Exploring /etc/fstab

I have been working with linux for a long time but from time to time I come to a very simple concept that I should have already known.  I have been reading my old books and I ran across a discussion of /etc/fstab which sparked my interest into better understanding each of the fields in /etc/fstab in linux.

[table id=1 /]


On the surface this seems to be a simple concept.  The most basic example is /dev/hda1 or /dev/sda1  which would be device hard drive a partition 1 (/dev/hda1) or scsi drive a partition 1 (/dev/sda1) but many things can be placed inside this field to identify hard drives.  You can use a multitude of options in modern linux.  You can use drive labels, device names or UUID’s.   Label’s and UUID’s provide the advantage of not possibly changing with a reboot.

Mount Point

The location on the file system where you want to mount the partition.


The filesystem on the partition.  Can be mount using fdisk if needed.

Mount Options

There are lots of mount options for different needs.

[table id=2 /]

Dump Value

This field is used to denote if the backup program dump is used to backup the file system.  A value of 0 means it’s ignored while any number larger denotes how often in days the file system should be dumped.  This value is mostly ignored since very few people use dump now.  Root should be a 1 while other file systems should be 2 except swap which should be a 0.

Filesystem Check Order

This is the order in which file systems are checked during boot by fsck -p.   A setting of 0 is ignored while root should be 1 and everything else a 2 or higher.

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