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:

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

  5. Running these commands in the end (both in this and the opposite order):

    update-initramfs -u
  • 1
    Just note, it's never "safe" to fully disable swap. Even with systems that have 96+ GB of ram, running at least 512MB of swap is a good safety measure. It gives your system time to kill unnecessary processes if something runs amuck and eats up all the ram unexpectedly... the alternative with swap disabled is to kernel panic.
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:51
  • Also note, you can move the swap to a different disk (ie. off your SSD and onto a mechanical disk where the swap space is likely to hurt less).
    – SnakeDoc
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 17:55
  • @SnakeDoc Every time, or only if it's the kernel that attempts to make the fateful allocation? Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 22:52
  • 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. Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 23:16
  • 8
    @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
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 7:02

5 Answers 5

  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. If your swap is encrypted, do the same with /etc/crypttab.

  10. 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.


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

  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:

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

Encryption note: If your swap partition is encrypted, then you also need to comment out the related line in /etc/crypttab, otherwise CryptSetup will keep you waiting for 90 seconds during boot time. Thanks frank for this addition.


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

  • 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
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 22:28
  • thank you so much for this detailed guide! Exactly what I needed.
    – kohane15
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 17:43
  • This solution no longer works.
    – Owl
    Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 1:42
  • This worked for me on Ubuntu 23.04 perfectly. Thanks a lot. I used KDE Partition Manager instead of Gparted for the GUI steps. Commented Nov 1, 2023 at 9:52

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. Commented Aug 19, 2015 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). Commented Aug 19, 2015 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. Commented Aug 19, 2015 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
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 13:36
  • make a temporary swap file, then you can recover the space by deleting the file once you turn swap off
    – Skaperen
    Commented Aug 31, 2015 at 10:44

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
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 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
    Commented Apr 3, 2019 at 22:09

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>


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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