mkntfs - create an NTFS file system
mkntfs [options] device [number-of-sectors]
mkntfs [ -C ] [ -c cluster-size ] [ -F ] [ -f ] [ -H heads ] [ -h ] [ -I ] [ -L vol-
ume-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). num-
ber-of-sectors is the number of blocks on the device. If omitted, mkntfs automagically
figures the file system size.
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 com-
mand, 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 sec-
-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 device.
-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 cluster size.
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 limi-
tations 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 sec-
tor-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 a
default of 0 is used. Note that 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 automatically and if that fails a default
of 0 is used. Note that heads is required for Windows to be able to boot from the
-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 Win-
dows 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 use-
ful to set the zone multiplier 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 purposes.
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 mkntfs.
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.
If you find a bug please send an email describing the problem to the development team:
mkntfs was written by Anton Altaparmakov, Richard Russon, Erik Sornes and Szabolcs Szakac-
sits. It was ported to ntfs-3g by Erik Larsson and Jean-Pierre Andre.
mkntfs is part of the ntfs-3g package and is available from:
ntfs-3g 2011.4.12AR.4 January 2006 MKNTFS(8)