System Administration Guide: Devices and File Systems

Rules for Input to format Commands

When you use the format utility, you need to provide various kinds of information. This section describes the rules for this information. For information on using format's help facility when you specify data, see Getting Help on the format Utility.

Specifying Numbers to format Commands

Several places in the format utility require number as input. You must either specify the appropriate data or select a number from a list of choices. In either case, the help facility causes format to display the upper and lower limits of the number expected. Simply enter the appropriate number. The number is assumed to be in decimal format unless a base is explicitly specified as part of the number (for example, 0x for hexadecimal).

The following are examples of integer input:

Enter number of passes [2]: 34 
Enter number of passes [34] Oxf

Specifying Block Numbers to format Commands

Whenever you are required to specify a disk block number, there are two ways to do so:

You can specify the information as an integer that represents the logical block number. You can specify the number in any base, but the default is decimal. The maximum operator (a dollar sign, $) can also be used here so that format utility can select the appropriate value. Logical block format is used by the SunOS disk drivers in error messages.

The other way to specify a block number is by using cylinder/head/sector format. In this method, you must specify explicitly the three logical components of the block number: the cylinder, head, and sector values. These values are still logical. However, they allow you to define regions of the disk that are related to the layout of the media.

If any of the cylinder/head/sector numbers are not specified, the value is assumed to be zero. You can also use the maximum operator in place of any of the numbers. Then, the format utility will select the appropriate value. The following are some examples of cylinder, head, and sector values:

Enter defective block number: 34/2/3
Enter defective block number: 23/1/
Enter defective block number: 457//
Enter defective block number: 12345
Enter defective block number: Oxabcd
Enter defective block number: 334/$/2
Enter defective block number: 892//$

The format utility always displays block numbers in both formats. Also, the help facility shows you the upper and lower limits of the block number expected, in both formats.

Specifying format Command Names

Command names are needed as input whenever the format utility displays a menu prompt. You can abbreviate the command names, as long as what you type is sufficient to uniquely identify the command desired.

For example, use p to access the partition menu from the format menu. Then, type p to display the current slice table.

format> p
        0      - change `0' partition
        1      - change `1' partition
        2      - change `2' partition
        3      - change `3' partition
        4      - change `4' partition
        5      - change `5' partition
        6      - change `6' partition
        7      - change `7' partition
        select - select a predefined table
        modify - modify a predefined partition table
        name   - name the current table
        print  - display the current table
        label  - write partition map and label to the disk
partition> p

Specifying Disk Names to format Commands

At certain points in the format utility, you must name something. In these cases, you are free to specify any string you want for the name. If the name has white space in it, the entire name must be enclosed in double quotation marks ("). Otherwise, only the first word of the name is used.

For example, if you want to identify a specific partition table for a disk, you can use the name subcommand that is available from the partition menu:

partition> name
Enter table name (remember quotes): "new disk3"