Manipulating partitions and disks with Gparted

This guide requires the use of a Linux live session, you can read about how to create one here.

Table of Contents


Gparted is a Linux/gnu front-end to the parted tool. It is the recommended method for manipulating disks when using a Linux live session.

Working with a new disk

Create partition table

A disk needs a partition table made as the first step in formatting. This is generally an MBR/msdos or GPT table. GPT is preferred for all modern applications.

Select a disk in Gparted from the drop-down in the top right

Selecting a disk in gparted

To create your table, hover over ‘device’ with your disk selected.

creating a table in gparted

Create partition

To create a partition on a disk right click any unallocated space and choose ‘New’.

creating a partition in gparted

Choose your size and location on the disk by dragging the sliders, the entire box or entering values manually. It is recommended to make partitions starting at the head (start) of the disk and work your way right.

Primary partitions are the typical user partition. Logical or extended are for more advanced setups.

creating a partition in gparted 2

Typical file system types and uses are:

Type OS Compatibility Use Limitations
NTFS Windows, with read natively on Linux/BSD or MacOS Windows OS and data partitions  
ext2/3/4 Linux/BSD, with read on other OS via third party tools Linux/BSD OS and data partitions  
Fat32 Read/Write natively on most OS Removable media Fat32 file systems cannot hold files larger than 4GB
exFat Read/Write natively on most OS Removable media  
HFS/+ MacOS native with read on other OS via third party tools MacOS OS and data partitions  

Working with existing disks

Manipulating partitions is dangerous and can result in a loss of data. It is recommended you have your data/disks images backed up prior to executing the following procedures.

Please be familiar with how partitions can move

Enlarge/Move/Shrink partitions

To change the size of a partition right click it and choose ‘resize/move’. You can manipulate the size the same way as when making a new partition.

resizing a partition in gparted


If enlarging a partition ensure you have enough empty space to the immediate right of the partition. If you do not, move the neighbor partition far enough right that you have space for your enlargement operation.


Shrinking is not recommended, make a new partition and move your data.

You can only shrink a partition as far as data is dispersed through a partition. A partition may need to be defragmented before significant size changes are possible.


Moving partitions takes a very long time. It is recommended that you restore data to an desired disk layout rather than change an existing one.

Finalizing changes

When you are done making changes to disk choose the ‘Check’ at the top to save those changes, confirm and the changes will start processing. If you shrunk, or moved partitions this can take a very long time.

final step gparted