I have multiple harddisks which get connected to my server and I'm not sure which one is what in the view of sdXY . If I can see the serial numbers of my harddisks from terminal, I can easily identify them.

Is there any way I can see them from terminal?

up vote 43 down vote accepted

Another solution which does not require root privileges:

udevadm info --query=all --name=/dev/sda | grep ID_SERIAL

This is actually the library that lsblk, mentioned by don_crissti, leverages, but my version of lsblk does not include the option for serial.

  • 2
    Best solution if your hard disk has died completely. Other methods don't work. – niieani Mar 30 '16 at 16:35
  • 1
    grep ID_SCSI_SERIAL may be what actually gives the serial number of the drive, as opposed to the world wide name (wwn) reported under ID_SERIAL. – ron May 12 '17 at 18:03
  • @ron Interesting! Do you have any references that define wwn? – Johann May 12 '17 at 18:13
  • only reference is my first hand experience with WD, Seagate, HGST hard drives comparing values at the terminal to what is written on the label. Hard drives are primarily enterprise/data center grade versus consumer desktop. – ron May 15 '17 at 17:14
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    @ron Just tested this again. My version of udevadm (systemd 229) reports an ID_WWN field. For the drives in my system, there is also no ID_SCSI_SERIAL nor anything analogous (no ID_ATA_SERIAL): E: ID_SERIAL=TOSHIBA-TR150_23SC51E8J2BI ... E: ID_SERIAL_SHORT=23SC51E8J2BI ... E: ID_WWN=0x5e83a97200463ff3 ... E: ID_WWN_WITH_EXTENSION=0x5e83a97200463ff3 – Johann Jun 19 '17 at 5:25

In terminal type:

# hdparm -I /dev/sd? | grep 'Serial\ Number'

EDIT: You can also use lshw or smartctl

  • lshw

    # lshw -class disk

  • smartctl

    # smartctl -i /dev/sda

If you are missing those tools, just install following packages

# apt-get install hdparm
# apt-get install smartmontools
# apt-get install lshw
  • Thanks for the answer I have tested it. But its not giving the dev/sdXX . Please try to fix it. unless its good – rɑːdʒɑ Mar 27 '14 at 12:49
  • if you take out the 'grep' part, you will get the full info as in hdparm -I /dev/sd? – Loopo Jan 20 '16 at 13:46
  • 3
    Does not work if your hard disk has died completely and you're looking for the serial number of the faulty unit. Use @Johann's method instead. – niieani Mar 30 '16 at 16:40
  • I had to install the (apt-ly named) hdparm package on ARM (Raspbian on Raspberry Pi). – EthernetCable Dec 13 '16 at 10:07

Device1 name and corresponding serial number:

lsblk --nodeps -o name,serial


sda  0000000012400917BA30
sdb  0000000012400917BA96

add -n if you don't want to print the header line:

lsblk --nodeps -no name,serial


sda  0000000012400917BA30
sdb  0000000012400917BA96

Pass device as argument to get only the serial number of a specific device:

lsblk --nodeps -no serial /dev/sda



Keep in mind lsblk lists information about all available (or the specified) block devices. Now, for those who do not know what that last term means:
In general, block devices are devices that store or hold data. Diskette drives, hard drives and CD-ROM drives are all block devices. But that's not a problem when using lsblk as you can simply add more columns e.g type (device type) and/or tran (device transport type) etc:

lsblk --nodeps -no name,serial,type,tran
sda  0000000012400917BA30     disk sata
sdb  0000000012400917BA96     disk sata
sr0  4B583242334C453233353320 rom  usb

By using hdparm you can see your Harddisk serial number from terminal.

Open your terminal and type as

 hdparm -I /dev/sd?|grep -E "Number|/dev"
  • Well, but you need to be superuser to use the -I option in hdparm. I would not want that either and prefer a way how to read out the ser # without root permissions. This is why I've upvoted don_crissti's solution only. – syntaxerror 57 secs ago – syntaxerror Mar 19 '15 at 11:09
$ ls -al /dev/disk/by-id/*sda*

This will show you the serial number against the familiar disk name.

  • This is a clever approach but doesn't work on my virtual box. It looks like the contents of the by-id dir are just symlinks, so ls -al /dev/disk/by-id/ will show you what you need anyway. – Wildcard Nov 15 '15 at 18:59
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    This also worked for me on a debian live boot system, while all the other tools are not available from scratch, without setting up internet and apt-getting them. – hoijui Sep 30 '17 at 8:58

Easiest way I know (does not require root):

inxi -Dplxx

That outputs all disks, their serials, and any extra info. -p adds partitions. -l adds labels. -u adds UUID for the partitions.

Plus it's a lot easier to remember, heh.


inxi -Dxx
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 810.2GB (42.9% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sdc model: ST3160827AS size: 160.0GB serial: 5MT2HMH6
           ID-2: /dev/sdb model: WDC_WD3200JD size: 320.1GB serial: WD-WCAMR1302926
           ID-3: /dev/sda model: ST380817AS size: 80.0GB serial: 4MR2EWBE
           ID-4: /dev/sdd model: ST3250824AS size: 250.1GB serial: 9ND08GKX

Note that this filters out optical drives. To see optical data:

inxi -Dxxd 
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 810.2GB (42.9% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sdc model: ST3160827AS size: 160.0GB serial: 5MT2HMH6
           ID-2: /dev/sdb model: WDC_WD3200JD size: 320.1GB serial: WD-WCAMR1302926
           ID-3: /dev/sda model: ST380817AS size: 80.0GB serial: 4MR2EWBE
           ID-4: /dev/sdd model: ST3250824AS size: 250.1GB serial: 9ND08GKX
           Optical-1: /dev/sr0 model: LITE-ON DVDRW SOHW-1693S
           rev: KS09 dev-links: dvd,dvdrw
           Features: speed: 48x multisession: yes
           audio: yes dvd: yes rw: cd-r,cd-rw,dvd-r state: running
           Optical-2: /dev/sr1 model: LITE-ON LTR-52327S rev: QS0C dev-links: cdrom,cdrw
           Features: speed: 52x multisession: yes
           audio: yes dvd: no rw: cd-r,cd-rw state: running

Note that on my Debian system, lsblk does not show anything for serials, whether as root or user. Which is why inxi uses a much more reliable method to get that data.

lsblk --nodeps -o name,serial

lsblk --version
lsblk from util-linux 2.25.2

As you can see, to lsblk, it thinks that an optical drive and floppy drive are also disks, which in a sense they are, though not really, since they don't become disks until a disk is inserted. And it shows nothing for serial, it also by the way shows nothing for other values, like label. Definitely a bug since this data is available to the system, that's where inxi gets it, direct.

  • 2
    The last part of your post is wrong, lsblk does not think they're disks, it simply lists all block devices. See my updated post for a clarification. As to not showing information - this is because you're using debian which is notorius for their lsblk behaviour. It works absolutely fine on archlinux so definitely not a bug. Also, inxi is just a bash script that uses other commands to get that info; it doesn't get anything "directly". – don_crissti Nov 15 '15 at 19:11
  • Technically correct, but in the realm of normal speech, disks is a decent way to communicate this concept. A behavior failing is of course a bug, it's irrelevant what causes is, so your comment that a buggy lsblk isn't a bug makes basically no sense. Whether the bug is debian created or not doesn't alter the fact it's a bug. Directly means without mediation, ie, from the file system, which is where inxi gets serial information. An answer should reflect the overall gnu/linux landscape, so saying for example lsblk works except in debian/buntu has no value since most users will see it not work. – Lizardx Nov 15 '15 at 20:59
  • This part of the answer is incorrect: lsblk, it thinks that an optical drive and floppy drive are also disks. In fact, lsblk lists block devices (which include hard disks, SSDs, floppy disk drives, optical disk drives, LVM logical volumes etc.), and lsblk doesn't distinguish between disks and non-disks. – pts Apr 23 at 22:31
  • FYI on Debian buster, lsblk --nodeps -o name,serial does display the serial numbers, I can't reproduce the bug. – pts Apr 23 at 22:34
  • lsblk is improving, but there are still some subtle issues, I'm still not going to use it as a primary data source for tools I make, but I am using it now as a secondary source, but we've already encountered inexplicable bugs using it, working on one now. – Lizardx Apr 23 at 23:58

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