Create Partitions using parted command in Linux

In this tutorial, you are going to learn how to create partitions using parted command in Linux. parted is a program to manipulate disk partitions. It supports multiple partition table formats, including MS-DOS and GPT. It is useful for creating space for new operating systems, re-organising disk usage, and copying data to new hard disks.

On any operating system, a disk needs to be partitioned before it can be used. A partition is a logical subset of the physical disk, and information about partitions are stored in a partition table. This table includes information about the first and last sectors of the partition and its type, and further details on each partition.

Create Partitions using parted command in Linux

Using this utility parted you can create, delete, restore and resize partitions.

Understanding MBR and GPT

There are two main ways of storing partition information on hard disks. The first one is MBR (Master Boot Record), and the second one is GPT (GUID Partition Table).


This is a remnant from the early days of MS-DOS (more specifically, PC-DOS 2.0 from 1983) and for decades was the standard partitioning scheme on PCs. The partition table is stored on the first sector of a disk, called the Boot Sector, along with a boot loader, which on Linux systems is usually the GRUB bootloader. But MBR has a series of limitations that hinder its use on modern systems, like the inability to address disks of more than 2 TB in size, and the limit of only 4 primary partitions per disk.


A partitioning system that addresses many of the limitations of MBR. There is no practical limit on disk size, and the maximum number of partitions are limited only by the operating system itself. It is more commonly found on more modern machines that use UEFI instead of the old PC BIOS.

Create Partitions using parted command in Linux

parted is a very powerful partition editor (hence the name) that can be used to create, delete, resize and rescue. It can work with both GPT and MBR disks, and cover almost all of your disk management needs. There are many graphical front-ends that make working with parted much easier, like GParted for GNOME-based desktop environments and the KDE Partition Manager for KDE Desktops. 

NOTE; Unlike fdisk and gdisk, parted makes changes to the disk immediately after the command is issued, without waiting for another command to write the changes to disk. When practicing, it is wise to do so on an empty or spare disk or flash drive, so there is no risk of data loss should you make a mistake.


parted DEVICE

where DEVICE is the device you want to manage (parted /dev/sdb).


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

NOTE; Be careful! If you do not specify a device, parted will automatically select the primary disk (usually /dev/sda) to work with.

Selecting Disks

Use select command to switch to a different disk than the one specified on the command line.

(parted) select /dev/sda                                                  
Using /dev/sda

Getting Information

Use print command  to get more information about a specific partition.

(parted) print                                                            
Disk /dev/sda: 26.8GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  26.8GB  26.8GB  primary  ext4         boot

You also can get a list of all block devices connected to your system using print devices command;

(parted) print devices                                                    
/dev/sdb (16.6GB)
/dev/sda (26.8GB)

Checking for Free Space

Use print free command to know how much free space there is in each one of them;

(parted) print free
Disk /dev/sda: 26.8GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
        1024B   1049kB  1048kB           Free Space
 1      1049kB  26.8GB  26.8GB  primary  ext4         boot
        26.8GB  26.8GB  1049kB           Free Space

Creating a Partition Table on an Empty Disk using parted

To create a partition table on an empty disk, use the mklabel command, followed by the partition table type that you want to use. There are many supported partition table types, but the main types you should know of are msdos which is used here to refer to an MBR partition table, and gpt to refer to a GPT partition table. 

Create an MBR partition table;

(parted) mklabel msdos

Create a GPT partition table;

(parted) mklabel gpt

Create Partition using parted command in Linux

Use mkpart command to create a partition.




  • PARTTYPE: Is the partition type, which can be primarylogical or extended in case an MBR partition table is used.
  • FSTYPE: Specifies which filesystem will be used on this partition. Note that parted will not create the filesystem. It just sets a flag on the partition which tells the OS what kind of data to expect from it.
  • START: Specifies the exact point on the device where the partition begins. You can use different units to specify this point. 2s can be used to refer to the second sector of the disk, while 1m refers to the beginning of the first megabyte of the disk. Other common units are B (bytes) and % (percentage of the disk).
  • END: Specifies the end of the partition. Note that this is not the size of the partition, this is the point on the disk where it ends. For example, if you specify 100m the partition will end 100 MB after the start of the disk. You can use the same units as in the START parameter.
(parted) mkpart primary ext4 1m 6g
(parted) p                                                                
Disk /dev/sdb: 16.6GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name     Flags
 1      1049kB  6000MB  5999MB  ext4         primary

The above output creates a primary partition of type ext4, starting at the first megabyte of the disk, and ending after the 6th gigabyte.

Removing a Partition with parted command

To remove a partition, use the command rm followed by the partition number, which you can display using the print command. So, rm 1 would remove the second partition on the currently selected disk.

(parted) rm 1

We can use print command to check if the partition has been removed;

(parted) p                                                                
Disk /dev/sdb: 16.6GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: gpt
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start  End  Size  File system  Name  Flags

In the above output, partition 1 has been removed so we don’t have any existing partition.

Recovering Partitions with parted command

parted can recover a deleted partition, to recover it, you can use the rescue command.


rescue START END 

where START is the approximate location where the partition started, and END the approximate location where it ended. We can recover the deleted partition 1 above. parted will scan the disk in search of partitions, and offer to restore any that are found. In the example above the partition 1 started at 1 MB and ended at 6 GB.

(parted) rescue 990k 6010m
Information: A ext4 primary partition was found at 1MB -> 6000MB.
Do you want to add it to the partition table?

Yes/No/Cancel? y

Displaying parted Help

To dispaly help, use help command.

(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

This marks the end of our tutorial on create Partitions using parted command in Linux. We hope this tutorial was of help to you.

For further understanding of this utility, you can refer to its man page;

man parted

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