How To Manage Disk Partitions Using Parted Command

We all knows disk partitions is one of the important task for Linux administrator. They can not survive without knowing this.

In worst cases, at least once in a week they would get this request from dependent team but in big environment admins used to get this request very often.

You may ask why we need to use parted instead of fdisk? What is the difference? It’s a good question, i will give you more details about this.

  • Parted allow users to create a partition when the disk size is larger than 2TB but fdisk doesn’t allow.
  • Parted is a higher-level tool than fdisk.
  • It supports multiple partition table which includes GPT.
  • It allows users to resize the partition but while shrinking the partition it does not worked as expected and i got error most of the time so, i would advise users to do not shrink the partition.

What Is Parted

Parted is a program to manipulate disk partitions. It supports multiple partition table formats, including MS-DOS and GPT.

It allows user to create, delete, resize, shrink, move and copy partitions, reorganizing disk usage, and copying data to new hard disks. GParted is a GUI frontend of parted.

How To Install Parted

Parted package is pre-installed on most of the Linux distribution. If not, use the following commands to install parted package.

For Debian/Ubuntu, use APT-GET Command or APT Command to install parted.

$ sudo apt install parted

For RHEL/CentOS, use YUM Command to install parted.

$ sudo yum install parted

For Fedora, use DNF Command to install parted.

$ sudo dnf install parted

For Arch Linux, use Pacman Command to install parted.

$ sudo pacman -S parted

For openSUSE, use Zypper Command to install parted.

$ sudo zypper in parted

How To Launch Parted

The below parted command picks the /dev/sda disk automatically, because this is the first hard drive in this system.

$ sudo parted
GNU Parted 3.2
Using /dev/sda
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted)

Also we can go to the corresponding disk by selecting the appropriate disk using below command.

(parted) select /dev/sdb                                                  
Using /dev/sdb
(parted)

If you wants to go to particular disk, use the following format. In our case we are going to use /dev/sdb.

$ sudo parted [Device Name]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.2
Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted)

How To List Available Disks Using Parted Command

If you don’t know what are the disks are added in your system. Just run the following command, which will display all the available disks name, and other useful information such as Disk Size, Model, Sector Size, Partition Table, Disk Flags, and partition information.

$ sudo parted -l
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 32.2GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  32.2GB  32.2GB  primary  ext4         boot


Error: /dev/sdb: unrecognised disk label
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)                                           
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: unknown
Disk Flags: 

The above error message clearly shows there is no valid disk label for the disk /dev/sdb. Hence, we have to set disk label first as it doesn’t take any label automatically.

How To Create Disk Partition Using Parted Command

Parted allows us to create primary or extended partition. Procedure is same for both but make sure you have to pass an appropriate partition type like primary or extended while creating the partition.

To perform this activity, we have added a new 50GB hard disk in the system, which falls under /dev/sdb.

In two ways we can create a partition, one is detailed way and other one is single command. In the below example we are going to add one primary partition in detailed way. Make a note, we should set disk label first as it doesn’t take any label automatically.

We are going to create a new partition with 10GB of disk in the below example.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb
GNU Parted 3.2
Using /dev/sdb
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) mklabel msdos
(parted) unit GB                                                          
(parted) mkpart                                                           
Partition type?  primary/extended? primary
File system type?  [ext2]? ext4                                           
Start? 0.00GB                                                             
End? 10.00GB                                                              
(parted) print                                                            
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      0.00GB  10.0GB  10.0GB  primary  ext4         lba

(parted) quit
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

Alternatively we can create a new partition using single parted command.

We are going to create second partition with 10GB of disk in the below example.

$ sudo parted [Disk Name] [mkpart] [Partition Type] [Filesystem Type] [Partition Start Size] [Partition End Size]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb mkpart primary ext4 10.0GB 20.0GB
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

How To Create A Partition With All Remaining Space

You have created all required partitions except /home and you wants to use all the remaining space to /home partition, how to do that? use the following command to create a partition.

The below command create a new partition with 33.7GB, which starts from 20GB and ends with 53GB. 100% end size will allow users to create a new partition with remaining all available space in the disk.

$ sudo parted [Disk Name] [mkpart] [Partition Type] [Filesystem Type] [Partition Start Size] [Partition End Size]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb mkpart primary ext4 20.0GB 100%
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

How To List All Partitions using Parted

As you aware of, we have created three partitions in the above step and if you want to list all available partitions on the disk use the print command.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 3      20.0GB  53.7GB  33.7GB  primary  ext4

How To Create A File System On Partition Using mkfs

Users can create a file system on the partition using mkfs. Follow the below procedure to create a filesystem using mkfs.

$ sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb1
mke2fs 1.43.4 (31-Jan-2017)
Creating filesystem with 2621440 4k blocks and 656640 inodes
Filesystem UUID: 415cf467-634c-4403-8c9f-47526bbaa381
Superblock backups stored on blocks: 
	32768, 98304, 163840, 229376, 294912, 819200, 884736, 1605632

Allocating group tables: done                            
Writing inode tables: done                            
Creating journal (16384 blocks): done
Writing superblocks and filesystem accounting information: done 

Do the same for other partitions as well.

$ sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb2
$ sudo mkfs.ext4 /dev/sdb3

Create necessary folders and mount the partitions on that.

$ sudo mkdir /par1 /par2 /par3

$ sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /par1
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb2 /par2
$ sudo mount /dev/sdb3 /par3

Run the following command to check newly mounted partitions.

$ df -h /dev/sdb[1-3]
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1       9.2G   37M  8.6G   1% /par1
/dev/sdb2       9.2G   37M  8.6G   1% /par2
/dev/sdb3        31G   49M   30G   1% /par3

How To Check Free Space On The Disk

Run the following command to check available free space on the disk. This disk has 25.7GB of free disk space.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print free
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
        32.3kB  1049kB  1016kB           Free Space
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 3      20.0GB  28.0GB  8001MB  primary  ext4
        28.0GB  53.7GB  25.7GB           Free Space

How To Resize Partition Using Parted Command

Parted allow users to resize the partitions to big and smaller size. As i told in the beginning of the article, do not shrink partitions because this leads to face disk error issue.

Run the following command to check disk partitions and available free space. I could see 25.7GB of free space on this disk.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print free
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
        32.3kB  1049kB  1016kB           Free Space
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 3      20.0GB  28.0GB  8001MB  primary  ext4
        28.0GB  53.7GB  25.7GB           Free Space

Run the following command to resize the partition. We are going to resize (increase) the partition 3 end size from 28GB to 33GB.

$ sudo parted [Disk Name] [resizepart] [Partition Number] [Partition New End Size]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb resizepart 3 33.0GB
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

Run the following command to verify whether this partition is increased or not. Yes, i could see the partition 3 got increased from 8GB to 13GB.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print                                      
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 3      20.0GB  33.0GB  13.0GB  primary  ext4

Resize the file system to grow the resized partition.

$ sudo resize2fs /dev/sdb3
resize2fs 1.43.4 (31-Jan-2017)
Resizing the filesystem on /dev/sdb3 to 3173952 (4k) blocks.
The filesystem on /dev/sdb3 is now 3173952 (4k) blocks long.

Finally, check whether the mount point has been successfully increased or not.

$ df -h /dev/sdb[1-3]
Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sdb1       9.2G  5.1G  3.6G  59% /par1
/dev/sdb2       9.2G  2.1G  6.6G  24% /par2
/dev/sdb3        12G  1.1G   11G  10% /par3

How To Remove Partition Using Parted Command

We can simple remove the unused partition (if the partition is no longer use) using rm command. See the procedure below. We are going to remove partition 3 /dev/sdb3 in this example.

$ sudo parted [Disk Name] [rm] [Partition Number]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb rm 3
Warning: Partition /dev/sdb3 is being used. Are you sure you want to continue?
Yes/No? Yes                                                               
Error: Partition(s) 3 on /dev/sdb 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
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

We can check the same using below command. Yes, i could see that partition 3 has been removed successfully.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4

How To Set/Change Partition Flag Using Parted Command

We can easily change the partition flag using below command. We are going to set lvm flag to partition 2 /dev/sdb2.

$ sudo parted [Disk Name] [set] [Partition Number] [Flags Name] [Flag On/Off]

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb set 2 lvm on
Information: You may need to update /etc/fstab.

We can verify this modification by listing disk partitions.

$ sudo parted /dev/sdb print
Model: ATA VBOX HARDDISK (scsi)
Disk /dev/sdb: 53.7GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  10.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4
 2      10.0GB  20.0GB  9999MB  primary  ext4         lvm

To know list of available flags, use the following command.

$ (parted) help set
  set NUMBER FLAG STATE                    change the FLAG on partition NUMBER

	NUMBER is the partition number used by Linux.  On MS-DOS disk labels, the primary partitions number from 1 to 4, logical partitions from 5 onwards.
        FLAG is one of: boot, root, swap, hidden, raid, lvm, lba, hp-service, palo, prep, msftres, bios_grub, atvrecv, diag, legacy_boot, msftdata, irst, esp
        STATE is one of: on, off

If you want to know the available options in parted, just navigate to help page.

$ sudo parted
GNU Parted 3.2
Using /dev/sda
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(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
(parted) quit                                                             

Magesh Maruthamuthu

Love to play with all Linux distribution

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