MKNTFS(8) System Manager's Manual MKNTFS(8)
mkntfs - create an NTFS file system
mkntfs [options] device [number-of-sectors]
mkntfs [ -C ] [ -c cluster-size ] [ -F ] [ -f ] [ -H heads ] [ -h ] [
-I ] [ -L volume-label ] [ -l ] [ -n ] [ -p part-start-sect ] [ -Q ] [
-q ] [ -S sectors-per-track ] [ -s sector-size ] [ -T ] [ -U ] [ -V ] [
-v ] [ -z mft-zone-multiplier ] [ --debug ] device [ number-of-sectors
mkntfs is used to create an NTFS file system on a device (usually a
disk partition) or file. device is the special file corresponding to
the device (e.g /dev/hdXX). number-of-sectors is the number of sectors
on the device. If omitted, mkntfs automagically figures the file system
Below is a summary of all the options that mkntfs accepts. Nearly all
options have two equivalent names. The short name is preceded by - and
the long name is preceded by --. Any single letter options, that don't
take an argument, can be combined into a single command, e.g. -fv is
equivalent to -f -v. Long named options can be abbreviated to any
unique prefix of their name.
-f, --fast, -Q, --quick
Perform quick (fast) format. This will skip both zeroing of the
volume and bad sector checking.
-L, --label STRING
Set the volume label for the filesystem.
Enable compression on the volume.
Causes mkntfs to not actually create a filesystem, but display
what it would do if it were to create a filesystem. All steps of
the format are carried out except the actual writing to the
-c, --cluster-size BYTES
Specify the size of clusters in bytes. Valid cluster size values
are powers of two, with at least 256, and at most 65536 bytes
per cluster. If omitted, mkntfs uses 4096 bytes as the default
Note that the default cluster size is set to be at least equal
to the sector size as a cluster cannot be smaller than a sector.
Also, note that values greater than 4096 have the side effect
that compression is disabled on the volume (due to limitations
in the NTFS compression algorithm currently in use by Windows).
-s, --sector-size BYTES
Specify the size of sectors in bytes. Valid sector size values
are 256, 512, 1024, 2048 and 4096 bytes per sector. If omitted,
mkntfs attempts to determine the sector-size automatically and
if that fails a default of 512 bytes per sector is used.
-p, --partition-start SECTOR
Specify the partition start sector. The maximum is 4294967295
(2^32-1). If omitted, mkntfs attempts to determine
part-start-sect automatically and if that fails or the value is
oversized, a default of 0 is used. The partition is usable
despite a wrong value, however note that a correct
part-start-sect is required for Windows to be able to boot from
the created volume.
-H, --heads NUM
Specify the number of heads. The maximum is 65535 (0xffff). If
omitted, mkntfs attempts to determine the number of heads auto-
matically and if that fails a default of 0 is used. Note that
heads is required for Windows to be able to boot from the cre-
-S, --sectors-per-track NUM
Specify the number of sectors per track. The maximum is 65535
(0xffff). If omitted, mkntfs attempts to determine the number of
sectors-per-track automatically and if that fails a default of 0
is used. Note that sectors-per-track is required for Windows to
be able to boot from the created volume.
-z, --mft-zone-multiplier NUM
Set the MFT zone multiplier, which determines the size of the
MFT zone to use on the volume. The MFT zone is the area at the
beginning of the volume reserved for the master file table
(MFT), which stores the on disk inodes (MFT records). It is
noteworthy that small files are stored entirely within the
inode; thus, if you expect to use the volume for storing large
numbers of very small files, it is useful to set the zone multi-
plier to a higher value. Note, that the MFT zone is resized on
the fly as required during operation of the NTFS driver but
choosing a good value will reduce fragmentation. Valid values
are 1, 2, 3 and 4. The values have the following meaning:
|MFT zone MFT zone size |
|multiplier (% of volume size) |
| 1 12.5% (default) |
| 2 25.0% |
| 3 37.5% |
| 4 50.0% |
Fake the time to be 00:00:00 UTC, Jan 1, 1970 instead of the
current system time. This is only really useful for debugging
Generate a random volume UUID.
Disable content indexing on the volume. (This is only meaningful
on Windows 2000 and later. Windows NT 4.0 and earlier ignore
this as they do not implement content indexing at all.)
Force mkntfs to run, even if the specified device is not a block
special device, or appears to be mounted.
Quiet execution; only errors are written to stderr, no output to
stdout occurs at all. Useful if mkntfs is run in a script.
Really verbose execution; includes the verbose output from the
-v option as well as additional output useful for debugging
Print the version number of mkntfs and exit.
Print the licensing information of mkntfs and exit.
Show a list of options with a brief description of each one.
When applying chkdsk to a file system, it sometimes throws a warning
"Correcting errors in the uppercase file." The uppercase file is cre-
ated while formatting and it defines the mapping of lower case charac-
ters to upper case ones, as needed to sort file names in directories.
The warning means that the uppercase file defined on the file system is
not the same as the one used by the Windows OS on which chkdsk is run-
ning, and this may happen because newer versions of Windows take into
account new characters defined by the Unicode consortium.
Currently, mkntfs creates the uppercase table so that no warning is
thrown by Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. A warning may be
thrown by other Windows versions, or if chkdsk is applied in succession
on different Windows versions.
If you find a bug please send an email describing the problem to the
mkntfs was written by Anton Altaparmakov, Richard Russon, Erik Sornes
and Szabolcs Szakacsits. It was ported to ntfs-3g by Erik Larsson and
mkntfs is part of the ntfs-3g package and is available from:
ntfs-3g 2017.3.23 January 2006 MKNTFS(8)
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