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The fstab (file system table) file (/etc/fstab) is a configuration file that defines how and where the main filesystems are to be mounted, especially at boot time.


Each line of /etc/fstab contains the necessary settings to mount one partition, drive or network share. The line has six columns, separated by whitespaces or tabs. The columns are as follows:

  1. The device file, UUID or label or other means of locating the partition or data source.
  2. The mount point, where the data is to be attached to the filesystem.
  3. The filesystem type. See man 5 fstab for more supported file system types.
  4. Options, including if the filesystem should be mounted at boot.
  5. Adjusts the archiving schedule for the partition (used by app-arch/dump package). 0 disables, 1 enables the feature.
  6. Controls the order in which fsck checks the device/partition for errors at boot time. The root device should be 1. Other partitions should be either 2 (to check after root) or 0 (to disable checking for that partition altogether).

An example for the root device:

FILE /etc/fstab
/dev/sda1   /   ext4   defaults   0   1

Special characters can be escaped by using their octal representation from an ASCII table. For example, if the name of the mount point contains spaces or tabs these can be escaped as \040 and \011 respectively.

For more detailed information see man 5 fstab.

Options such as discard may seem useful for SSDs, though it is generally recommended to use periodic trim jobs instead.

UUIDs and labels

In the first column, a UUID can be used instead of a device file:

FILE /etc/fstabUsing a UUID for the root partition
UUID=339df6e7-91a8-4cf9-a43f-7f7b3db533c6   /   ext4   defaults   0   1

Alternatively, a LABEL can be used:

FILE /etc/fstabUsing a label for the root partition
LABEL=Gentoo   /   ext4   defaults   0   1

Depending on the partition table (e.g. the GUID Partition Table "GPT"), PARTLABEL can be used:

FILE /etc/fstabUsing a label for the root partition
PARTLABEL=Gentoo   /   ext4   defaults   0   1

Please read this for details on how to retrieve UUIDs and labels.


The following OpenRC services read the fstab to mount or manage the filesystems:

  • localmount - Mount disks and swap according to fstab.
  • netmount - Mount network shares according to fstab.
  • fsck - Check and repair filesystems according to fstab.
  • root - Mount the root filesystem read/write.

These services supplement the fstab, if the filesystems are not explicitly stated:

  • sysfs - Mount the /sys filesystem.
  • devfs - Mount system critical filesystems in /dev.

Check that they are enabled to start at boot time:

root #rc-update show

See also

External resources