How To Add or Edit a Linux File System Label

August 24, 2013 by
Filed under: command line, HowTo, linux, Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Xubuntu 

File system labels are not something you need to have in order to have a functioning Linux operating system, but they can make your computer easier to navigate when you have several disk partitions. In this post I'll show how to add or edit a Linux file system label for ext2, ext3, and ext4 disk partitions.

My netbook has 3 OS's installed; Windows XP, Linux Mint, and Xubuntu. Sometimes I want to view files located on one file system from one of the other operating systems. It's convenient to have these file systems labeled, so I know which one to open to find the desired files.

View Linux File System Labels

It might be handy to first take a look at what file systems already have a label and which ones don't. You can view information about your files systems with the blkid command. You may need to run the command as root to see all of the information.

sudo blkid -c /dev/null

On my netbook, the output looks like this.

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/dev/sda1: LABEL="WINRE" UUID="80AE-9D55" TYPE="vfat" 
/dev/sda2: LABEL="OS_Install" UUID="E468676968673A06" TYPE="ntfs" 
/dev/sda3: UUID="012ff341-f854-4c4f-8bbd-bbc810121fe6" TYPE="ext4" 
/dev/sda5: UUID="ec0fe4d1-e21c-407d-8374-aa4b470519da" TYPE="ext3" 
/dev/sda6: UUID="ee275431-64b2-4f55-b958-4055147cdf4e" TYPE="swap" 
/dev/sda7: UUID="99feb5c5-25a6-47a3-aa2c-6d466c0094ab" TYPE="ext4"


Now I can also check where certain file systems are mounted on my current system with lsblk.

lsblk

The output from my Linux Mint OS looks like this.

NAME   MAJ:MIN RM   SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT
sda      8:0    0 149.1G  0 disk 
|-sda1   8:1    0   3.9G  0 part 
|-sda2   8:2    0  39.1G  0 part 
|-sda3   8:3    0   9.3G  0 part /
|-sda4   8:4    0     1K  0 part 
|-sda5   8:5    0    86G  0 part /home
|-sda6   8:6    0   1.4G  0 part [SWAP]
|-sda7   8:7    0   9.3G  0 part

As you can see from the output from blkid and lsblk, only my Windows partitions have labels. Looking at my file manager I see a generic title for one of the partitions.

Need to edit linux file system label

Unlabeled partition

Edit a Linux File System Label with e2label

Looking at the output from lsblk I can see that my Linux Mint installation is on /dev/sda3, my home partition is on /dev/sda5, and my Xubuntu installation is on /dev/sda7. I'm going to use e2label as root to assign labels to these partitions.

sudo e2label /dev/sda3 Mint
sudo e2label /dev/sda5 Home
sudo e2label /dev/sda7 Xubuntu

Now if I look at the output of blkid,

sudo blkid -c /dev/null

/dev/sda1: LABEL="WINRE" UUID="80AE-9D55" TYPE="vfat" 
/dev/sda2: LABEL="OS_Install" UUID="E468676968673A06" TYPE="ntfs" 
/dev/sda3: UUID="012ff341-f854-4c4f-8bbd-bbc810121fe6" TYPE="ext4" LABEL="Mint" 
/dev/sda5: UUID="ec0fe4d1-e21c-407d-8374-aa4b470519da" TYPE="ext3" LABEL="Home" 
/dev/sda6: UUID="ee275431-64b2-4f55-b958-4055147cdf4e" TYPE="swap" 
/dev/sda7: UUID="99feb5c5-25a6-47a3-aa2c-6d466c0094ab" TYPE="ext4" LABEL="Xubuntu"


I can see that the labels have been applied. Checking my file manager I also see that my 10.0 GB partition is now shown with the Xubuntu label.

After editing Linux file system label

File system with label

Tips

You can also view the label of an individual partition with e2label like this for partition 5.

sudo e2label /dev/sda5

To remove the label from partition 5:

sudo e2label /dev/sda5 ""

This tutorial was written by Linerd and originally appeared on Tux Tweaks at http://tuxtweaks.com/2013/08/edit-a-linux-file-system-label/.

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