The following describes the process of putting a file system on top of a partition with mkfs using an installation of RHEL/CentOS.


  • Ext3/4 principle developer stated that BtrFS is the better direction because it offers improvements in scalability, reliability, and ease of management.
  • VFAT is useful for USB thumb drives and data exchanges with other computers, e.g. Mac and Windows.
  • By default mkfs without any specified options will format a device using the Ext2 file system.


xfs  The default file system for RHEL7.
Ext4  The default file system in previous versions of RHEL (supported in RHEL7).
Ext3  Prior version of Ext4.
Ext2  Basic file system created in the 90s.
BtrFS  File system based on the copy-on-write (COW) principle.
NTFS  Not supported in RHEL7.
VFAT  File system that is the functional equivalent of FAT32.

  1. Create a MBR or GPT partition.
  2. Choose which file system suites your use case.
  3. Run the mkfs command.

     # Format XFS
     mkfs -t xfs /dev/${DEVICE}
     # Format XFS shorthand
     mkfs.xfs /dev/${DEVICE}

    Notice the -t option will specify the file system type.


As you may already know, a partition by itself is not very useful. It only becomes useful once you decide to do something with it. That usually means putting a file system on top of it!