There are many utilities, such as fdisk, cdisk, exists to partition the hard drive in Linux and Unix-like systems. In this article, we will focus on how to use the parted utility to create a partition and manage disk partitions (resizing, deleting partitions) in Linux.
What is Parted?
GNU Parted is a command line suite to create and manipulate partition tables in Linux and Unix systems. Using Parted, one can create, resize, delete partitions, reorganize disk usage, copy data and create disk images.
Parted contains a library, libparted, as well as a command-line frontend, parted, which can also be used in scripts. Parted is designed to minimize the chance data loss. It performs many safety checks in order to avoid data loss in unforeseen situations, for example power failure.
Parted is free and open source program that ships with modern Linux operating systems by default.
Install Parted in Linux
Parted comes installed with all Linux distributions. In case if parted is not available in your distribution, you can run the following commands to get it installed.
To install Parted on Alpine Linux, run:
$ sudo apk add parted
On Arch Linux, EndeavourOS, and Manjaro Linux, run:
$ sudo pacman -S parted
For Debian/Ubuntu and its derivatives, run the following command.
$ sudo apt -y install parted
Fedora, RHEL, AlmaLinux, and Rocky Linux:
$ sudo dnf install parted -y
Choosing The Right Device
The first thing to note before using parted is which disk you are going to partition. When you run the parted command without passing the disk name as the argument, it will take the first block device it finds and use it.
$ sudo parted GNU Parted 3.2 Using /dev/sda Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands. (parted)
Heads Up: You should either use sudo or switch as root user and run the parted command.
To use the particular device, you have to pass the device (E.g.
/dev/sdc) as the argument to the parted command.
$ sudo parted /dev/sdc GNU Parted 3.2 Using /dev/sdc Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands. (parted)
Alternatively from inside the parted utility, you can switch between different drives using the
(parted) select /dev/sdb
(parted) select /dev/sdc
Print Parted Help Section
To get the list of parted commands, run the
(parted) help align-check TYPE N check partition N for TYPE(min|opt) alignment help [COMMAND] print general help, or help on COMMAND mklabel,mktable LABEL-TYPE create a new disklabel (partition table) mkpart PART-TYPE [FS-TYPE] START END make a partition name NUMBER NAME name partition NUMBER as NAME print [devices|free|list,all|NUMBER] display the partition table, available devices, free space, all found partitions, or a particular partition quit exit program rescue START END rescue a lost partition near START and END resizepart NUMBER END resize partition NUMBER rm NUMBER delete partition NUMBER select DEVICE choose the device to edit disk_set FLAG STATE change the FLAG on selected device disk_toggle [FLAG] toggle the state of FLAG on selected device set NUMBER FLAG STATE change the FLAG on partition NUMBER toggle [NUMBER [FLAG]] toggle the state of FLAG on partition NUMBER unit UNIT set the default unit to UNIT version display the version number and copyright information of GNU Parted
Each of these commands has a separate help section. For example, if you want to get the supporting options for the
(parted) help print
Print The Partition Table
If you wish to see the partition table for all the available block devices run the following command from the terminal.
$ sudo parted -l
To see the partition table within the parted utility, use the
To get which partition scheme of the disk, you can run either the
$ sudo parted /dev/sdc print | grep -i table Partition Table: gpt
You can get the block device names alone by passing
"devices" as an argument to print command.
(parted) print devices
You can get the amount of free space left on the disk by passing
"free" as an argument to
(parted) print free Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi) Disk /dev/sdc: 21.5GB Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B Partition Table: gpt Disk Flags: Number Start End Size File system Name Flags 17.4kB 21.5GB 21.5GB Free Space
To print all the device information within parted, pass
"list,all" as an argument to the
(parted) print list,all
Before creating partitions using the drive, the drive should be labeled to use a particular partition scheme. If you run the print command on an unlabeled disk you can see the ERROR.
Error: /dev/sdc: unrecognised disk label
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdc: 21.5GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: unknown
To create a label you can use either
mktable command. If you have no idea about the list of supported labels, run "
help mklabel" or "
I am going to label this drive to use the GPT scheme. If you need an MBR partition scheme, use msdos.
(parted) mklabel gpt
Now if you run the
Caution: Before running this command, make sure you are using the correct disk. Because this command can wipe out the entire partitions in a disk with its data.
Create New Partitions With Parted
To create partitions, you have to use the
Before running the mkpart command, take a look at the help information which will give the details about the list of options.
I am going to create two partitions of size 10GB each. Let's create the first partition.
(parted) mkpart Partition name? ? project File system type? [ext2]? ext4 Start? 1 End? 10GB
This step will be interactive.
- Choose a name for the partition.
- Choose the file system type. By default, it is set to
- Choose the starting location of the disk. You can specify in terms of MB, GB. Here I have given as 1, so it will be starting from 1MB.
- Choose the end location of the disk. Here, 10GB is given.
(parted) print Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi) Disk /dev/sdc: 21.5GB Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B Partition Table: gpt Disk Flags: Number Start End Size File system Name Flags 1 1049kB 10.0GB 9999MB project
Let's create the second partition. You can combine all the interactive inputs and pass them as arguments to the
(parted) mkpart project1 ext4 10001MB 19999MB
The partitions you created are not yet saved. You have to use the "
partprobe" command to inform the kernel about the partition table changes you made.
Exit out of parted utility by typing "
quit" and run the
$ sudo partprobe
You can remove the partitions using the
rm command. The
rm command accepts the partition number as an argument and deletes that partition.
If the partition is active and already has a file system mounted, then it is best practice to clean up the data first, unmount the file system and then delete the partition.
If you try to delete the partition when in use, you will be prompted with a confirmation to remove the partition and it will throw you an error saying the changes will be effective post-reboot. Choose "
(parted) rm 1 Warning: Partition /dev/sdc1 is being used. Are you sure you want to continue? Yes/No? yes Error: Partition(s) 1 on /dev/sdc have been written, but we have been unable to inform the kernel of the change, probably because it/they are in use. As a result, the old partition(s) will remain in use. You should reboot now before making further changes. Ignore/Cancel? ignore
Tagging Name To The Partition
You can use the "
name" command to rename or assign a name to the partition. The
name command accepts the partition number as the first argument followed by the new name.
(parted) name 2 p1
Here I am changing the name of partition 2 from project1 to p1.
Resize The Partition
You can shrink or extend the partition using the
resizepart command. The command
resizepart takes the partition ID as an argument. It will ask you what should be the size(End?).
Let’s shrink the first partition I created. The partition ID is 1 and the partition size is 10GB. Here I am shrinking the partition to 5GB.
(parted) resizepart 1
End? [10.0GB]? 5 GB
Warning: Shrinking a partition can cause data loss, are you sure you want to continue?
I have my second partition with 5GB space and I wish to add 2 more GB and make it 7GB.
(parted) resizepart 2 End? [15.0GB]? 17GB
Now if I print my partition table my first partition is shrinked to 5GB and the second partition is extended to 7GB.
Number Start End Size File system Name Flags 1 1049kB 5000MB 4999MB ext4 p1 2 10.0GB 17.0GB 7000MB ext4 p2
Modify Partition Flags
set command, you can assign a flag to the partition. To get the list of supported flags, run the following
(parted) help set
Let’s say if you want to tag a partition as a swap partition, you have to run the command as follows
set [partition name] [flag] [ON/OFF] (parted) set 1 swap ON
Create File System
Till now you have learned how to work with parted to do different disk partition operations. As you may already know, you need to format the partition and mount it to start using the partition.
You can check the partitions created by running the
Let’s create a file system of type
/dev/sdc1 by running the following command.
$ mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdc1
Now mount the file system in any directory as you wish and use the partition.
$ mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/
$ df -h /dev/sdc1 Filesystem Size Used Avail Use% Mounted on /dev/sdc1 4.6G 19M 4.3G 1% /mnt
In this article, we have discussed how to use parted utility to create and manage disk partitions with Parted program in Linux. We also looked how to format the newly created partitions with ext4 filesystem and mount it in our system.
Starting from RHEL version 8, Red Hat is suggesting to use parted utility instead of fdisk. So If you are someone preparing for RHCSA certification then this article will be of great use to you.
For Linux desktop users, there is a GUI version of parted called GParted. We will talk about Gparted in detail in a separate article soon. Stay tuned!