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B.4. Device Names in Linux

Linux disks and partition names may be different from other operating systems. You need to know the names that Linux uses when you create and mount partitions. Here's the basic naming scheme:

  • The first floppy drive is named /dev/fd0.

  • The second floppy drive is named /dev/fd1.

  • The first SCSI disk (SCSI ID address-wise) is named /dev/sda.

  • The second SCSI disk (address-wise) is named /dev/sdb, and so on.

  • The first SCSI CD-ROM is named /dev/scd0, also known as /dev/sr0.

  • The master disk on IDE primary controller is named /dev/hda.

  • The slave disk on IDE primary controller is named /dev/hdb.

  • The master and slave disks of the secondary controller can be called /dev/hdc and /dev/hdd, respectively. Newer IDE controllers can actually have two channels, effectively acting like two controllers.

  • The first XT disk is named /dev/xda.

  • The second XT disk is named /dev/xdb.

The partitions on each disk are represented by appending a decimal number to the disk name: sda1 and sda2 represent the first and second partitions of the first SCSI disk drive in your system.

Here is a real-life example. Let's assume you have a system with 2 SCSI disks, one at SCSI address 2 and the other at SCSI address 4. The first disk (at address 2) is then named sda, and the second sdb. If the sda drive has 3 partitions on it, these will be named sda1, sda2, and sda3. The same applies to the sdb disk and its partitions.

Note that if you have two SCSI host bus adapters (i.e., controllers), the order of the drives can get confusing. The best solution in this case is to watch the boot messages, assuming you know the drive models and/or capacities.

Linux represents the primary partitions as the drive name, plus the numbers 1 through 4. For example, the first primary partition on the first IDE drive is /dev/hda1. The logical partitions are numbered starting at 5, so the first logical partition on that same drive is /dev/hda5. Remember that the extended partition, that is, the primary partition holding the logical partitions, is not usable by itself. This applies to SCSI disks as well as IDE disks.

  Published under the terms of the GNU General Public License Design by Interspire