Using UUIDs in Fedora’s fstab file

Software

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As with my beloved FreeBSD, Fedora has a /etc/fstab file that lists partitions to be automatically mounted on boot, but with one important difference: Fedora defaults to using a partition’s UUID and not its label.

Why?

I was all ready to pose a question in a newsgroup myself, but fortunately Bill Nottingham from this old thread from the Fedora 9 days put it simply:

UUIDs are unique. (In theory, anyway.) Labels aren’t.

Bill

Fair enough, I suppose you could have unintentionally labelled two of your drives the same thing. I never have because I like to use unique labels that match their mountpoints to keep things simple, but I suppose if Sarah Palin or Stephen Conroy ever installed Linux they’d probably try a stunt like that.

Anyway so it seemed if I wanted my brand new formatted drive to be mounted when Fedora booted, I needed to find out what the new drive’s partition UUID was instead of just using the label I’d just assigned to it.

How do I find out a partition’s UUID?

Good question. A cursory Google search returned this page from ServerFault which lists a dizzying array of options with plenty of justifications. blkid worked for me:

# blkid /dev/sda
> LABEL="moe" UUID="#-#-#-#-#" TYPE="ext4"

If this doesn't work, you may not have /sbin in your $PATH. In that case, just run it from that folder, no worries.

Once you've got the UUID, you can finally add it to /etc/fstab/ along with the file system and mountpoint.

I still can't say I'm a fan, but I suppose that's the way things are going.

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Ruben Schade is a technical writer and IaaS engineer in Sydney, Australia who refers to himself in the third person in bios. Wait, not BIOS… my brain should be EFI by now.

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