Linux - Disk Partition (logical disk)


Hard disks can be divided into one or more logical disks called partition. This division is described in the partition table found in sector 0 of the disk.

Windows Disk



The partition is the last part of the disk name.

For example, /dev/sda1 is the first partition on the first hard disk in the system.

See also:

  • Linux kernel documentation (the Documentation/devices.txt file).


The partition data are saved in a partition table found in sector 0 of the disk.

See File System - Partition table (Sector 0)


Linux needs at least one partition, namely for its root file system. It can use swap files and/or swap partitions, but the latter are more efficient. So, usually one will want a second Linux partition dedicated as swap partition.

On Intel compatible hardware, the BIOS that boots the system can often only access the first 1024 cylinders of the disk.

For this reason people with large disks often create a third partition, just a few MB large, typically mounted on /boot, to store the kernel image and a few auxiliary files needed at boot time, so as to make sure that this stuff is accessible to the BIOS. There may be reasons of security, ease of administration and backup, or testing, to use more than the minimum number of partitions.


partition type can be one of:

  • “primary”,
  • or “extended”.

Most partitions are primary partitions. If you have more than one partition, the first usable partition (one that can hold data) is almost always a primary.


Partition utility that modify the partition table


If you want to create, remove, or resize a partition, the device can not be in use (partitions can not be mounted, and swap space can not be enabled). The easiest way to achieve this it to boot your system in rescue mode.

with parted

(parted) mkpart
Partition type?  primary/extended? primary
File system type?  [ext2]?
Start? 34.4GB
End? 68.7GB


  • part-type is one of: primary, extended, logical. Extended and logical are only used for msdos and mips disk labels.
  • fs-type can be one of “btrfs”, “ext2”, “ext3”, “ext4”, “fat16”, “fat32”, “hfs”, “hfs+”, “linux-swap”, “ntfs”, “reiserfs”, or “xfs”.

Parted doesn't create a filesystem. The filesystem type is only used to determine the partition type.

Once a partition has been created, you create a file system on it. See Linux - File System


If you want to create, remove, or resize a partition, the device can not be in use (partitions can not be mounted, and swap space can not be enabled). The easiest way to achieve this it to boot your system in rescue mode.


If you want to create, remove, or resize a partition, the device can not be in use (partitions can not be mounted, and swap space can not be enabled). The easiest way to achieve this it to boot your system in rescue mode.


The only way to change a partition size using fdisk is by deleting and recreating it. How to Resize a Partition using fdisk


See File System - Partition table (Sector 0)


  • with parted. The below will list all partition on all disk
parted -l
  • with lsblk
sudo lsblk
fd0      2:0    1     4K  0 disk
sda      8:0    0   128G  0 disk
├─sda1   8:1    0   500M  0 part /boot
└─sda2   8:2    0 127.5G  0 part /
sdb      8:16   0   128G  0 disk
├─sdb1   8:17   0   128G  0 part /mnt/resource
└─sdb2   8:18   0   512B  0 part
sdc      8:32   0   128G  0 disk
└─sdc1   8:33   0   128G  0 part /opt/infa

Know the different partition type

Command (m for help): l
0  Empty           1e  Hidden W95 FAT1 80  Old Minix       bf  Solaris
 1  FAT12           24  NEC DOS         81  Minix / old Lin c1  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 2  XENIX root      39  Plan 9          82  Linux swap / So c4  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 3  XENIX usr       3c  PartitionMagic  83  Linux           c6  DRDOS/sec (FAT-
 4  FAT16 <32M      40  Venix 80286     84  OS/2 hidden C:  c7  Syrinx
 5  Extended        41  PPC PReP Boot   85  Linux extended  da  Non-FS data
 6  FAT16           42  SFS             86  NTFS volume set db  CP/M / CTOS / .
 7  HPFS/NTFS       4d  QNX4.x          87  NTFS volume set de  Dell Utility
 8  AIX             4e  QNX4.x 2nd part 88  Linux plaintext df  BootIt
 9  AIX bootable    4f  QNX4.x 3rd part 8e  Linux LVM       e1  DOS access
 a  OS/2 Boot Manag 50  OnTrack DM      93  Amoeba          e3  DOS R/O
 b  W95 FAT32       51  OnTrack DM6 Aux 94  Amoeba BBT      e4  SpeedStor
 c  W95 FAT32 (LBA) 52  CP/M            9f  BSD/OS          eb  BeOS fs
 e  W95 FAT16 (LBA) 53  OnTrack DM6 Aux a0  IBM Thinkpad hi ee  EFI GPT
 f  W95 Ext'd (LBA) 54  OnTrackDM6      a5  FreeBSD         ef  EFI (FAT-12/16/
10  OPUS            55  EZ-Drive        a6  OpenBSD         f0  Linux/PA-RISC b
11  Hidden FAT12    56  Golden Bow      a7  NeXTSTEP        f1  SpeedStor
12  Compaq diagnost 5c  Priam Edisk     a8  Darwin UFS      f4  SpeedStor
14  Hidden FAT16 <3 61  SpeedStor       a9  NetBSD          f2  DOS secondary
16  Hidden FAT16    63  GNU HURD or Sys ab  Darwin boot     fb  VMware VMFS
17  Hidden HPFS/NTF 64  Novell Netware  b7  BSDI fs         fc  VMware VMKCORE
18  AST SmartSleep  65  Novell Netware  b8  BSDI swap       fd  Linux raid auto
1b  Hidden W95 FAT3 70  DiskSecure Mult bb  Boot Wizard hid fe  LANstep
1c  Hidden W95 FAT3 75  PC/IX           be  Solaris boot    ff  BBT


A partition is not mounted. A file system is. See File System mount

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