Skip site navigation (1)Skip section navigation (2)
Date:      Fri, 22 Jan 2010 22:06:19 +0800
From:      Fbsd1 <>
To:        John <>
Cc:        freebsd-questions <>
Subject:   Re: "Invalid partition table" after installation
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <>	<>	<>	<>	<>	<>	<> <>

Next in thread | Previous in thread | Raw E-Mail | Index | Archive | Help
John wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 06:36:14AM -0600, John wrote:
>> On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 08:16:59PM +0800, Fbsd1 wrote:
>>> John wrote:
>>>> On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 10:25:26PM +0800, Fbsd1 wrote:
>>>>> John wrote:
>>>>>> On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 04:38:22PM +0800, Fbsd1 wrote:
>>>>>>> John wrote:
>>>>>>>> I've tried the "modern BIOS" geometry and the "255 head" geometry.
>>>>>>>> I've ensured that the first slice (boot slice) is smaller than 1.5
>>>>>>>> Gb.  I've tried to figure out what the BIOS thinks the geometry
>>>>>>>> is, but it doesn't seem to want to tell me.  At least, I can't find
>>>>>>>> it in the BIOS menu anywhere.  When I boot from the CD-ROM with
>>>>>>>> the 255 head geometry, though, it complains about the disk geometry,
>>>>>>>> saying 16h,63s != 255h,63s or something like that - it flies by
>>>>>>>> pretty fast (is there a way to go back and see that from the CD-ROM
>>>>>>>> "boot only" boot?).
>>>>>>>> I'm using the "Standard" boot manager, and the entire disk is devoted
>>>>>>>> to FreeBSD.
>>>>>>>> System
>>>>>>>> BIOS version  PT84510A.86A.2004.P05
>>>>>>>> Processor Type: Intel Pentium 4
>>>>>>>> Processor speed: 2.20Ghz
>>>>>>>> Memory: 512Mb
>>>>>>>> Disk: Primary IDE Master ST380021A (Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 80Gb)
>>>>>>>> Primary IDE Slave: IOMega ZIP 250
>>>>>>>> Secondary IDE Master: Sony CD-RW CRX19 (what I boot from to install)
>>>>>>>> Secondary IDE Slave: DVD-ROM DDU1621
>>>>>>>> Boot sequence:
>>>>>>>> 1) ATAPI CD-ROM
>>>>>>>> 2) Hard Drive
>>>>>>>> 3) "Removable Dev."
>>>>>>>> "Modern BIOS" geometry: 155061/16/63 for ad0
>>>>>>>> "calculated" geometry: 9729/255/63 for ad0
>>>>>>>> ad0s1 start=63, size=2875572
>>>>>>>> ad0s2 start=2875635, size=10217340
>>>>>>>> ad0s3 start=13092975, size=143203410
>>>>>>>> unus  start=156296384, size=5103
>>>>>>>> ad0s1a / 384Mb
>>>>>>>> ad0s1d /usr 1Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s2b SWAP 1Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s2d /tmp 384Mb
>>>>>>>> ad0s2e /var 512Mb
>>>>>>>> ad0s2f /var/mail 2Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s2g /usr/ports 1Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s3d /home/mysql 4Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s3e /home 50Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s3f /usr/src 3Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s3g /usr/obj 3Gb
>>>>>>>> ad0s3h /extra 8483Mb
>>>>>>>> Suggestions, please?  I'm making zero headway right now. :(
>>>>>>> What version of FreeBSD are you running????
>>>>>> Well, yes, I suppose that would be a good bit of information!
>>>>>> What I'm *TRYING* to run is 8.0.  It seems to install successfully
>>>>>> (of course - after doing all that), but then when I try to boot
>>>>>> from the hard drive, I see an otherwise-blank screen that says:
>>>>>> Invalid partition table
>>>>>> and that's as far as it goes!
>>>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>>>> mailing list
>>>>>>> To unsubscribe, send any mail to ""
>>>>> There are reports of this sort of thing caused by 8.0 fdisk when doing a 
>>>>> install from scratch over a hard drive that all ready has an older 
>>>>> version of Freebsd installed on it.
>>>>> The solution is to force the scratching of the MBR on the disk first 
>>>>> before running sysinstall fdisk.
>>>>> Boot a LiveFS CD, then at a root prompt do:
>>>>> sysctl kern.geom.debugflags=16  and:
>>>>> dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/adx oseek=1 bs=512 count=1
>>>>> where x equals your drive number.
>>>> OK.  I did exactly that.  I confirmed that the second 512 bytes were zero
>>>> by doing a dd if/dev/ad0 bs=512 count=2 | od -c
>>>> and everything from 001000 through 002000 was zero.
>>>> But I still got "Invalid partition table" after the installation.
>>>> I guess I should set up one of my other systems as a local mirror.
>>>> I've done the installation so many time already, and it looks like
>>>> I'm not done yet!
>>> On the 8.0 fdisk/MBR subject.
>>> Doing dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/adx oseek=1 bs=512 count=1 was the
>>> solution from another post to the list with subject 'SunFire X2100
>>> fails'. Here is another post that gives more details
>>> www/db/text/2009/freebsd-questions/20091227.freebsd-questions
>>> It seems in 8.0 gpart was introduced and a change was made to fdisk to
>>> support its sector o mbr format. 8.0 fdisk and disklabel are now broken.
>>> Searching the list archives may shed more light on your problem.
>> Hmmm.  This seems to describe a case where fdisk fails to change
>> the slice table.  That is definitely not my case.  The changes
>> certainly get made.  The next time I go to retry the installation,
>> it has the information I gave it the previous time.  I suppose it is
>> possible that it is putting it (and reading it) in the wrong location,
>> which is why the MBR throws up.
>> The problem is that I have a finite (and smallish) amount of time
>> in which to solve this.  It seems like the most expedient route
>> forward at this point may be to try to install 7.2 and see how
>> that goes.
> OK - well, I just tried with 7.2.  I got exactly the same results.
> After what seems like a successful installation, I try to boot from
> the hard disk and get "Invalid partition table."  Should I try Boot
> Manager?  Could that make a difference?  Is it possible that this
> combination of BIOS, processor, disk drive, etc., just isn't going
> to to do for me?  I can't just keep throwing hours at this problem.

Something is wrong with the MBR. Do
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad0 count=1  to blank out the MBR

Do you have a bootable win98 cd or floppy that contains the msdos fdisk 
pgm. If so boot that and fdisk the hard drive. If not do you have a XP 
install cd? Boot that and select fdisk and format. After format 
completes the xp install will auto reboot. Pull the xp cd, power off and 
try the 7.2 install again. If you have another desktop running xp. Open 
the box and cable that hard drive to the motherboard, power up and use 
windows explorer to select that hard drive. you will get prompt that 
drive is unformated. answer yes to format.
Bottom line is use some other system to fdisk that hard drive before 
trying 7.2 again.

One last thing to ask. Before you tried to install 8.0 on that hard 
drive was it running some other operating system. Can the hard drive be 
dead and you not know it??

Want to link to this message? Use this URL: <>