Learn the Linux Command 'vgdisplay'

The 'vgdisplay' tool shows metadata about your virtual volume groups

The vgdisplay command, common in Linux systems, displays various attributes about volume groups. A volume group is merely a collection of logical volumes that are linked in some logical way. For example, a person with several internal and external hard disks might use separate volume groups for each set of drives, given that Linux expects its volumes to remain persistent (e.g., not disappearing when you unplug the drive).

Vgdisplay displays the attributes of VolumeGroupName (or all volume groups if none is given) with its physical and logical volumes and their sizes and related metadata. 

The vgdisplay command may not be installed on your system. If your system doesn't use virtual volumes, there's no value in running this program.


A partition is a physical part a storage medium like a hard disk or a flash drive. A volume, by contrast, can span physical media. For example, a person with one hard disk that has five partitions might see between one and five volumes, depending on how the volumes are defined relative to the partitions.

Although it's more common in larger corporate settings than in most home setups, the use of several logical volumes and volume groups is part of a systems administrative technique called logical volume management—usually just called LVM.


The command takes the following general form:

vgdisplay [-A|--activevolumegroups] [-c|--colon] [-d|--debug] [-D|--disk] [-h|--help] [-s|--short] [-v[v]|--verbose [--verbose]] [--version] [VolumeGroupName...]  


The command accepts the following options:

  • -A--activevolumegroups: Only select the active volume groups.
  • -c--colon: Generate colon-separated output for easier parsing in scripts or programs.
  • -d--debug: Enables additional debugging output.
  • -D--disk: Show attributes from the volume group descriptor area on disk(s). Without this switch, they are shown from the kernel. It's useful if the volume group isn't activated.
  • -h--help: Print a usage message on standard output and exit successfully.
  • -s--short: Give a short listing showing the existence of volume groups.
  • -v--verbose: Display verbose information containing long listings of physical and logical volumes. If given twice, also display verbose runtime information of vgdisplay's activities.
  • --version: Display version and exit successfully.

The colon values are:

1 volume group name
2 volume group access
3 volume group status
4 internal volume group number
5 maximum number of logical volumes
6 current number of logical volumes
7 open count of all logical volumes in this volume group
8 maximum logical volume size
9 maximum number of physical volumes
10 current number of physical volumes
11 actual number of physical volumes
12 size of volume group in kilobytes
13 physical extent size
14 total number of physical extents for this volume group
15 allocated number of physical extents for this volume group
16 free number of physical extents for this volume group
17 uuid of volume group

Cognate Commands

The vgdisplay command doesn't appear on its own; it's part of a suite of commands related to virtual volumes. Other commonly used, and related, commands include:

  • vgcreate: Create a volume group.
  • vgremove: Remove a volume group.
  • vgrename: Rename a volume group.
  • vgscan: Scan the filesystem for volume groups.
  • lvcreate: Create a logical volume.
  • lvremove: Remove a logical volume.
  • lvrename: Rename a logical volume.
  • lvcan: Scan the filesystem for logical volumes.
  • lvdisplay: Show the attributes of an individual logical volume.
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