Monday, May 20, 2024

Using UUID to Deal With Disks

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Juliet Kemp

UUID (Universal Unique Identifier) notation is another way provided by
Linux to access your disks. Unlike the standard /dev/hda1,
/dev/sda2 notation, it is linked specifically to a particular piece
of hardware (whereas /dev/ notation can shift between disks depending
on how they’re plugged in). This means you don’t have the risk of a
system reconfiguration causing disks to be renamed, and thus causing
knock-on breakage of things that reference that disk.

OK, so, first, how do you find out the UUID of your disk? The command
blkid can be used — here’s its output for one of my disks:

# blkid /dev/hda1
/dev/hda1: UUID="0ef96300-36c0-4575-8a1d-2d36ff4cd585" SEC_TYPE="ext2" TYPE="ext3"

Alternatively, you can look at the /dev/disk/by_uuid/ directory to
see which UUID is associated with which disk. (Use df to find out
what device names you currently have mounted.)

You can also do this the other way around, starting from the UUID:
findfs UUID=uuid will tell you which disk is associated with that

Once you have the UUID of a device, you can use it with mount by
using the -U switch:

mount -U 0ef96300-36c0-4575-8a1d-2d36ff4cd585 /mnt/disk1

or, you can use it in your /etc/fstab by putting UUID=uuid at
the start of the relevant line, instead of /dev/hdaX.

To assign a UUID to a disk, use tunefs. You can generate your own
UUID with the command uuidgen. Then type:

tune2fs -U uuid /dev/sda2

This might come in handy if, say, you’ve cloned your disk (e.g., by using
dd) and must be able to mount both the original and the clone.
Assign it a new UUID and you’re away!

This article was first published on

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