Managing Filesystems

You probably created filesystems and swap space when you first installed Linux (most distributions help you do the basics). Here is a chance to fine-tune these resources. Most of the time, you do these things shortly after installing your operating system, before you start loading up your disks with fun stuff. But occasionally you will want to change a running system, for example, to add a new device or perhaps upgrade the swap space when you upgrade your RAM.

To Unix systems, a filesystem is some device (such as a hard drive, floppy, or CD-ROM) that is formatted to store files. Filesystems can be found on hard drives, floppies, CD-ROMs, and other storage media that permit random access. (A tape allows only sequential access, and therefore cannot contain a filesystem per se.)

The exact format and means by which files are stored is not important; the system provides a common interface for all filesystem types it recognizes. Under Linux, filesystem types include the Third Extended filesystem, or ext3fs, which you probably use to store Linux files; the Reiser filesystem, another popular filesystem for storing Linux files; the VFAT filesystem, which allows files on Windows 95/98/ME partitions and floppies to be accessed under Linux (as well as Windows NT/2000/XP partitions if they are FAT-formatted); and several others, including the ISO 9660 filesystem used by CD-ROM.

Each filesystem type has a very different underlying format for storing data. However, when you ...

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