partprobe Command: Tutorial & Examples

Re-read the partition table

In the Linux world, when you deal with storage devices such as hard drives or solid-state drives, managing partitions is a crucial task. Partitions are sections on a storage device that divide it into separate logical units. Linux provides a powerful command called partprobe that plays a vital role in the management of partitions.

The partprobe command is used to inform the operating system about any changes in the partition table of a storage device without requiring a system reboot. This means that when you create, delete, or modify partitions on a disk, partprobe can be used to update the system and make it aware of the changes immediately. This is especially useful when working on remote servers or virtual machines (VMs) where rebooting the system to apply partition changes might not be feasible.

How does partprobe work and why is it important?

When you create, delete, or modify partitions on a storage device, the partition table needs to be updated to reflect those changes accurately. The Linux kernel, which is the core of the operating system, maintains this partition table in memory. Normally, the kernel detects these changes automatically, but sometimes, it may not recognize the new or modified partitions until you perform some action.

This is where partprobe comes to the rescue. It sends a signal to the kernel to re-read the partition table of the specified device, which allows the kernel to detect any changes. After partprobe has been executed, the system will be aware of the new or updated partitions, and you can immediately start using them without rebooting the entire system.

Typical problems solved with partprobe

Imagine you are working on a remote Linux server, and you need to resize a partition to accommodate more data. Using traditional methods, you would have to unmount the partition, modify the partition table, and then remount the partition. However, without partprobe, the system wouldn't recognize the changes until you reboot it, causing inconvenience and downtime for users.

But with partprobe, you can instantly update the partition table without a reboot, minimizing disruption and ensuring the changes take effect immediately. This can be a lifesaver in critical server environments where downtime must be avoided whenever possible.

Examples of using partprobe

1. Basic Usage

To use partprobe, you typically specify the device you want to update. For example, to update partitions on /dev/sdb, you can run:

sudo partprobe /dev/sdb

2. Using with sudo

Since updating partition information requires administrative privileges, you'll likely use sudo with partprobe:

sudo partprobe /dev/sdc

3. Automating with udev

udev is a Linux subsystem responsible for device handling, including handling device changes. If you're automating partition management, you can use udev rules to automatically trigger partprobe whenever a partition change occurs. The rule would look something like this:

ACTION=="change", KERNEL=="sdb*", RUN+="/sbin/partprobe /dev/%k"

This rule will automatically execute partprobe on any device starting with "sdb" when a change is detected.


The partprobe command is a handy tool that makes managing partitions on Linux servers and VMs more convenient and less disruptive. By allowing the kernel to recognize partition changes without requiring a reboot, it saves time, minimizes downtime, and ensures your server runs efficiently. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced sysadmin, partprobe is a valuable addition to your Linux toolkit.

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