How to format and mount second hard drive on Linux
If you have two hard drives you can mount second hard drive to be used for (cPanel/WHM) backups or for hosting more sites. The hard drives must not be in any kind of Raid setup. Process of partitioning, formatting and mounting is quite simple.
First check what disk drives do you have. Usually disk drives on Linux are named /dev/sda (first HDD), /dev/sdb (second HDD) or something similar.
You can get a list of disk drives in system using this command
fdisk -l | grep '^Disk'
The output should be something like this:
Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
So those are two 500 GB hard drives…
If you execute command like the one below you’ll get more detailed preview of your hard discs and their partitions:
Output should looks like this:
Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x1c7e861c Disk /dev/sdb doesn't contain a valid partition table Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes 255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes Disk identifier: 0x00080071 Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System /dev/sda1 * 1 14 104448 83 Linux /dev/sda2 14 144 1048576 82 Linux swap / Solaris /dev/sda3 144 60802 487232512 83 Linux
You should notice that second hard disk (/dev/sdb) has no partition and that probably means that it’s un-partitioned yet.
So let’s make the partition on /dev/sdb by executing
and then use following in the prompt
– “n” for new partion
– “p” for primary partition
– “1” for the first partition
– “Enter” / “Enter” for the first AND last cylinders (automatically use the entire disk)
– “w” to save what I have done
That has created and saved new partition and it will be called /dev/sdb1 (first partition on /dev/sdb). Next step is to format it.
On newer distributions (CentOS 6.3 for eg) use this command to format a new partition.
mkfs -t ext3 /dev/sdb1
If you want to use this hard disk for backup make /backup folder or if you want to use it to store more sites make new home folder called /home2
mkdir /backup mkdir /home2
Now just mount the backup partition or the new home partition
mount /dev/sdb1 /backup mount /dev/sdb1 /home2
Now you can use the additional hard drive for cPanel/WHM backups or storing new sites. cPanel should automatically detect /home2 and should ask you whether you like to setup new account on /home or at /home2.
If you want the partition to auto mount on server (re)boot edit fstab file located at /etc/fstab and add one of following lines at the bottom of it depending if you for /backup folder or the line below for /home2 folder:
/dev/sdb1 /backup ext3 defaults 0 0 /dev/sdb1 /home2 ext3 defaults 0 0
Note: After adding one of these lines press add one more empty line below since fstab requires the new line symbol at the end of every config line. Before you issue the following command, be aware that this re-mounts ALL Filesystems, and will more than likely disconnect most other users
To make sure this mounts automatically, issue the following command:
If you got no errors – your mount worked, try df -h once more to see if everything is fine.
August 25, 2012 - 11:57 pm
Thanks for this info. Exactly what I needed.
September 1, 2013 - 5:27 am
Thanks for the help here. When I run the fdisk -l command, I am getting the following statement: “Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.” Is this something I should be worried about? Thanks in advance for any help!
Cheap dedicated server
June 30, 2015 - 5:51 pm
Thanks for this info. Exactly what I needed.
January 1, 2018 - 7:04 am
thanks for tutorial sir.. verry nice
May 23, 2021 - 10:43 am
I am logged in as an admin.
I keep receiving “permission denied” error, whenever imputing anything that includes “fdisk” into console.
this is what I exactly get:
fdisk: cannot open /dev/nvme1n1: permission denied
fdisk: cannot open /dev/nvme0n1: permission denied
My problem is that my computer has 2 pretty big hard drives, but uses only one – and it’s running out of space as I left there some Windows related stuff just in case I would ever want to install it – producer advised not to delete those drivers and so on for Windows to work properly.
I want to make Linux store the personal files on the other, empty drive. Ideally not re-installing the system.
I will be really grateful for any tips – for now most what I found is about partitioning during installation, this tutorial was the closest to my actual issue what I found, still I cannot follow.