I have a fresh install (well, with package updates) of Linux Mint 16 (Maté) on a 3TB hard drive. I installed with the following partition table:

/dev/sda1: bios_grub   1MB
/dev/sda2: /           8GB   ext4
/dev/sda3: linux-swap  2GB   swap

with the rest of the drive unpartitioned and unused.

Now that I have things working like I want them, I open up GParted and create a partition for the remaining space. However, after doing so, it lists the partition as having used 43.90GiB: (transcribed from GParted's GUI, with superfluous columns/rows removed).

Partition  File System  Size      Used        Unused
/dev/sda4: ext4         2.72GiB   43.90 GiB   2.68TiB

I mount the drive and run df -h:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda2       7.3G  4.2G  2.7G  61% /
none            4.0K     0  4.0K   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
udev            1.8G   12K  1.8G   1% /dev
tmpfs           362M  1.2M  360M   1% /run
none            5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
none            1.8G   76K  1.8G   1% /run/shm
none            100M   44K  100M   1% /run/user
/dev/sda4       2.7T   73M  2.6T   1% /media/storage

So that is correct. I know it's an empty partition - this is a brand new drive. Refreshing GParted: (again, transcribed from GParted with extra rows/columns removed)

Partition  File System  Mount Point     Size      Used        Unused
/dev/sda2  ext4         /               7.45 GiB  4.40  GiB   3.05 GiB
/dev/sda4  ext4         /media/storage  2.72 GiB  43.90 GiB   2.68 TiB

So, does anyone have any ideas as to why GParted is showing incorrect information for that partition? You can see that it's correct for /dev/sda2.


  • Can you show the commands you ran?
    – slm
    Mar 15 '14 at 3:42
  • The commands I ran? To do what? I've given the df -h command I used. Everything else was done using GParted's GUI.
    – dthor
    Mar 15 '14 at 19:35
  • Ah, yes, I was just transcribing from GParted's GUI. Sorry for not making that clear. I also removed some superfluous columns and rows like Flags, Label, and the swap/boot partitions (at least for the 2nd GParted output).
    – dthor
    Mar 16 '14 at 2:06
  • 1
    This thread explains what Gilles linked to as well: ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2193896.
    – slm
    Mar 16 '14 at 2:58

It turns out that I didn't know that GParted defaults to saving 5% of the partition's space for super-user. See this AU Q&A titled: "Why is there 4.86(maybe 15.1) GB of USED-space on a newly partitioned and formatted 298 GB drive (as ext4 by Gparted)".

excerpt from mkfs.ext4 man page

-m reserved-blocks-percentage
    Specify  the  percentage  of the filesystem blocks reserved for the 
    superuser.  This avoids fragmentation, and allows root-owned daemons, 
    such as syslogd(8), to continue to function correctly after non-
    privileged processes are prevented from writing to the filesystem.  The 
    default percentage is 5%.

So it appear that this value wasn't specified as 0% to limit the allocation of this space by Gparted.

The answer by user AiwendilH in this reddit thread was helpful in uncoverintg this as well: reddit.com/r/linux4noobs.


Partition software will show you the size of the partition, not the amount of data recorded in it. How to do that depends on the exact filesystem set up on the partition, and there are just too many of those around.

  • Obviously that's not the case, because A) it's showing used and unused space and B) the used space is correct for /dev/sda2. If it was the case, why would GParted even offer that information? I also said that I used the df -h command to verify how much space was used/free...
    – dthor
    Mar 15 '14 at 19:39

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