I've have both Ubuntu and Arch installed on my computer, and want to change the labels of the / and /home partitions (four in total), to make it clear which is which. Can this potentially break anything?

The only thing that I can think of is /etc/fstab; this shouldn't be an issue in my case, since it defines partitions by UUID, not label.

  • Take a look at your grub.conf for UUIDs. – Cyrus Jul 17 '14 at 5:34
  • @Cyrus I don't have a file called grub.conf on either install, but I'm not sure if I was unclear. I mean to say that in my /etc/fstab, I've already defined partitions based on UUID, and not labels, so I don't envisage changing the labels to be a problem for this file. – Sparhawk Jul 17 '14 at 6:26
  • grub.conf and menu.lst, if they're installed, will be under /boot. – Mark Plotnick Jul 17 '14 at 6:45
  • @MarkPlotnick Grub is installed through my Ubuntu system. I can see a file now (slightly different to the comment) at /boot/grub/grub.cfg. No menu.lst though. FWIW /boot/grub/grub.cfg contains numerous references to UUIDs. One of my partitions is called "root"; I can see numerous references to "root", but I think at least some are to a literal root, not to my label. – Sparhawk Jul 17 '14 at 7:08
  • Sorry, I misremembered. Yes, grub.cfg would be under /boot, grub.conf (if present) would be in /etc. – Mark Plotnick Jul 17 '14 at 8:18

Hard drives usually don't have labels, it's filesystems that do. Here are the main places where a filesystem label is likely to come up:

  • In /etc/fstab.
  • In your bootloader configuration (e.g. /boot/grub/grub.cfg). If your Grub configuration is automatically generated, run update-grub after changing your labels and verify that the result is what you wanted.
  • Mostly for removable devices: in the configuration of automounting tools (in custom udev rules, as directory name under /media or /run/media/user_name (if not created on the fly), in /etc/pmount.*, in /etc/auto.misc and files referenced from /etc/auto.master, etc.).

As far as I know, labels aren't that much used in the unix world, so there isn't any danger in changing them. Keep using the UUIDs and you should be fine.

  • Thanks for the answer. I'll leave the question open for a few days to see what other responses I get, since it's hard to definitively say there is no danger, because we don't know of a specific example that counters this. (I mean that is a fault of the question, not your response.) – Sparhawk Jul 17 '14 at 6:28

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