get some output. But, that will not display the file system type as shown below.

$ file -sL /dev/sda1
/dev/sda1: writable, no read permission

Method 4: View the /etc/fstab file

If a particular mount point is configured to be mounted automatically during system startup, you can identify its file system type by looking at the /etc/fstab file.

As shown in the example below, / is ext2, /home is ext3, and /u01 is ext3.

# cat /etc/fstab
LABEL=/r       /        ext2    defaults    1 1
LABEL=/home    /home    ext3    defaults    0 0
LABEL=/u01     /u01     ext3    defaults    0 0

Method 5: Use fsck Command

Execute the fsck command as shown below. This will display the file system type of a given device.

# fsck -N /dev/sda1
fsck 1.39 (29-May-2006)
[/sbin/fsck.ext2 (1) -- /] fsck.ext2 /dev/sda1

# fsck -N /dev/sdb1
fsck 1.39 (29-May-2006)
[/sbin/fsck.ext3 (1) -- /home] fsck.ext3 /dev/sdb1

# fsck -N /dev/sdc1
fsck 1.39 (29-May-2006)
[/sbin/fsck.ext3 (1) -- /u01] fsck.ext3 /dev/sdc1

If you don’t have the root access, but would like to identify your file system type, use /sbin/fsck -N as shown above.

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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • ganai April 18, 2011, 2:43 am

    i thought df -khT does it all on all distributions

    df -khT
    Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    ext3 992M 386M 556M 41% /
    ext3 3.9G 229M 3.5G 7% /var
    ext3 3.9G 972M 2.8G 26% /usr
    ext3 992M 34M 908M 4% /home
    ext3 7.8G 702M 6.7G 10% /opt
    ext3 12G 158M 11G 2% /srv
    /dev/sda1 ext3 145M 19M 119M 14% /boot
    tmpfs tmpfs 2.0G 0 2.0G 0% /dev/shm
    none tmpfs 1.0G 12K 1.0G 1% /tmp

  • VulcanRidr April 18, 2011, 2:50 am

    There is also df -T:

    /dev/hda4 ext3 191048 216716 160848 12% /usr/local
    /dev/sda6 reiserfs 5242716 2315728 2926988 45% /var
    /dev/sdb1 xfs 3135488 1952644 1182844 63% /opt

  • bezha April 18, 2011, 2:53 am

    Another useful command:

    # df -T | grep /dev/sda
    /dev/sda1 ext4 73744616 35400512 34598056 51% /

  • Koutheir April 18, 2011, 3:47 am

    Go check the command “dumpe2fs”. It does give you just what you are expecting.

  • Elgene April 18, 2011, 4:12 am

    another way to know your file system type is by issuing the command “df -T”

  • Arunabha Banerjee April 18, 2011, 4:32 am

    Another easiest way to check as follows:

    [abanerjee@test1 abanerjee]$ df -hT
    Filesystem Type Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda3 ext3 1011M 661M 299M 69% /
    /dev/sda1 ext3 76M 24M 48M 33% /boot
    /dev/sda5 ext3 1011M 455M 505M 48% /opt
    none tmpfs 503M 0 503M 0% /dev/shm
    /dev/sda7 ext3 494M 19M 449M 4% /tmp
    /dev/sda8 ext3 28G 2.6G 23G 10% /usr
    /dev/sda6 ext3 1011M 292M 668M 31% /var

  • Blammo April 18, 2011, 5:47 am

    Install gParted.

  • Cas April 18, 2011, 7:25 am

    I think df is quicker and has a cleaner output:

    df -hT

    Although I now use ‘di’ which is a improved version of ‘df’ with better display options. I use the following to display disk status on my server with long LVM names.

    di -f SMBuv2T -H -st -xnone

  • Ramesh Natarajan April 18, 2011, 8:04 am


    Thanks for pointing out the “df -T” command to get the file system type. I’ve updated the article accordingly.

  • sulti April 18, 2011, 9:12 am

    There’s a command ‘blkid’ which will tell You what kind of filesystem (and what UUID) is on which partition:

    sudo blkid /dev/sda1
    /dev/sda1: UUID=”0986d8b7-c066-d9ee-2379-27252f387269″ TYPE=”linux_raid_member”

    sudo blkid /dev/md2
    /dev/md2: UUID=”3eaf4b7f-f912-439c-833c-287d6e082339″ TYPE=”reiserfs”

    The ‘df’ command or ‘mount’ won’t help if the filesystem you’re checking is on not mounted partition.

  • kgas April 18, 2011, 11:41 am

    one more command is blkid. (sudo blkid | awk ‘{print $1 ” ” $4}’)

  • kgas April 18, 2011, 11:43 am

    sulti beat me in this.

  • sathiya April 19, 2011, 5:27 am

    Also please tell us ways to find out the size of a block in a file system ?

  • yuva April 20, 2011, 6:00 am

    To find out the file system present in a disk we can also use this following command.
    sudo /lib/udev/vol_id /dev/sda1
    Sample Output:

    Note:Only for Persistent file system(like ext2,ext3..).Not for logical file system like procfs, tmpfs.

  • kgas April 22, 2011, 5:39 am

    sathiya, for the block sizes check with fdisk

  • Jalal Hajigholamali May 21, 2012, 6:46 am

    New version of “df” command has some new useful options like “–total”

  • Emanuele August 4, 2012, 1:55 pm

    WARNING: The file command does NOT work for ext4 fs type, as shown below.

    $ sudo file -sL /dev/sdb1
    /dev/sdb1: Linux rev 1.0 ext2 filesystem data (mounted or unclean), UUID=e5280988-66ff-44af-9eda-caff33db6413 (large files)

    $ fsck -N /dev/sdb1
    fsck from util-linux-ng 2.17.2
    [/sbin/fsck.ext4 (1) — /mnt/sdc1] fsck.ext4 /dev/sdb1

  • Anonymous January 18, 2013, 11:22 am

    blkid will also give file system type

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