I have a USB stick that once-upon-a-time contained Ubuntu installation media. I have repurposed the device, but the original label has stuck despite my efforts to change it.

lsblk -o label reports that the name is Ubuntu 16.10 amd64 (from prior use). lsblk reports this same label for each of its 4 new partitions, and this label shows up as a mountpoint each time I insert the disk. This is confusing from many perspectives.

I have tried the following, unsuccessfully:

  • changing partition names using parted
  • re-partitioning
  • new disk label (gpt)
  • new UUIDs for disk and partitions
  • different computers.

Where is this "label" coming from, and how do I change it?

  • With new UEFI systems using gpt there are two labels. Label & partlabel. Label is part of file system and partlabel is part of gpt's data on partition. I try to remember to change when creating partitions with gparted. Otherwise I use Disks (about only thing Disks is good for). to see both: lsblk -f -o +partlabel In disks you can use the gears icon to select edit of labels.
    – oldfred
    Dec 21, 2018 at 15:23
  • Fyi, a GPT partition label (partlabel) can be changed from the command line with sgdisk. See man sgdisk for details, specifically the -c option.
    – mpb
    Sep 16, 2020 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


Since the label is a property of the filesystem there are individual ways to set the label for different file systems.

for ext2/ext3/ext4 filesystems you use:

e2label /dev/XXX <label>

for btrfs:

btrfs filesystem label /dev/XXX <label>

for reiserfs:

reiserfstune -l <label> /dev/XXX

for jfs:

jfs_tune -L <label> /dev/XXX

for xfs:

xfs_admin -L <label> /dev/XXX

for fat/vfat (using dosfstools):

fatlabel /dev/XXX <label> 

OR (using mtools):

mlabel -i /dev/XXX ::<label>

for exfat (you might need to install exfat-utils first):

exfatlabel /dev/XXX <label>

for ntfs:

ntfslabel /dev/XXX <label>

for swap (first you need to swapoff):

swaplabel -L <label> /dev/XXX

source: https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/persistent_block_device_naming#by-label

  • 2
    Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! :-) Excellent first answer! +1 Please do take the tour to familiarize yourself with how this site works as it's something like the star in the middle of this... ;-)
    – Fabby
    Dec 21, 2018 at 14:02
  • May I ask how to rename label for iso9660? (I have read, this filesystem of usb or floppy, but this type of fs is not mentioned in the list above
    – Herdsman
    Apr 1, 2020 at 0:21
  • btrfs filesystem label /dev/XXX <label> did the trick. Thank you! Feb 14 at 9:51

The easy way is to start gparted and in the top right go to /dev/XdYand select the disk you want to edit:

enter image description here

The options are:

  1. right-click the partition you want to rename and click Label file system

    Then type the name you want the partition to have and press OK

    Repeat for the other partitions.

    Click the little green check-mark, applying all operations

If that would fail, take option 2:

This will destroy everything on the USB stick!

  1. Go to the menu Device - Create Partition Table - msdos

    This will wipe everything from the USB stick including the partitions with their silly names.

Note¹: If you would want to do this from the command line the hard way, use parted instead of gparted. ;-)
Note²: For an unmounted USB stick, that's all you need, but if you do this on a mounted internal disk, better use gparted live

  • 2
    ... or fairly easy via the command line with tune2fs for ext2/ext3/ext4 file systems. (+1 by the way)
    – sudodus
    Dec 21, 2018 at 13:58

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