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How I resized the file system of my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image to utilize the entire microSD card space on my Raspberry Pi 3

After setting up a LEMP web server on Raspberry Pi 3 with an Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image to host my new WordPress website, I decided to create some swap space to complement the 1GB ram on my Raspberry Pi 3 in running more services.

When I tried to create a 4GB swap file, the fallocate command complained that there was no space left on my Raspberry Pi 3:

sudo fallocate -l 4G /swapfile
fallocate: fallocate failed: No space left on device

To ensure that I wouldn't crash my Raspbery Pi 3, I quickly remove /swapfile.

To understand why there was no space to create a 4GB swap file on a Raspberry Pi 3 with a 32GB microSD card, I ran:

df -h

and got the following output:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root       3.5G  1.5G  2.0G  43% /
devtmpfs        459M     0  459M   0% /dev
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           463M  6.2M  457M   2% /run
tmpfs           5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1   64M   20M   45M  32% /boot

This told me that my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image did not utilize the entire microSD card space from the SanDisk Ultra 32GB microSDHC card on my Raspberry Pi 3 motherboard.

Using GNU parted to resize the file system of my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image to utilize the entire microSD card space

It wouldn't make economical sense when my Raspberry Pi 3 was not using the whole of my 32GB microSD card. Since my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image had GNU parted installed, I turned to GNU parted to resize the file system of my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image to utilize the entire microSD card space:

sudo parted

Executing the command presented me the following environment, which allowed me to interact with GNU parted.

GNU Parted 3.2
Using /dev/mmcblk0
Welcome to GNU Parted! Type 'help' to view a list of commands.
(parted) help                                                             
  align-check TYPE N                        check partition N for TYPE(min|opt)
        alignment
  help [COMMAND]                           print general help, or help on
        COMMAND
  mklabel,mktable LABEL-TYPE               create a new disklabel (partition
        table)
  mkpart PART-TYPE [FS-TYPE] START END     make a partition
  name NUMBER NAME                         name partition NUMBER as NAME
  print [devices|free|list,all|NUMBER]     display the partition table,
        available devices, free space, all found partitions, or a particular
        partition
  quit                                     exit program
  rescue START END                         rescue a lost partition near START
        and END
  resizepart NUMBER END                    resize partition NUMBER
  rm NUMBER                                delete partition NUMBER
  select DEVICE                            choose the device to edit
  disk_set FLAG STATE                      change the FLAG on selected device
  disk_toggle [FLAG]                       toggle the state of FLAG on selected
        device
  set NUMBER FLAG STATE                    change the FLAG on partition NUMBER
  toggle [NUMBER [FLAG]]                   toggle the state of FLAG on partition
        NUMBER
  unit UNIT                                set the default unit to UNIT
  version                                  display the version number and
        copyright information of GNU Parted

Viewing the partition table on my microSD card

I first checked the entries inside the partition table on my microSD card:

(parted) print   

Through the 'print' command, I was presented with the following output:

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Model: SD SL32G (sd/mmc)
Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 31.1GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  68.2MB  67.1MB  primary  fat16        boot, lba
 2      68.2MB  3932MB  3864MB  primary  ext4

This output told me that I was only utilizing 3864MB of my microSD card for my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3.

Resizing the ext4 partition

Since the ext4 partition contains the Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 image, resizing that partition will allow my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 to utilize the entire microSD card disk space.

To do so, I supplied the following input:

(parted) resizepart 2                                                     
End?  [3932MB]? 31.1GB

I first supplied the command 'resizepart 2' to tell GNU parted that I wished to resize the ext4 partition. It then replied me with 'End? [3932MB]?' which I followed up with the string '31.1GB' to indicate that I want it to use the rest of the unallocated space on my microSD card.

Verifying that my Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 was able to utilize the rest of the unallocated space on my microSD card

To verify that the ext4 partition had successfully resized, I ran the 'print' command again:

(parted) print

which gave me the following output:

Model: SD SL32G (sd/mmc)
Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 31.1GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start   End     Size    Type     File system  Flags
 1      1049kB  68.2MB  67.1MB  primary  fat16        boot, lba
 2      68.2MB  31.1GB  31.0GB  primary  ext4

Once I saw that the partition had taken more space, I exited the interaction screen with the parted program by typing 'quit'.

Getting the Ubuntu Server 15.10.3 file system to recognize the partition resize

Once I am out of the parted interaction screen, I ran the following to see if my root directory contains more space:

df -h

To my dismay, I still saw the same output as before:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root       3.5G  1.5G  2.0G  43% /
devtmpfs        459M     0  459M   0% /dev
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           463M  6.2M  457M   2% /run
tmpfs           5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1   64M   20M   45M  32% /boot

This told me that GNU parted had not resized the file system to take the additional partition space that had been created.

To get the file system to take the additional partition space that had been created, I ran the following:

sudo resize2fs /dev/mmcblk0p2

After the command had completed, I ran

df -h

and got the following output:

Filesystem      Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
/dev/root        29G  1.5G   27G   6% /
devtmpfs        459M     0  459M   0% /dev
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /dev/shm
tmpfs           463M  6.2M  457M   2% /run
tmpfs           5.0M     0  5.0M   0% /run/lock
tmpfs           463M     0  463M   0% /sys/fs/cgroup
/dev/mmcblk0p1   64M   20M   45M  32% /boot

With that, I was able to continue with the creation of the swapfile to complement the 1GB ram on my Raspberry Pi 3.

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About Clivant

Clivant a.k.a Chai Heng enjoys composing software and building systems to serve people. He owns techcoil.com and hopes that whatever he had written and built so far had benefited people.

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