O’Reilly Network: Dividing Your Data

“In the next few articles, I’ll look at how FreeBSD stores data
on your hard disk. To store data on a hard drive, the drive must
first be divided into logical storage units, and each unit must be
assigned an address. The file system will save data to these
storage units and keep track of which storage units contain which

“Like any other version of Unix, FreeBSD uses “inode” (index
number) tables to record where files are physically located on
disk. Before any inode tables can be created, the disk storage
units must be created and given addresses. Let’s summarize the
steps involved in this process:

  • The fdisk utility is used to view and create the BIOS partition
    table which defines up to four disk “slices.”
  • The disklabel utility is used to view and create the Unix
    partition table which defines up to eight Unix “partitions.”
  • The newfs utility is used to actually create a “filesystem” on
    each Unix partition.
  • Every filesystem will then maintain its own inode table.”

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