Partition table types

What is the proper partition table type that should be used for Linux/EOS, when it comes to thumb drives, or external drives? It would also be interesting to know what the heck all the various types are used for.

For installing EnOS on fairly modern x86_64 devices, the majority of the time gpt is what you want.

The only other one you might need would be msdos if for some ARM devices and older x86_64 devices. For thumb drives containing data only, msdos is usually used.



Unless you want multiple partitions, most thumb drives dont have a partition table. The device itself is usually formatted.

1 Like

Interesting. Then I have been doing an un necessary step all this time. I have always made partition tables for drives. I guess I thought it was necessary.

It doesn’t hurt to have a partition table on a thumb drive in most cases. Though there are some niche devices that can’t read them.

On an external hard drive, a partition table would be much more common and typically expected.

I agree. Except I only know a couple.
PS–someone once told me to format my external drive (linux backup) to GPT. I always wanted the cross-platform Fat32 option just in case I had to recover stuff in W10…superstitious. But I took the person’s advice and I’m not sure it was the right decision, but that’s where all my stuff is…
amiga - no clue edit: for games?
aix -also no clue what it is and why you would need it
bsd - they are unix/linux as far as install have no idea was a ‘bsd’ format is either
dvh - exclusively for the .??? file that a dvd movie actually is? see: also no clue
gpt - linux gold standard
mac -gotta be for a Mac installation
msdos - I think this is inclusive and retro and accommodating like fat but not certain; a MS filesystem to be sure
pc98 - 98 and before 486 formatting? see: no clue
sun - sun microsystems are a proprietary independent for industrial applications that run Solaris or something?

If this was a pop quiz I’d fail, but I like your question all the same…

I would fail the quiz too, I don’t really use any partition tables except GPT.

I asked a chat bot. It seems the bot would get a much better score on the quiz than we would:

Certainly! Here’s a brief overview of each of these partition table types and their typical uses:

  1. Amiga (amiga):

    • Use: This is the partition table used by Amiga computers.
    • Context: The Amiga was a popular family of personal computers released in the 1980s and 1990s. Its partition table is specific to the AmigaOS and its variants.
  2. AIX (aix):

    • Use: AIX is IBM’s Unix operating system, and this partition table is used on systems running AIX.
    • Context: Typically used on IBM’s POWER architecture systems, it supports the AIX operating system.
  3. BSD (bsd):

    • Use: BSD partition tables are used by Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) Unix operating systems.
    • Context: Systems like FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD use this type of partitioning scheme. It’s designed for Unix-like operating systems derived from the original BSD Unix.
  4. DVH (dvh):

    • Use: DVH stands for Disk Volume Header, used on SGI (Silicon Graphics Inc.) systems.
    • Context: SGI workstations and servers, which often run IRIX, use this partitioning scheme. It’s not exclusive to DVD movie files but rather to SGI disk volumes.
  5. GPT (gpt):

    • Use: The GUID Partition Table is a modern partitioning scheme used by contemporary computers.
    • Context: GPT is part of the UEFI standard, replacing the older MBR partitioning scheme. It supports larger disks and more partitions than MBR.
  6. Mac (mac):

    • Use: This partition table is used by classic Macintosh computers.
    • Context: Older Mac systems before the switch to Intel processors and the adoption of GPT. Systems running Mac OS 9 and earlier versions typically use this.
  7. MSDOS (msdos):

    • Use: The MS-DOS partition table (also known as MBR or Master Boot Record) is used by many older operating systems, including DOS and early versions of Windows.
    • Context: It’s one of the most widely used partitioning schemes historically, supporting up to 2TB disks and four primary partitions.
  8. PC98 (pc98):

    • Use: The PC-98 partition table is used by NEC’s PC-9800 series computers.
    • Context: These were Japanese personal computers popular in the 1980s and 1990s, running various operating systems, including customized versions of MS-DOS and Windows.
  9. Sun (sun):

    • Use: Sun partition tables are used by Sun Microsystems’ systems.
    • Context: These systems typically run Solaris, Sun’s Unix operating system. The partition table is specific to the hardware and software environments of Sun workstations and servers.

Each of these partition table types is tailored to the needs and architectures of specific systems, reflecting the diversity of computer hardware and operating systems over the past several decades.

It seems like most of those other ones are outdated; probably you would never use one unless you were trying to restore a vintage machine or something.


I think you may be a little confused GPT is a partition type like MSDOS. Fat is a file system that goes on top of the partition. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that for any drive that is 1TB or more you want to have a GPT partition type over an MSDOS.