gdisk stands for GPT fdisk. cfdisk stands for curses fdisk. And so on and so forth.

However, what does the original "f" in fdisk stand for? The only things I can think of would be either "files" or "floppy", but neither of these make a ton of sense.

  • 8
    Joke answer only: The f stands for f***, most commonly used when you write the partition on the wrong disk.
    – whoami
    Dec 2 '13 at 1:48
  • 1
    @whoami - That's the other one I've heard more times than anything else 8-)
    – slm
    Dec 2 '13 at 1:50
  • 2
    @whoami reminds me of dd... the Data Destroyer :P
    – strugee
    Dec 3 '13 at 18:13
  • Thats a good name, I always forget the diff between df du and dd, Mostly start freaking out if I have to use one. It like disk russian roulette. I'll remember the dd now :D
    – whoami
    Dec 3 '13 at 21:00

I'd gander a guess that it's there for FAT, File Allocation Table. But if you look at Wikipedia the "f" stands for "fixed" as in "fixed disks".

excerpt - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fdisk

For computer file systems, fdisk (for "fixed disk") is a command-line utility that provides disk partitioning functions. In versions of the Windows NT operating system line from Windows 2000 onwards, fdisk is replaced by more advanced tool called diskpart. Similar utilities exist for Unix-like systems.

Window's fdisk?

Granted the above has more to do with the Windows/DOS variant but the term "fixed disk" makes a lot of sense, since hard drives were often termed "fixed" in the olden days.

"fixed disk" definition

The definition of "fixed disk" also says the same.

excerpt - http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fixed+disk

Noun 1. fixed disk - a rigid magnetic disk mounted permanently in a drive unit

Other sources saying the same thing:

Original origins of "fixed disk"

Wikipedia's page on Hard Disk Drives also had this nugget:


In 1961 IBM introduced the model 1311 disk drive, which was about the size of a washing machine and stored two million characters on a removable disk pack. Users could buy additional packs and interchange them as needed, much like reels of magnetic tape. Later models of removable pack drives, from IBM and others, became the norm in most computer installations and reached capacities of 300 megabytes by the early 1980s. Non-removable HDDs were called fixed disk drives.

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