1 (edited by leo 2021-12-02 18:31:37)

Topic: gparted should explicitely asks user to choose which partition to work


I would like to share my user experience with gparted. Not my general experience (I've been using it on and off for over a decade), but what I experienced today.


  • My intent with this post is to useful give feedback

  • I do NOT intend nor want to get help on how to handle the problem I encountered.

  • I am not blaming anyone but myself


To give some context, even though I use macOS as my primary operating system, I have been using linux for over 10 years and it was my only operating system for a couple of years. I am comfortable with using the terminal and computers in general. I have used gparted for over 10 years, off and on, as mentioned.

I still managed to do something stupid, something that I think could be avoided by slightly changing the way gparted displays information.

what I have done

I plugged a external hard drive that I wanted to work on.
I opened gparted, the erased all the partitions on the disk.
I clicked "apply".
There were some information messages i did not read.
So now the disk seems to have all the partitions erased as requested.

the problem i encountered

BUT… the disk I was working with was not the one I intended to work with. It was the « sda » disk that is I think displayed by default. The disk my laptop boots on and whch is hosting all the data on this computer.

the consequences

So here I am, not knowing if my local partitions were wipped away, if my computer will be able to reboot or not. So I'm currently doing a massive rsync / /media/another-external-drive to backup my data in the case my computer would not reboot and that my data would be lost. Hope that everything would be fine when I come back monday. Maybe I've freaked out for nothing and even if gparted keeps displaying my main drive as emptied of any partition, nothing has been wiped out, but I am not confident enough to take any risk.

how things could be done to avoid that in my opinion

I think gparted should not display a disk with editing tools without informing which disks have been found beforehand and without asking explicitely the user which disk he wants to work with.

The process could be : gparted scan for disks, then display how many disks where found (ex :  1 disk found). Along that the disks that were found are displayed and the user need to click a button with a clear label (edit this drive) to be able to display the usual interface used to edit drives.

But this is just a quick thought, my desire is more to point out an area for improvement than to claim that I have the solution.

I hope this topic will be somewhat useful, and thanks for the great software!

Best Regards,


P.S.: the computer on which I had my mishap is a spare computer that I was using to clean up old hard drives, thanks to rsync I should be able to back up the old data stored on it without any damage, so I will certainly only have lost time!


Re: gparted should explicitely asks user to choose which partition to work

First sorry for your data loss.  I hope you are able to get everything back.


This is general information about what GParted already provides and how it should be used:

1. Disk dropdown near the top right identifies the drive device name and size.

2. Preview of Pending Operations will report "Delete /dev/sda1 (fstype, size) from /dev/sda".

3. File system labels are always displayed.  It is therefore recommended to always label file systems using unique and meaningful names.

4. View > Device Information additionally shows device model and serial number.

5. Always Save Details after Applying pending operations because it contains partition layout for all drives before starting and detailed results of every operation applied.


So far all the Linux graphical tools just load the available drives and present one by default to work with.  See screen shots in article Top 6 Partition Managers (CLI + GUI) for Linux.


Re: gparted should explicitely asks user to choose which partition to work

(I wasn't able to restore my filesystem (I used TestDisk) so I'm lucky to have spotted the problem and to have been able to backup my /home directory. Just going to update the whole system, not a bad thing. I avoided the disaster or the big waste of time.)

If you compare the screenshots of the different partition managers listed, you may notice that GNOME Disks, KDE Partition Manager and Qtparted, all the listed tools using a graphical interface except Gparted, clearly display all available disks as a list on the top left.

If you're used to reading from left to right, top to bottom, it's much more obvious than the tiny drop-down menu that gparted displays on the top right, and it's very unlikely that you'll miss this list before doing anything else, whereas you can clearly use gparted without even noticing the disk you're working on.

So I stand by my personal opinion: I believe a change in the user interface could save users from avoidable errors and data loss.