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I installed Debian Jessie with default partitioning on my SSD drive. My current disk partitioning looks like this:

My current disk partitioning looks like this

As I have 16GB of RAM, I assume I don't need swap. But since I have other disk drives I may create a swapfile for example, on one of the other drives instead.

Can you tell me what steps I should take to remove the swap partition correctly and permanently for it not to occupy disk space? I wish to delete the swap partition as I currently have only 128GB SSD.

Here is what I tried and rebooted each time; each of these steps being not permanent, or did not do anything:

  1. Using the swapoff utility:

    swapoff --all
    
  2. Using the GParted utility:

    Right-clicking the swap partition and clicking Swapoff.

  3. Commenting out the swap partition's UUID in the following file:

    /etc/fstab
    
  4. Commenting out the swap partition's UUID in the following file:

    /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume
    
  5. Running these commands in the end (both in this and the opposite order):

    update-grub
    
    update-initramfs -u
    
  • 1
    Swapoff only disables swap for the currently running system, to make it permanent you should combine it with removing the relevant entry from /etc/fstab. Once that's done, swap should be disabled and not come back on the next boot. Now you should modify the partition table and extend your main filesystem if you want to reclaim the unused space. See my answer for detailed instructions. – André Borie Aug 19 '15 at 15:48
  • @burian.vlastimil can you post your entire /etc/fstab ? – André Borie Aug 19 '15 at 15:54
  • @burian.vlastimil Please edit it in your question as comments don't preserve line breaks. Do your changes in the fstab persist after reboot or does the swap line get uncommented ? – André Borie Aug 19 '15 at 16:03
  • 1
    If I may poke into this question, swap's purpose is to remove unused pages and protect system from running out of memory. Thus, as SnakeDoc suggested, having 512MB of swap is always good. Personally, I've SSD with no swap partition but rather a swap file in my / directory . If you opt to do so, use this tutorial to create the file. As for swap partition, you can boot live usb and use gparted to remove that partition. Make sure to update grub, though. – Sergiy Kolodyazhnyy Aug 19 '15 at 23:16
  • 4
    @SnakeDoc - you won't typically get a kernel panic, the OOM handler will kick in and kill process(es) to free up memory (and it usually does a pretty good job deciding which one(s) to kill, generally giving preference to killing larger and newer processes). I maintain a large number of servers without swap that are set to panic on OOM instead of killing processes because the servers are configured such that they will normally never run out of memory and if they do, I want them to panic and reboot rather than swap and slow down (or let the OOM handler decide what processes to kill) – Johnny Aug 20 '15 at 7:02
42

Execute as root:

# swapoff -a

And to make that change permanent, edit /etc/fstab and remove or comment-out the swap entry.

  • @burian.vlastimil, what do you mean with locked? You can verify that no swap device is in use via looking at the first line of top - it should report 'KiB Swap: 0 total'. You can also cat /proc/swaps - which should just report a header line. If that is the case, then yes, you can safely remove the swap partition - and enlarge another partition - to reclaim that space - if that is what you want. – maxschlepzig Aug 19 '15 at 9:55
  • @burian.vlastimil, the swap might be enabled by your initramfs, you may have to remove the resume kernel option (that references the UUID of your swap), i.e. update grub and regenerate the initramfs (basically do the opposite of some of the steps in SwapFaq). – maxschlepzig Aug 19 '15 at 10:20
  • @burian.vlastimil, you can also grep your grub config (under /boot) for that uuid and you can unpack your initramsfs and grep its contents to get to the root cause of this. Make sure that you do a case-insensitive grep. – maxschlepzig Aug 19 '15 at 11:40
  • 2
    just put swapoff -a in /etc/rc.local. having swap on for a few milliseconds when you boot up is no issue. with 16GB RAM nothing will be written there for a long time. just leave the swap space there (disk space is cheap) and don't change /etc/fstab. – Skaperen Aug 19 '15 at 13:36
  • make a temporary swap file, then you can recover the space by deleting the file once you turn swap off – Skaperen Aug 31 '15 at 10:44
37
  1. If you have GParted open, close it. Its Swapoff feature does not appear to to be permanent.

  2. Open terminal and become root (su); if you have sudo enabled, you may also do for example sudo -i; see man sudo for all options):

    sudo -i
    
  3. Turn off the particular swap partition and / or all of the swaps:

    swapoff --all
    
  4. Make 100% sure the particular swap partition partition is off:

    cat /proc/swaps
    
  5. Open a text editor you are skilled in with this file, e.g. nano if unsure:

    nano /etc/fstab
    
  6. Comment out / remove the swap partition's UUID, e.g.:

    # UUID=1d3c29bb-d730-4ad0-a659-45b25f60c37d    none    swap    sw    0    0
    
  7. Open a text editor you are skilled in with this file, e.g. nano if unsure:

    nano /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume
    
  8. Comment out / remove the previously identified swap partition's UUID, e.g.:

    # RESUME=UUID=1d3c29bb-d730-4ad0-a659-45b25f60c37d
    
  9. Don't close the terminal as you will need it later anyway.

Note: The next steps differ depending on, whether you rely on CLI or GUI.


GUI:

  1. Open up GParted, either from menu, or more conveniently from the terminal we have opened:

    gparted
    
  2. If you don't have it installed, you may do so; afterwards run the previous command again:

    apt-get install gparted
    
  3. Choose your drive from top-right menu.

  4. As the GParted reactivates the swap partition upon launch, you will have to right-click the particular swap partition and click Swapoff -> This will be applied immediately.

  5. Delete the swap partition with right click -> Delete. You must apply the change now.

  6. Resize your main / other partition with right click -> Resize/Move. You must apply the change now.

  7. Back to the terminal, let's recreate the boot images:

    update-initramfs -u -k all
    
  8. Update GRUB:

    update-grub
    
  9. You may reboot now if you wish to test that the machine boots up.


CLI:

I will check in VMs if my solution works, then I will share it. In the meantime, see this answer.

  • most complete, well explained. – benzkji Jan 22 at 21:12
  • If you experience slow boot afterwards with message gave up waiting for suspend/resume device: In file /etc/initramfs-tools/conf.d/resume, don't just disable the line, replace it with RESUME=none. (source) – tanius Apr 3 at 22:28
17

Comment/remove the relevant entry in the /etc/fstab to prevent it from being reenabled on the next boot, then reboot or run swapoff -a to disable the usage of the swap partition for the currently running system.

Now delete the swap partition, extend your system partition over that unused space and extend the actual filesystem. I don't know whether your graphical partition manager can do all that, but if it can't here's a distro-agnostic way of doing this using fdisk and resize2fs :

# fdisk /dev/sdX

# Display current partition table, copy/paste this output somewhere to be able to go back in case you screw up

Command (m for help): p
Device       Boot  Start    End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sda1        2048  22527   20480  10M ef EFI (FAT-12/16/32)
/dev/sda2       22528 186367  163840  80M 83 Linux
/dev/sda3      186368 204799   18432   9M 82 Linux swap / Solaris

# Delete the swap partition

Command (m for help): d
Partition number (1-3, default 3): 3
Partition 3 has been deleted.

# Delete the system partition

Command (m for help): d
Partition number (1,2, default 2): 2
Partition 2 has been deleted.

# Create a new system partition starting the same as the old one but ending a bit farther, at the end of the (now deleted) swap partition

Command (m for help): n
Partition type
   p   primary (1 primary, 0 extended, 3 free)
   e   extended (container for logical partitions)
Select (default p): 

Using default response p.
Partition number (2-4, default 2): 
# Enter the same start sector as the old part.
First sector (22528-204799, default 22528): 22528
# Enter the end sector of the old swap partition
Last sector, +sectors or +size{K,M,G,T,P} (22528-204799, default 204799): 204799

Created a new partition 2 of type 'Linux' and of size 89 MiB.

# Save the changes
Command (m for help): w
The partition table has been altered.

Finally we extend the current filesystem to make use of the new free space (until now the actual filesystem wasn't aware that we added some more space to its underlying partition). By default, resize2fs uses the entire partition unless a fixed size is given, so we don't have to specify anything other than the partition block device. Growing a file system (as opposed to shrinking) can be done online with the partition mounted :

# resize2fs /dev/sda2

Now you've successfully disabled swap and reclaimed the unused space without even rebooting.

Note that the procedure for Debian is a bit different and requires editing some more files. Check out this answer for more info.

  • This doesn't work for me. I had 3 partitions. one for /boot, one for / and the swap. When I try to create the new partition I can only make a 16gb partition :/ – Freedo Aug 16 '18 at 22:12
  • Addition, at least for Debian 9 based distros: it is necessary to run partprobe before the resize2fs command, otherwise the kernel does not know about the new partition table and nothing will be resized. – tanius Apr 3 at 22:09
2

Right click on the swap partition in GParted, and click Swapoff. Then delete your swap partition, remove it from /etc/fstab, and regenerate your initramfs and grub (maybe unnecessary).

The swap partition should not be added to the initramfs by the initramfs update script if the swap partition does not exist.

According to this post, the following is the correct way to regenerate initramfs and grub:

update-initramfs -c -k <kernel>

update-grub
-2

You can right click on swap partition in Gparted and select the swapoff option. That's a quick way of accomplishing the same thing you asked.

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