I've got a virtual Ubuntu 18.04 server which is running low on disk space. As this is a virtual server I increased the hard disk size in vSphere. I can see the free space in cfdisk but am unsure how to expand the filesystem partition to take advantage of the new space. I can see there is a resize option for the partition but I'm unclear on whether or not that will also format the partitions and lose my data... Bit of a linux n00b, any help would be greatly appreciated.

cfdisk output:

Device         Start        End       Sectors    Size  Type

/dev/sda1       2048       4095          2048      1M  BIOS boot
/dev/sda2       4096   41940991      41936896     20G  Linux filesystem
Free space  41940992  104857566      62916575     30G  


3 Answers 3


For the n00b: Connect with X forwarding enabled (ssh -X yourserver), install gparted and use the user-friendly GUI to resize /dev/sda2.

A more advanced user would probably fire up parted /dev/sda, then enter resizepart 2. The end of the partition will automatically be selected to match the end of the disk. This will only resize the partition, though. The file-system can be resized to span the whole partition with the appropriate tool, like resize2fs /dev/sda2 for ext2/3/4.


As an additional note: In this case (free space after the end of the partition which will be resized) it should be possible to resize the partition by:

growpart /dev/sda 2

You can install growpart by installing the package: cloud-guest-utils.

Just as a note: There is always a risk of losing data when performing this kind of operations on disks/partitions.

  • Good point. Yet I want to add that data-loss during online growing is so very unlikely, I consider it safe.
    – Hermann
    Feb 1, 2020 at 15:44

I was seeking to do the same as the OP. My only difference is that I am using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS server.

I had not tried cfdisk yet to see such info (I tried df and lsblk), so I went ahead and ran cfdisk.

I was surprised that cfdisk itself had an option to [Resize] my disk right there. No need to use other tools, I just went and navigated to my sda, and selected the [Resize] Option. Including a screenshot for reference:

enter image description here

Of course now one has to resize the actual filesystem, etc.. I didn't recall exactly how to do it, but I did remember that I wrote an answer here a month ago where I summed up such steps (sharing it in case it helps someone else) https://askubuntu.com/a/1393329/658154

Basically resize the Physical Volume (pvresize), and then resize the Logical Volume (lvextend) to finally resize the filesystem (resize2fs).

  • 1
    If you use lvresize -r -l 100%FREE /dev/mapper/... after the pvresize the file system will be extended without any further commands.
    – doneal24
    Mar 29, 2022 at 21:17
  • @doneal24 thanks for the tip :) will try it next time I have to resize a machine
    – DarkCygnus
    Mar 29, 2022 at 21:24
  • 1
    If you do it right you can resize the disk in vSphere and expand the lv from the command line with no downtime. Very useful for production servers.
    – doneal24
    Mar 29, 2022 at 21:27
  • @doneal24 I have ESXI, but not the vSphere suite (yet?). I've heard that vSphere is quite useful, and your comment confirmed that to me. Thus why I have to do it more manually: edit the machine, expand the vdisk, and then the steps mentioned inside the machine... Thanks for that observation, as it makes me realize vSphere is something we should get :)
    – DarkCygnus
    Mar 29, 2022 at 23:26

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