dosfstools consists of the programs mkfs.fat, fsck.fat and fatlabel to create, check and label file systems of the FAT family. The dosfstools are licensed under the GNU GPL version 3 or later. See the file COPYING for details.

Build Requirements

dosfstools recommends libudev. It is used in mkfs.fat to collect additional information about the device to format in order to refuse potentially unsafe operations without additional confirmation.

The test suite requires the tool xxd (available as part of the vim distribution).


dosfstools are built using an autoconf/automake system, so the standard method applies:

make install

You need to have superuser privileges in order to install into the standard system wide locations.

The ./configure script has an option --enable-compat-symlinks that will configure the build to symlink older names of the tools to the current ones on installation. These are dosfsck, fsck.msdos and fsck.vfat for fsck.fat, mkdosfs, mkfs.msdos and mkfs.vfat for mkfs.fat and dosfslabel for fatlabel.

Running the test suite

The test suite can be run with make check after configuring. Note that if xxd isn't available, all tests will be skipped and nothing actually tested.

During the tests temporary files of multiple GB in size will be created, but the actual data content is not more than a few MB. The operating system and the filesystem the tests are executed on should support sparse files, otherwise the tests will be resource intensive.

Building from the VCS repository

If you are working directly from a git clone of the official dosfstools repository, you will find that you can not run ./configure straight away because it, like other autogenerated files for the build system, is not included in the repository.

First, autoconf and automake have to be installed. Then you can run autoreconf -i to generate all the required files.