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Disk Partitioning in Linux

Creating and deleting partitions in Linux is a regular practice because storage devices (such as hard drives and USB drives) must be structured in some way before they can be used. In most cases, large storage devices are divided into separate sections called partitions. Partitioning also allows you to divide your hard drive into isolated sections, where each section behaves as its own hard drive. Partitioning is particularly useful if you run multiple operating systems.

Creating a Disk Partition in Linux

This procedure describes how to partition a storage disk in Linux using the parted command.

Procedure

  1. List the partitions using the parted -l command to identify the storage device you want to partition. Typically, the first hard disk (/dev/sda or /dev/vda) will contain the operating system, so look for another disk to find the one you want. For example:

    sudo parted -l
    Model: ATA RevuAhn_850X1TU5 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/vdc: 512GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: msdos
    Disk Flags:
    
    Number  Start   End    Size   Type     File system  Flags
     1      1049kB  525MB  524MB  primary  ext4         boot
     2      525MB   512GB  512GB  primary               lvm
  2. Open the storage device. Use the parted command to begin working with the selected storage device. For example:

    sudo parted /dev/vdc
    GNU Parted 3.3
    Using /dev/vdc
    Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
    (parted)

    Be sure to indicate the specific device you want to partition. If you just enter parted without a device name, it will randomly select a storage device to modify.

  3. Set the partition table type to gpt, then enter Yes to accept it.

    (parted) mklabel gpt
    Warning: the existing disk label on /dev/vdc will be destroyed
    and all data on this disk will be lost. Do you want to continue?
    Yes/No? Yes

    The mklabel and mktable commands are both used for making a partition table on a storage device. At the time of writing, the supported partition tables are: aix, amiga, bsd, dvh, gpt, mac, ms-dos, pc98, sun, atari, and loop. Use help mklabel to get a list of supported partition tables. Remember mklabel will not make a partition, rather it will make a partition table.

  4. Review the partition table of the storage device.

    (parted) print
    Model: Virtio Block Device (virtblk)
    Disk /dev/vdc: 1396MB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    Disk Flags:
    Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
  5. Create a new partition using the following command. For example, 1396 MB on partition 0:

    (parted) mkpart primary 0 1396MB
    
    Warning: The resulting partition is not properly aligned for best performance
    Ignore/Cancel? I
    
    (parted) print
    Model: Virtio Block Device (virtblk)
    Disk /dev/vdc: 1396MB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    Disk Flags:
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
     1      17.4kB  1396MB  1396MB               primary

    Providing a partition name under GPT is a must; in the above example, primary is the name, not the partition type. In a GPT partition table, the partition type is used as partition name.

  6. Quit using the quit command. Changes are automatically saved when you quit parted.

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

Help command for creating a new partition

To get help on how to make a new partition, type: help mkpart.

(parted) help mkpart
  mkpart PART-TYPE [FS-TYPE] START END     make a partition

        PART-TYPE is one of: primary, logical, extended
        FS-TYPE is one of: udf, btrfs, nilfs2, ext4, ext3, ext2, fat32, fat16, hfsx, hfs+, hfs, jfs, swsusp,
        linux-swap(v1), linux-swap(v0), ntfs, reiserfs, hp-ufs, sun-ufs, xfs, apfs2, apfs1, asfs, amufs5,
        amufs4, amufs3, amufs2, amufs1, amufs0, amufs, affs7, affs6, affs5, affs4, affs3, affs2, affs1,
        affs0, linux-swap, linux-swap(new), linux-swap(old)
        START and END are disk locations, such as 4GB or 10%.  Negative values count from the end of the
        disk.  For example, -1s specifies exactly the last sector.

        'mkpart' makes a partition without creating a new file system on the partition.  FS-TYPE may be
        specified to set an appropriate partition ID.
  • Setting filesystem type (FS-TYPE) will not create an ext4 filesystem on /dev/vdc1. You still have to create the ext4 filesystem with mkfs.ext4.

  • A DOS partition table’s partition types are primary, logical, and extended.

  • Providing a partition name under GPT is a must. In a GPT partition table, the partition type is used as the partition name.