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CFDISK(8)		     System Administration		     CFDISK(8)

       cfdisk - display or manipulate disk partition table

       cfdisk  [-agvz]	[-c  cylinders]	 [-h heads] [-s sectors-per-track] [-P
       format] [device]

       cfdisk is a curses-based program for partitioning any hard disk	drive.
       Typical values of the device argument are:

	      /dev/hda [default]
	      /dev/sda [the fallback when /dev/hda does not exist]

       Note  that cfdisk does not align partitions to block-device I/O limits.
       This functionality is provided by fdisk(8).

       In order to write the partition table, cfdisk  needs  something	called
       the  `geometry'	of  the	 disk: the number of `heads' and the number of
       `sectors per track'.  Linux does not use any geometry, so if  the  disk
       will  not be accessed by other operating systems, you can safely accept
       the defaults that cfdisk chooses for you.  The geometry used by	cfdisk
       is  found  as  follows.	 First the partition table is examined, to see
       what geometry was used by the previous program that changed it.	If the
       partition  table	 is empty, or contains garbage, or does not point at a
       consistent geometry, the kernel is asked for advice.  If nothing works,
       255  heads and 63 sectors/track are assumed.  The geometry can be over‐
       ridden on the command line or by use of the `g' command.	  When	parti‐
       tioning	an  empty  large  modern  disk,	 picking 255 heads and 63 sec‐
       tors/track is always a good idea.  There is no need to set  the	number
       of cylinders, since cfdisk knows the disk size.

       Next,  cfdisk  tries  to read the current partition table from the disk
       drive.  If it is unable to figure out the partition table, an error  is
       displayed  and  the  program  will  exit.  This might also be caused by
       incorrect geometry information, and can be overridden  on  the  command
       line.   Another	way  around  this problem is with the -z option.  This
       will ignore the partition table on the disk.

       The main display is composed of four sections, from top to bottom:  the
       header,	the  partitions,  the  command	line  and a warning line.  The
       header gives the program name and version number followed  by  informa‐
       tion  about  the	 disk  drive and its geometry.	The partitions section
       always displays the current partition table.  The command line  is  the
       place  where commands and text are entered.  The available commands are
       usually displayed in brackets.	The  warning  line  is	usually	 empty
       except  when  there is important information to be displayed.  The cur‐
       rent partition is highlighted with reverse video (or with an  arrow  if
       the  -a option is given).  All partition-specific commands apply to the
       current partition.

       The format of the partition table in the partitions  section  is,  from
       left  to	 right: Name, Flags, Partition Type, Filesystem Type and Size.
       The name is the device name of the partition.  The flags can  be	 Boot,
       which  designates  a  bootable  partition, or NC, which stands for "Not
       Compatible with DOS or OS/2".  DOS, OS/2 and possibly  other  operating
       systems require the first sector of the first partition on the disk and
       all logical partitions to begin on the second head.   This  wastes  the
       second  through	the  last  sector of the first track of the first head
       (the first sector is taken by  the  partition  table  itself).	cfdisk
       allows  you  to	recover these "lost" sectors with the maximize command
       (m).  Note: fdisk(8) and some early versions of DOS create  all	parti‐
       tions  with the number of sectors already maximized.  For more informa‐
       tion, see the maximize command below.  The partition type can be one of
       Primary	or Logical.  For unallocated space on the drive, the partition
       type can also be Pri/Log, or empty (if the  space  is  unusable).   The
       filesystem type section displays the name of the filesystem used on the
       partition, if known.  If it is unknown, then Unknown and the hex	 value
       of the filesystem type are displayed.  A special case occurs when there
       are sections of the disk drive that cannot be used (because all of  the
       primary	partitions  are	 used).	 When this is detected, the filesystem
       type is displayed as Unusable.  The size field displays the size of the
       partition  in  megabytes (by default).  It can also display the size in
       sectors and cylinders (see the change  units  command  below).	If  an
       asterisk	 (*)  appears after the size, this means that the partition is
       not aligned on cylinder boundaries.

       The DOS 6.x FORMAT command looks for some information in the first sec‐
       tor  of	the data area of the partition, and treats this information as
       more reliable than the information in the partition table.  DOS	FORMAT
       expects	DOS  FDISK  to clear the first 512 bytes of the data area of a
       partition whenever a size change occurs.	 DOS FORMAT will look at  this
       extra  information  even	 if the /U flag is given -- we consider this a
       bug in DOS FORMAT and DOS FDISK.

       The bottom line is that if you use cfdisk or fdisk to change  the  size
       of  a  DOS partition table entry, then you must also use dd to zero the
       first 512 bytes of that partition before using DOS FORMAT to format the
       partition.   For example, if you were using cfdisk to make a DOS parti‐
       tion table entry for /dev/hda1, then (after exiting fdisk or cfdisk and
       rebooting  Linux	 so that the partition table information is valid) you
       would use the command "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1 bs=512 count=1"  to
       zero the first 512 bytes of the partition.  Note:

       BE  EXTREMELY CAREFUL if you use the dd command, since a small typo can
       make all of the data on your disk useless.

       For best results, you should always use an OS-specific  partition-table
       program.	  For  example,	 you  should  make DOS partitions with the DOS
       FDISK program and Linux partitions with the Linux fdisk or Linux cfdisk

       cfdisk  commands	 can  be entered by pressing the desired key (pressing
       Enter after the command is not necessary).   Here  is  a	 list  of  the
       available commands:

       b      Toggle  bootable flag of the current partition.  This allows you
	      to select which primary partition is bootable on the drive.

       d      Delete the current partition.  This  will	 convert  the  current
	      partition into free space and merge it with any free space imme‐
	      diately surrounding the current partition.  A partition  already
	      marked as free space or marked as unusable cannot be deleted.

       g      Change  the  disk	 geometry  (cylinders,	heads, or sectors-per-
	      track).  WARNING: This option should only be used by people  who
	      know  what they are doing.  A command-line option is also avail‐
	      able to change the disk geometry.	  While	 at  the  change-disk-
	      geometry	command	 line, you can choose to change cylinders (c),
	      heads (h), and sectors per track (s).  The default value will be
	      printed  at  the	prompt which you can accept by simply pressing
	      the Enter key, or you can exit without changes by	 pressing  the
	      ESC  key.	 If you want to change the default value, simply enter
	      the desired value and press Enter.  The altered  disk  parameter
	      values  do not take effect until you return to the main menu (by
	      pressing Enter or ESC at the change-disk-geometry command line).
	      If  you  change  the geometry such that the disk appears larger,
	      the extra sectors are added at the  end  of  the	disk  as  free
	      space.   If  the	disk  appears smaller, the partitions that are
	      beyond the new last sector are deleted and the last partition on
	      the drive (or the free space at the end of the drive) is made to
	      end at the new last sector.

       h      Print the help screen.

       m      Maximize disk usage of the current partition.  This command will
	      recover  the  unused  space  between the partition table and the
	      beginning of the partition, but at the cost of making the parti‐
	      tion  incompatible  with	DOS, OS/2 and possibly other operating
	      systems.	This option will toggle between maximal disk usage and
	      DOS,  OS/2, etc. compatible disk usage.  The default when creat‐
	      ing a partition is to create DOS, OS/2, etc.  compatible	parti‐

       n      Create  a	 new partition from free space.	 If the partition type
	      is Primary or Logical, a partition of that type will be created,
	      but  if  the partition type is Pri/Log, you will be prompted for
	      the type you want to create.  Be aware that (1) there  are  only
	      four  slots available for primary partitions and (2) since there
	      can be only one extended partition, which contains  all  of  the
	      logical  partitions, all the logical partitions must be contigu‐
	      ous  (with  no  intervening  primary  partition).	  cfdisk  next
	      prompts  you  for	 the size of the partition you want to create.
	      The default size, equal to the entire available  free  space  at
	      the current position, is displayed in megabytes.	You can either
	      press the Enter key to accept the default size, or enter a  dif‐
	      ferent  size  at	the  prompt.   cfdisk  accepts size entries in
	      megabytes (M) [default], kilobytes (K), cylinders (C)  and  sec‐
	      tors  (S)	 by entering the number immediately followed by one of
	      M, K, C or S.  If the partition fills the free space  available,
	      the  partition  is created and you are returned to the main com‐
	      mand line.  Otherwise, the  partition  can  be  created  at  the
	      beginning	 or the end of the free space, and cfdisk will ask you
	      to choose where to place the partition.  After the partition  is
	      created, cfdisk automatically adjusts the other partitions' par‐
	      tition types if all of the primary partitions are used.

       p      Print the partition table to the screen or to a file.  There are
	      three  different	formats	 for the partition that you can choose

	      r	     Raw data format (exactly what would be written to disk)

	      s	     Partition table in sector-order format

	      t	     Partition table in raw format

	      The raw data format will print the sectors that would be written
	      to disk if a write command is selected.  First, the primary par‐
	      tition table is printed, followed by the partition tables	 asso‐
	      ciated  with each logical partition.  The data is printed in hex
	      byte by byte with 16 bytes per line.

	      The partition table in sector-order format will print the parti‐
	      tion  table  ordered by sector number.  The fields, from left to
	      right, are the number of the partition, the partition type,  the
	      first  sector, the last sector, the offset from the first sector
	      of the partition to the start of the data,  the  length  of  the
	      partition,  the filesystem type (with the hex value in parenthe‐
	      sis), and the flags (with the hex	 value	in  parenthesis).   In
	      addition	to  the primary and logical partitions, free and unus‐
	      able space is printed and	 the  extended	partition  is  printed
	      before the first logical partition.

	      If  a  partition does not start or end on a cylinder boundary or
	      if the partition length is not divisible by the  cylinder	 size,
	      an  asterisk  (*)	 is  printed after the non-aligned sector num‐
	      ber/count.  This usually indicates that a partition was  created
	      by  an operating system that either does not align partitions to
	      cylinder boundaries or that used different disk-geometry	infor‐
	      mation.	If  you	 know the disk geometry of the other operating
	      system, you  could  enter	 the  geometry	information  with  the
	      change-geometry command (g).

	      For  the	first partition on the disk and for all logical parti‐
	      tions, if the offset from the beginning of the partition is  not
	      equal  to	 the  number of sectors per track (i.e., the data does
	      not start on the first head), a number sign (#) is printed after
	      the  offset.  For the remaining partitions, if the offset is not
	      zero, a number sign will be printed after the offset.  This cor‐
	      responds	to  the	 NC flag in the partitions section of the main

	      The partition table in raw format will print the partition table
	      ordered  by  partition  number.	It will leave out all free and
	      unusable space.  The fields, from left to right, are the	number
	      of  the partition, the flags (in hex), the starting head, sector
	      and cylinder, the filesystem ID (in hex), the ending head,  sec‐
	      tor  and	cylinder, the starting sector in the partition and the
	      number of sectors in the partition.  The information in this ta‐
	      ble can be directly translated to the raw data format.

	      The  partition table entries only have 10 bits available to rep‐
	      resent the starting and ending cylinders.	 Thus, when the	 abso‐
	      lute  starting  (ending)	sector number is on a cylinder greater
	      than 1023, the maximal values for starting (ending) head, sector
	      and  cylinder are printed.  This is the method used by OS/2, and
	      thus fixes the problems associated with OS/2's  fdisk  rewriting
	      the  partition table when it is not in this format.  Since Linux
	      and OS/2 use absolute sector counts, the values in the  starting
	      and ending head, sector and cylinder are not used.

       q      Quit  program.   This  will exit the program without writing any
	      data to disk.

       t      Change the filesystem type.  By default, new partitions are cre‐
	      ated as Linux partitions, but since cfdisk can create partitions
	      for other operating systems, change partition type allows you to
	      enter the hex value of the filesystem you desire.	 A list of the
	      know filesystem  types  is  displayed.   You  can	 type  in  the
	      filesystem  type	at the prompt or accept the default filesystem
	      type [Linux].

       u      Change the unit of the partition-size display.  It  will	rotate
	      through megabytes, sectors, and cylinders.

       W      Write  the  partition table to disk (you must enter an uppercase
	      W).  Since this might destroy data on the disk, you must	either
	      confirm  or  deny	 the  write by entering `yes' or `no'.	If you
	      enter `yes', cfdisk will write the partition table to  disk  and
	      then  tell  the  kernel  to re-read the partition table from the
	      disk.  The re-reading of the partition table does	 not  work  in
	      some  cases,  for	 example for device-mapper devices.  In such a
	      case you need to inform the kernel about new partitions by part‐
	      probe(8), kpartx(8) or reboot the system.

       Up Arrow, Down Arrow
	      Move the cursor to the previous or next partition.  If there are
	      more partitions than can be displayed on a screen, you can  dis‐
	      play  the	 next (previous) set of partitions by moving down (up)
	      at the last (first) partition displayed on the screen.

       CTRL-L Redraws the screen.  In case something goes wrong and you cannot
	      read  anything, you can refresh the screen from the main command

       ?      Print the help screen.

       All of the commands can be entered with either upper or lower case let‐
       ters  (except for Write).  When in a sub-menu or at a prompt to enter a
       filename, you can hit the ESC key to return to the main command line.

       -a, --arrow
	      Use an arrow cursor instead of reverse  video  for  highlighting
	      the current partition.

       -g, --guess
	      Do  not  use  the	 geometry given by the disk driver, but try to
	      guess a geometry from the partition table.

       -v, -V, --version
	      Display version information and exit.

       -z, --zero
	      Start with a zeroed partition table.  This option is useful when
	      you  want	 to  repartition  your entire disk.  Note: this option
	      does not zero the partition table on the disk; rather, it simply
	      starts the program without reading the existing partition table.

       -c, --cylinders cylinders

       -h, --heads heads

       -s, --sectors sectors-per-track
	      Override	the  number  of cylinders, heads and sectors per track
	      read from the BIOS.  If your BIOS or  adapter  does  not	supply
	      this  information	 or  if it supplies incorrect information, use
	      these options to set the disk geometry values.

       -P, --print r|s|t
	      Print the partition table in the specified format(s).   See  the
	      print command (above) for more information on what the available
	      formats show.

       0: no errors; 1: invocation error; 2: I/O error; 3: cannot  get	geome‐
       try; 4: bad partition table on disk.

       fdisk(8), sfdisk(8), mkfs(8), parted(8), partprobe(8), kpartx(8)

       The current version does not support multiple disks.

       Kevin E. Martin (

       The  cfdisk  command is part of the util-linux package and is available

util-linux			  April 2013			     CFDISK(8)

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