How to View File System Type on Linux

There are five filesystems most commonly used on Linux. In this article, we’ll review these filesystems and how to determine what filesystem type your distro is using from both the Linux GUI and command line.

We’re using Ubuntu LTS 22.04, codenamed Jammy Jellyfish, an Ubuntu-based distro derived from Debian, for this guide.

Linux Commonly-Used Filesystems

  • EXT4 – the “Fourth Extended Filesystem”, or EXT4, is the standard filesystem for most Linux distributions. It’s backward-compatible with the EXT2 and EXT3 filesystems and supports journaling, which helps prevent data loss.
  • BtrFS – BtrFS, or “the b-tree-file system” was designed by Oracle and comes with advanced features like transparent compression and automatic defragmentation.
  • XFS – created by Silicon Graphis. XFS’s support for dynamically allocated inodes, advanced read-ahead algorithms, and delayed allocation makes its performance, especially on large-scale storage pools, suitable for data center systems. However, XFS is not recommended for everyday personal use.
  • F2FS – the “Flash-Friendly File System” is specifically designed for use with flash-based storage. It is not a good option for any other storage medium.
  • OpenZFS/ZFS – OpenZFS is a fork of Sun’s Solaris Zettabyte File System, combining the filesystem with a volume manager. This allows it to manage files and directories and the physical media on which they reside.

GUI Tools

Linux provides multiple GUI utilities to view their distro’s filesystem type. We recommend running all of the tools featured in this section as an administrative user. Whenever prompted, enter the administrative user’s password.

GNOME Disks

The default GUI Tool to check disk utilization on Linux distros using GNOME as their desktop environment is Disks (gnome-disks).

To launch Disks:

  1. Click the Applications or Activities icon.
  2. Enter disk in the Search box.
  3. Click the system disk icon in the left-hand column.

    The Disks utility shows that the filesystem is EXT4.
    Disks shows that the filesystem is EXT4.
  4. Under the Volumes section in the right-hand column, click the Linux filesystems partition (usually the largest partition). gnome-disks shows that the filesystem is EXT4.

You can also launch gnome-disks from the command line with the gnome-disks command.

# gnome-disks

Info Center – Device Viewer

The default GUI tool to check disk utilization on Linux distros using KDE as their desktop environment is the Info Center tool.

To launch Info Center:

  1. From the Applications menu, select System, then Info Center.

    Select Info Center from the Applications menu.
    Select Info Center from the Applications menu.
  2. In the Device Viewer — Info Center window, select Devices from the left-hand column.

    Select devices from the Info Center.
    Select devices from the Info Center.
  3. Next, select Device Viewer from the left-hand menu and expand Hard Disk Drive under Devices.
  4. Select the primary partition (usually sda1) from the expanded Hard Disk Drive list.

    The Device Viewer - Info Center utility shows the filesystem is EXT4.
    The Device Viewer – Info Center shows the filesystem is EXT4.
  5. The Info Center – Device Viewer shows the filesystem type as EXT4.

Info Center can also be launched from the command line with the kinfocenter command

# kinfocenter

GParted

GParted commonly referred to as the GNOME Partition Manager, is a utility that helps manage disk devices, partitions, and file systems. We are using it to display the Linux filesystem type for our purposes.

Installing GParted

Not all distros using GNOME as their desktop environment come with GParted pre-installed. GParted is specific to GNOME desktop environments and should only be installed on distros with the GNOME desktop environment.

For Debian/Ubuntu-based distros:

# apt install gparted

Installing GParted on RHEL/CentOS-based systems is different than the other systems.

We must first install the Extra Packages for Enterprise Linux or EPEL repository.

# yum install epel-release

Next, we need to update our systems repository with the addition of EPEL.

# yum update -y

Now, we can install GParted.

# yum install gparted

For Arch-based distros:

# pacman -S gparted

Fir OpenSUSE-based distros:

# zypper install gparted

Run the GParted Utility

To run GParted on your Linux distro:

  1. Click the Applications or Activities icon.
  2. Enter gparted in the Search box.
  3. Click the GParted icon.
  4. The Linux filesystem type is displayed beneath the ‘disk space use’ graphic.

    The GParted utility shows the filesystem type is EXT4.
    GParted shows the filesystem type is EXT4.
  5. GParted shows that the filesystem is EXT4.

GParted can also be launched from the command line with the gparted command.

# gparted

KDE Partition Manager

KDE Partition Manager is a utility that helps manage disk devices, partitions, and file systems.

Installing KDE Partition Manager

Not all distros using KDE as their desktop environment come with it installed on the system. As KDE Partition Manager is specific to KDE, it should only be installed on distros with the KDE desktop environment.

To install KDE Partition Manager on Debian/Ubuntu-based distros:

# apt install partitionmanager

To install KDE Partition Manager on RHEL/CentOS-based distros:

# yum install kde-partitionmanager

To install KDE Partition Manager on Arch-based distros:

# pacman -S partitionmanager

To install KDE Partition Manager on OpenSUSE-based distros:

# zypper install partitionmanager

Run KDE Partition Manager

Note that KDE Partition Manager can make irreversible changes to your disk drive(s). Use it to modify your disks only if you know what you’re doing.

To run KDE Partition Manager on your Linux distro:

  1. Click the Applications or Activities icon.

    Select KDE Partition Manager from the Applications menu.
    Select KDE Partition Manager from the Applications menu.
  2. Enter partition in the Search box.
  3. Click the KDE Partition Manager icon.
  4. The Linux distro’s filesystem type is displayed in the right-hand column. KDE Partition Manager shows the filesystem type as EXT4.

    The KDE Partition Manager shows that the filesystem is EXT4.
    The KDE Partition Manager shows that the filesystem is EXT4.

KDE Partition Manager can also be launched from the command line with the partitionmanager command (kde-partitionmanager on RHEL/CentOS-based systems).

# partitionmanager

Command-line Tools

df Command Line Tool

The df command reports the Linux file system disk space usage and the filesystem type.

df Command Purpose, Syntax, and Options

The syntax of the df command is:

# df [option] [file]

There are several options included with the df command:

  • -T – print filesystem type.
  • -h – print sizes in powers of 1000 (e.g., 1.1G).
  • -x exclude type=TYPE.

Real-Life Scenario – df

  1. Launch the terminal.
  2. Display the Linux system’s filesystem disk space usage in human-readable form and filesystem type. Omit squashfs and tmpfs filesystems.
    # df -Th -x squashfs -x tmpfs
  3. We can see the Linux filesystem type is EXT4.
The df -Th command shows that the filesystem is EXT4.
The df -Th command shows that the filesystem is EXT4.

lsblk Command Line Tool

Use the lsblk command to display all blocks (including disks and partitions and their filesystem types) on a Linux filesystem and other relevant partition information based on the options used.

lsblk Command Purpose, Syntax, and Options

The syntax of the lsblk command is:

# lsblk [options] [device]

The options we’re using with the lsblk command are:

  • -f – outputs information about the filesystem.
  • -e – exclude select devices

Real-Life Scenario – lsblk

  1. Launch the terminal.
  2. Display all blocks of the Linux filesystem including the filesystem types.
    # lsblk -f -e7
  3. We can see the Linux filesystem type is EXT4.
The lsblk -f -e7 command shows that the filesystem is EXT4.
The lsblk -f -e7 command shows that the filesystem is EXT4.

blkid Command Line Tool

The blkid command shows the type of content (e.g., filesystem, swap), block device holds along with attributes of a disk.

blkid Command Purpose, Syntax, and Options

The syntax for the blkid command is:

# blkid --label label | --uuid uuid

Real-Life Scenario – blkid

  1. Launch the terminal.
  2. Display all blocks of the Linux filesystem, including the filesystem types.
    # blkid | grep -v 'TYPE="squashfs"'
  3. The blkid command shows the Linux filesystem type is EXT4.
The blkid | grep -v 'TYPE="squashfs"' show the filesystem type is EXT4. The | grep -v 'TYPE="squashfs"' portion of the command tells blkid to omit filesystems of type squashfs.
The blkid | grep -v ‘TYPE= “squashfs”‘ show the filesystem type is EXT4. The | grep -v ‘TYPE= “squashfs”‘ portion of the command tells blkid to omit filesystems of type squashfs.

duf FOSS Command Line Tool

duf is a free and open-source (FOSS) command-line utility designed to be a more user-friendly version of the df command outlined earlier in this article. Unlike df, however, duf is not included in most Linux distros. It must be manually installed by the Linux user or administrator.

Install the duf Command Line Utility

For Debian/Ubuntu-based distros:

# apt install duf

Fore RHEL/CentOS-based distros:

# yum install duf

For Arch-based distros:

# pacman -S duf

Real-Life Scenario – duf

  1. Launch the terminal.
  2. Display disk information on the Linux disk, including the filesystem types.
    # duf
  3. duf shows the Linux filesystem type is EXT4.
The duf command shows the filesystem type is EXT4.
The duf command shows the filesystem type is EXT4.

Commands Used in This Article

  • df – report file system disk usage.
  • lsblk – list block devices.
  • blkid – determine the type of content (e.g., filesystem, swap) a block device holds.
  • duf – FOSS user-friendly version of the df command.
  • apt – Debian- and Ubuntu-based command-line interface for the package management system.
  • zypper – command-line package manager for installing, updating, and removing packages on openSUSE-bases systems.
  • pacman – package manager to install applications on Arch-based systems.
  • yum – (Yellow Dog Update Modifier) – package manager to install applications and packages on RHEL- and CentOS-based distros.
  • gnome-disks – launch Disks from the command line.
  • kinfocenter – launch the Info Center from the command line.
  • gparted – launch the Gnome Partition Manager from the command line.
  • partitionmanager – launch the KDE Partition Manager from the command line.
  • kde-partitionmanager – launch the KDE Partition Manager from the command line (RHEL/CentOS-based systems).

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