Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm trying to put a linux distro .iso on my usb and the instructions suggests using the following command to make a fat32 filesystem:

mkdosfs -F 32 /dev/sdc1

Is there a reason this command is to be used instead of mkfs?

share|improve this question
up vote 8 down vote accepted

mkfs is a command to make a file system, and is a front end for the more specific mkfs.file_type (mkfs.vfat , mkfs.ext4, etc)

In actuality, mkfs is simply a front-end for the various file system builders (mkfs.fstype) available under Linux. The file system-specific builder is searched for in a number of directories like perhaps /sbin, /sbin/fs, /sbin/fs.d, /etc/fs, /etc (the precise list is defined at compile time but at least contains /sbin and /sbin/fs), and finally in the directories listed in the PATH environment variable. Please see the file system-specific builder manual pages for further details.

mkfs.vfat is a symbolilc link to mkdosfs

They are the same

ls -l /sbin/mkfs.vfat
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 7 2011-10-29 23:13 /sbin/mkfs.vfat -> mkdosfs

For additional information see

man mkfs

share|improve this answer
You're awesome, thanks for your help =) – user784637 Dec 12 '11 at 0:39
You are most welcome. – bodhi.zazen Dec 12 '11 at 0:46

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.