FDISK(8)                NetBSD System Manager's Manual                FDISK(8)

     fdisk - DOS partition maintenance program

     fdisk [-aiufBS] [-0 | -1 | -2 | -3] [-b cylinders/heads/sectors]
           [-s id/start/size] [-c bootcode] [device]

     In order for the BIOS to boot the kernel, certain conventions must be ad-
     hered to.  Sector 0 of the disk must contain boot code, a partition
     table, and a magic number.  Newer BIOS programs want the entire first
     track reserved.  BIOS partitions can be used to break the disk up into
     several pieces.  The BIOS brings in sector 0, verifies the magic number,
     and begins executing the code at the first byte.  This code in turn
     searches the DOS partition table for an `active' partition.  If one is
     found, the boot block from that partition is loaded and replaces the
     original boot block.  Under DOS, you could have one or more partitions
     with one active.  The DOS fdisk program can be used to divide space on
     the disk into partitions and set one active.

     The NetBSD program fdisk serves a similar purpose to the DOS program.
     When called with no arguments, it prints the sector 0 partition table.
     An example follows:

             NetBSD disklabel disk geometry:
             cylinders: 769 heads: 15 sectors/track: 33 (495 sectors/cylinder)

             BIOS geometry:
             cylinders: 769 heads: 15 sectors/track: 33 (495 sectors/cylinder)

             Partition table:
             0: sysid 169 (NetBSD)
                 start 495, size 380160 (185 MB), flag 0
                     beg: cylinder    1, head   0, sector  1
                     end: cylinder  768, head  14, sector 33
             1: sysid 164 (reserved)
                 start 378180, size 2475 (1 MB), flag 0
                     beg: cylinder  764, head   0, sector  1
                     end: cylinder  768, head  14, sector 33
             2: <UNUSED>
             3: sysid 99 (GNU HURD or Mach or Sys V/386 (such as ISC UNIX))
                 start 380656, size 224234 (109 MB), flag 80
                     beg: cylinder  769, head   0, sector  2
                     end: cylinder  197, head  14, sector 33

     This example disk is divided into three partitions that happen to fill
     the disk.  The second partition overlaps the end of the first (used for
     debugging purposes).

     The various fields in each partition are:

     sysid     is used to label the partition.  NetBSD reserves the magic num-
               ber 169 decimal (A9 in hex).  The number 0 is used to mark a
               partition as unused. See the -l flag.

     start, size
               start address and size of a partition in sectors.

     flag 80   specifies that this is the active partition.

     cylinder, head, sector
               the beginning or ending address of a partition.

     Note: these numbers are calculated using BIOS's understanding of the disk
     geometry and saved in the bootblock.

     At the start the fdisk program will determine whether the disk sector 0
     is valid as a boot sector.  (This is determined by checking the magic
     number.)  If not, fdisk will initialize the boot code as well as the par-
     tition table.  During this, all four partitions will be marked empty.

     The flags -a, -i or -u are used to indicate that the partition data is to
     be updated.  The fdisk program will enter an interactive conversational
     mode.  This mode is designed not to change any data unless you explicitly
     tell it to; fdisk selects defaults for its questions to guarantee that

     Getting the cylinder, head, and sector fields correct is tricky.  So by
     default, they will be calculated for you; you can specify them if you

     Finally, when all the data for the first sector has been accumulated,
     fdisk will ask if you really want to rewrite sector 0.  Only if you reply
     affirmatively to this question will fdisk write anything to the disk.

     Available options:

     -0      Update partition slot 0.

     -1      Update partition slot 1.

     -2      Update partition slot 2.

     -3      Update partition slot 3.

     -a      Change the active partition.  In interactive mode this question
             will be asked after the partitions have been processed.

     -b cylinders/heads/sectors
             Specify the BIOS parameters for cylinders, heads and sectors.  It
             is used only in conjunction with the -u flag.

     -B      Install or update the bootselect code on an i386 machine.

     -c bootcode
             Specify the filename that fdisk should read the bootcode from.
             The default is to read from /usr/mdec/mbr if run on an i386 ma-
             chine, and leave the bootcode empty for other machines.

     -f      Run fdisk in a non-interactive mode.  In this mode, you can only
             change the disk parameters by using the -b flag.  This is provid-
             ed only so scripts or other programs may use fdisk as part of an
             automatic installation process.  Using the -f flag with -u makes
             it impossible to specify the starting and ending cylinder, head
             and sector fields.  They will be automatically computed using the
             BIOS geometry.

     -i      Explicitly request initialization of the master boot code (simi-
             lar to what fdisk /mbr does under MSDOS), even if the magic num-
             ber in the first sector is ok.  The partition table is left alone
             by this (but see above).

     -l      Lists known sysid values and exit.

     -s id/start/size
             Specify the partition id, start and size.  This flag requires the
             use of a partition selection flag (-0, -1, -2, or -3)

     -S      When used with no other flags print a series of /bin/sh commands
             for setting variables to the partition information.  This is used
             by the installation scripts.

     -u      Display each partition in turn and interactively ask if you want
             to edit it.  If you reply affirmatively, it will step through
             each field showing the old value and asking for a new one.  When
             you are done with a partition, fdisk will display the information
             again and ask if it is correct.  fdisk will then proceed to the
             next entry.

     The automatic calculation of the starting cylinder and other parameters
     uses a set of figures that represent what the BIOS thinks is the geometry
     of the drive.  These figures are by default taken from the incore diskla-
     bel, but fdisk gives you an opportunity to change them.  This allows the
     user to create a bootblock that can work with drives that use geometry
     translation under the BIOS.

     Editing an existing partition is risky, and may cause you to lose all the
     data in that partition.

     You should run this program interactively once or twice to see how it
     works.  This is completely safe as long as you answer the last question
     in the negative.

     /usr/mdec/mbr          Default location of i386 bootcode
     /usr/mdec/mbr_bootsel  Default location of i386 bootselect code

     disklabel(8), mbr(8), mbrlabel(8)

     There are subtleties that the program detects that are not explained in
     this manual page.

NetBSD 1.6                     December 19, 2000                             3

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©1994 Man-cgi 1.15, Panagiotis Christias
©1996-2019 Modified for NetBSD by Kimmo Suominen