cfdisk is a full-screen, curses-based version of the fdisk partitioning tool found on GNU/Linux systems. Unlike the command-line based fdisk program, cfdisk has a relatively intuitive text-mode menu for modifying partition tables. Like fdisk, it limits itself to editing the partition table and leaves the actual disk formatting to other programs. Unlike GNU parted, cfdisk does not support nondestructive resizing of partitions, only creation and destruction. It understands primary partitions and DOS extended partitions, but not BSD disklabel partitions.
cfdisk can create any type of partition that fdisk can, including all of the FAT variants, Linux data and swap partitions, and OS/2 HPFS/Windows NTFS partitions. However, setting the partition type is a trivial operation that is meaningless on its own. It does not have any effect until the partition is formatted with the appropriate filesystem. So, for example, although cfdisk can mark a partition as being NTFS, there is no tool for formatting NTFS filesytems under Linux, and so an NTFS partition cannot really be created under Linux. This distinction is particularly acute when considering the various Linux filesystems, as the partition type for ext2, ext3, reiserfs, JFS, XFS, and reiser4 is the same. Newer versions of cfdisk detect the filesystem type and display it in the partition listing.
In general, cfdisk is a capable replacement for the original fdisk program. It is more user-friendly than plain fdisk while retaining most of its power. However, it lacks the advanced features of parted and the useful GUI of QTParted.
This writeup is copyright 2003-2004 D.G. Roberge and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike licence. Details can be found at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ .