I wanted to create more space for Ubuntu on my hard disk in favor of my Windows partition. I booted the livecd and resized the NTFS partition to 100 GB. Then I wanted to resize my Ubuntu (ext4) partition to fill up the created unallocated space.

A screenshot of my current disk. (With the livecd there's no 'key' icon after sda6)

a screenshot of my current disk

My first thought was just right click on sda6 → move/resize → done. Unfortunately I cannot resize or move the partition. However I can resize the NTFS partition.

I guess it is because the extended sda4 partition is locked. I couldn't see an unlock possibility though…

So how do I resize the ext4 partition anyway, probably by unlocking the extended partition, but how?


6 Answers 6


You cannot resize a mounted filesystem, that's why you see a lock icon.

You were doing well, you booted into a Live CD and resized the NTFS partition.

Now you need to enlarge the Extended partition, partitions "inside" that extended partition cannot "escape" outside.

  1. Make sure that /dev/sda6 is unmounted. If a lock icon is visible, right click on it and choose for Unmount
  2. Make sure that the swap partition /dev/sda5 is unmounted. Right click on it and choose for Swapoff
  3. Select /dev/sda4 and choose for Resize. Use the free space on the left side
  4. Select /dev/sda6 and resize it on the right side
  5. Apply the changes and you're done.
  • @arian Yeah, the screenshot you provided suggests that its still mounted (hence why you can't do anything with the drive). And also, you're right, @Lekensteyn, that extended partition needs to be resized first to make that space available for the partitions inside that (we didnt have this information before now :P)
    – Thomas Ward
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 15:38
  • right, sda4 is still locked (in the live-cd too), and sda6 is unlocked so I cannot resize my extended partition to make size available. That's probably the problem here.
    – arian
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 15:58
  • @arian: it seems that the swap partition is always mounted. Check the new instructions.
    – Lekensteyn
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 21:17
  • Thanks, it worked! It took a while (1.5 hours) but everything seems to work fine. I had to use a margin of about 5mbs on the left because initially I got an error message.
    – arian
    Commented Jul 1, 2011 at 18:09

For a start boot with your live CD.

Press Start and type Gparted:

open gparted

Once you open the program you will see a list with your partitions. Now to make any changes, we have to unmount the partitions we want to edit. Right-Click on the partition, and choose Unmount:

unmount partition

Let's assume that I want to decrease the size of sda1 and add it in sda3. Right-Click on sda1 and choose Resize/Move

enter image description here

A new windows will pop out were we can make our changes. Now to decrease the size, drag the Right arrow to the left. You can also type a custom value next to the option New size (MB):. Once you choose the new size click on the button Resize/Move

enter image description here

Now a new box will appear with the label unallocated. We will now add this free space at sda3 partition.

enter image description here

Right-Click on sda3 and choose Resize/Move

enter image description here

Drag the left arrow to the left as shown below:

enter image description here

Hit the button Resize/Move to submit the change.

Finally, click on the "tick" button to apply all your changes.

enter image description here

  • How about Ubuntu server without GUI?!
    – Dr.jacky
    Commented Dec 7, 2015 at 8:21

A partition cannot be resized when Ubuntu is running off of it, or it is mounted.

You can use a live CD:

  1. Boot the setup CD(live CD) and select to "Try Ubuntu".

  2. Once it boots, start GParted and right-click the partition. Unmount it.

  3. Then, delete or resize any partitions to the left or the right of the partition in question.

  4. Now, right-click the partition and resize it.

  5. Click Apply on the GParted window and let it finish.

    You need to "Apply" since the changes are not done until this step. They are only queued up when you perform operations in GParted.

Don't forget to make a backup of any important data!


You should boot into a LiveCD to use gparted to resize your active ext4 partition - its unwise to modify partitions while they're actively being used (especially the active system partition which is ext4)

Afterwards, you should be able to move and resize the partition within that LiveCD environment, and the changes will be done when you boot back to the ext4 partition and not the LiveCD

  • 1
    Yeah, I did boot into the livecd (see my second sentence :))
    – arian
    Commented Jun 30, 2011 at 14:26

Yes you can with GParted.

  1. Boot from Ubuntu live CD.
  2. Launch GParted.
  3. Select the Ubuntu partition in question and click on Resize/Move from the GParted toolbar or select Partition menu → Resize/Move - provided that the gained unallocated space is right next to the Ubuntu partition in question.

    If the unallocated space is not adjacent to the Ubuntu partition, then you either have to move or shrink partitions to be able to put the unallocated space adjacent to the Ubuntu partition to be able to resize it.

    For a more detailed information, take a look at these sites:






use lvdisplay to see the mounted volume use lvremove "volume name" or use vgremove "volume group name"

the are the first 2 names displayed after running the lvdisplay command.

My system had pve partition and swap the automounted from Gparted live. Would not deactivate or unmount via command. Lvdisplay then vgremove worked fine. I was then able. to delete the partion the the. Gparted GUI.

  • 1
    Hello. There is nothing in the question asked that says or implies the use of an lvm. Therefore your answer makes no sense.
    – David DE
    Commented Apr 1, 2022 at 8:44

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