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Date:      Fri, 22 Jan 2010 16:35:21 -0600
From:      John <john@starfire.mn.org>
To:        Fbsd1 <fbsd1@a1poweruser.com>
Cc:        freebsd-questions <questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   Re: "Invalid partition table" after installation (GOOD NEWS!)
Message-ID:  <20100122163521.A37927@starfire.mn.org>
In-Reply-To: <20100122110102.A31702@starfire.mn.org>; from john@starfire.mn.org on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:01:02AM -0600
References:  <20100121014759.B3377@starfire.mn.org> <4B58127E.9000106@a1poweruser.com> <20100121065206.B8574@starfire.mn.org> <4B5863D6.2000800@a1poweruser.com> <20100121180336.B17543@starfire.mn.org> <4B59973B.8040203@a1poweruser.com> <20100122063614.A27734@starfire.mn.org> <20100122072756.A28958@starfire.mn.org> <20100122080950.B28958@starfire.mn.org> <20100122110102.A31702@starfire.mn.org>

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On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 11:01:02AM -0600, John wrote:
> On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 08:09:50AM -0600, John wrote:
> > On Fri, Jan 22, 2010 at 07:27:56AM -0600, 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!
> > > > > >>>
> > > > > >>>> _______________________________________________
> > > > > >>>> freebsd-questions@freebsd.org mailing list
> > > > > >>>> http://lists.freebsd.org/mailman/listinfo/freebsd-questions
> > > > > >>>> To unsubscribe, send any mail to "freebsd-questions-unsubscribe@freebsd.org"
> > > > > >> 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
> > > > > http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/getmsg.cgi?fetch=322687+326879+/usr/local/
> > > > > 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.
> > > -- 
> > > 
> > 
> > OK!  Well!  Good news!  After a sort.
> > 
> > I switched to BootMgr, and it came right up with 8.0!
> > 
> > Slight downside - extra prompt during boot, and of course, it
> > offers me all three slices, when I only need to boot from
> > one.
> > 
> > Is that's what's wrong with "Standard" MBR?  Are all three FSD
> > partitions (type 165) marked bootable and that's upsetting it?
> > Can I change it so only one of them is marked bootable?
> > 
> > Anyway, it appears that there is a problem with the "Standard" MBR
> > boot.  I don't think I was doing anything that unnatural - I wanted
> > quite a few file systems, so I used multiple slices, both to keep
> > the boot slice below 1.5Gb and to be able to support all the file
> > systems I wanted, and maybe that's what upset it.  I don't know.
> > All I know is that Standard MBR didn't work, and BootMgr does.
> > 
> > I'm willing to spend SOME time trying to debug / fix this for the
> > good of the community and the next poor sucker who comes along
> > behind me, but I need to move somewhat quickly.  I actually plan
> > to use this machine!
> 
> OK - my current best theory is that if the Standard boot manager
> is faced with anything other than exactly 1 bootable slice (partition
> to it), it defaults to "Invalid partition table."  I'll bet anyone
> lunch that this is true.  Any takers?
> 
> I'll test my theory tonight and let you all know how it turns out.
> If this is true, then we should at least post some warnings, if not
> actually fix the installation process so that if you choose "Standard,"
> it helps ensure that you have one and only one bootable slice/partition!
> 
> Whaddaya think?
> 
> Well, better it happen to me than someone from another community who is
> trying us out for the first time...

OK, so here's the update so far.  It was, indeed, the case that
all three slices (partitions) were marked as active (bootable), to wit:
The data for partition 1 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 63, size 2883825 (1408 Meg), flag 80 (active)
        beg: cyl 0/ head 1/ sector 1;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 2 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 2883888, size 10224144 (4992 Meg), flag 80 (active)
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 3 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 13108032, size 143193456 (69918 Meg), flag 80 (active)
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 4 is:
<UNUSED>

So - I used dd to make a copy of the MBR, and wrote a C program to
interpret it and clear the other two flags.  Once I was satisfied
with that, I used the sysctl from earlier in the thread (which I
assume allows me to actually change things) and dd to put the
modifed mbr back in place on sector 0.  Now fdisk reports
The data for partition 1 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 63, size 2883825 (1408 Meg), flag 80 (active)
        beg: cyl 0/ head 1/ sector 1;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 2 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 2883888, size 10224144 (4992 Meg), flag 0
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 3 is:
sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
    start 13108032, size 143193456 (69918 Meg), flag 0
        beg: cyl 1023/ head 255/ sector 63;
        end: cyl 1023/ head 15/ sector 63
The data for partition 4 is:
<UNUSED>

So - there's only ONE active partition, but it still has bootmgr.

I have used dd and cat to manufacture a new boot record from
/boot/mbr and the parition (slide) table I've modified,
and I'm tempted to put THAT in place over this one, but I'm
afraid of what that might mean - are there other changes
to the structure of the disk that I need to make to switch from
BootMgr to the "Standard" MBR?  Even if my synthesized MBR
is correct, is it going to run into trouble at the next step?
Does it need a different "level 1" boot code?  Or should I just
use "fdisk -b /boot/mbr" rather than my synthesized mbr?
Will that take care of all the linkages (if any)?

I still think that the ultimate solution is to CHANGE THE
INSTALLATION PROCESS so that there is ONE and ONLY ONE
active partition when the "Standard" mbr is used.  Well, I'll
make that an even more general statement - let's change the
installation process so that ONLY THE FREEBSD PARTITION(s)
CONTAINING /boot GET THE ACTIVE FLAG SET.  There's nothing
to boot otherwise, anyway, right?

I'm not 100% sure how best to do this, but I have some ideas.  I
think it starts with having fdisk leave the flag off by default,
and only turn it on for slices where it has loaded boot code, but
maybe it's not that simple.

My concern is that it sounds like someone is already working on
fdisk / diskpart with an eye to replacing it, so maybe I'm
working on a "zombie" problem that's already "walking dead."
I have no interest in putting time and effort into that in
such a case, but I'm very willing to help in this area if it
will have some value.

Open to suggestions here, folks - what do you say?
-- 

John Lind
john@starfire.MN.ORG



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