How do I create an xfs partition?

Written by kevin walker
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The traditional Linux file system has been the extended file system series (EXT2, EXT3 and EXT4.) This is the file system used in nearly all Linux and Unix distributions by default. However, enterprising users have other options, including the XFS file system developed by Silicon Graphics.

XFS versus EXT3

According to, EXT3 is a slower but safer file system. If an error occurs in the file system on EXT3, it is far easier to recover the data. However, XFS is faster and a server environment with a quality back up system can see dramatic improvements in performance.


Support for the XFS file system must be built directly into the Linux kernel. Type "lsmod" into the terminal to discover if your operating system includes support for XFS. If it does not, you need to rebuild the kernel to support XFS (see Resources).

Creating Partition

Assuming you have a correctly configured kernel, you can create a partition. Type the following into the terminal:

fdisk /dev/sda

This opens the system's partitioning utility. Type "p" to get a list of current partitions. Type "n" for "new partition." Select "Primary partition." Select a partition number (1 to 4) that is not already in use and remember that number: Press "Return" twice: the first time to accept the default starting place for the partition and the second to accept the default partition size.

Type "w" to write the changes to disk.

Format as XFS

Format the partition using the XFS file system. Enter the command:

mkfs.xfs /dev/sda#

Replace the "#" with the number you previously gave the partition.

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