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#1 2012-09-06 08:37:05

soul_rebel
Member
Registered: 2012-09-06
Posts: 24

Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

I am baffled from this problem I am having in installing archlinux on my new laptop, a dell latitude e6430 (that came with ubuntu!).

I have:
zeroed the MBR, created a new partition table with fdisk and installed grub2 normally. Upon reboot i got:
"Invalid partition table!"
Note the exclamation mark: is this a even message from GRUB or is it from the BIOS?

I tried again with GPT partitioning using gdisk and did a new installation, same message.

The strangest thing is that if I boot from the installation cd and then select to boot the hard drive from the menu it works: grub loads and the system boots fine and opening the partition table with fdisk or gdisk shows no anomalies.

Frankly I don't know what to try now.

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#2 2012-09-11 15:14:12

seblu
Developer
From: Paris
Registered: 2011-01-20
Posts: 8

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Same issue with e6430 and e6230 with BIOS v1 and v2.
It seems those models needs a partition flagged bootable to doesn't have this message.
Use "a" command in fdisk.

Last edited by seblu (2012-09-11 15:14:40)

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#3 2012-09-12 10:02:25

soul_rebel
Member
Registered: 2012-09-06
Posts: 24

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Thanks. I am pretty sure I had an active partition (with GPT there still is one technically)... anyway with a little effort I learned UEFI and started using that.
I also upgraded the bios to v3. I tend to think this is a bios bug which does not show when using uefi boot.
Maybe the upgrade could have fixed the bug by itself, as the changelog speaks of "improvements" to the boot process; have you had a chance to test if v3 fixes the issue?

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#4 2012-09-12 13:08:53

Mr.Elendig
#archlinux@freenode channel op
From: The intertubes
Registered: 2004-11-07
Posts: 3,714

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

You should contact the maker of the hardware.


Evil #archlinux@freenode channel op and general support dude.
. files on github, Screenshots, Random pics and the rest

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#5 2012-11-09 13:24:49

rdw
Member
Registered: 2012-07-02
Posts: 10

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Hi,

I am currently trying to install Arch Linux on a Dell Latitude E6230, and have run into exactly this phenomenon.

I would prefer not to use UEFI - has anyone figured out a partition table which the BIOS will accept?

Thanks!

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#6 2012-11-09 14:09:19

soul_rebel
Member
Registered: 2012-09-06
Posts: 24

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

I have not figured out exactly what gets checked. I agree with Seblu: mark one partition as active, that surely is a start. Possibly try the latest BIOS...

I just figured out that these BIOSes suck and also have ACPI problems. Is even there a bug reporting site for Dell?

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#7 2012-11-09 14:36:51

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,604

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Has anyone tried using syslinux instead of grub?

Also, it seems like posting your partition tables would be a good idea...


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
-Lysander Spooner

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#8 2012-11-09 17:38:45

Mr.Elendig
#archlinux@freenode channel op
From: The intertubes
Registered: 2004-11-07
Posts: 3,714

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

rdw wrote:

Hi,

I am currently trying to install Arch Linux on a Dell Latitude E6230, and have run into exactly this phenomenon.

I would prefer not to use UEFI - has anyone figured out a partition table which the BIOS will accept?

Thanks!

If your hardware does uefi, use uefi, it avoids so many issues.

alphaniner wrote:

Has anyone tried using syslinux instead of grub?

No, no one has ever tried syslinux. It was written but never tested nor used by anyone. Anyone who tell you they use syslinux are liars.

Last edited by Mr.Elendig (2012-11-09 17:39:12)


Evil #archlinux@freenode channel op and general support dude.
. files on github, Screenshots, Random pics and the rest

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#9 2012-11-09 19:22:29

rdw
Member
Registered: 2012-07-02
Posts: 10

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Thanks for the replies.

alphaniner wrote:

Has anyone tried using syslinux instead of grub?

Also, it seems like posting your partition tables would be a good idea...

I have in fact only tried it with syslinux and GPT. (I have had no problem with syslinux on a different laptop.)

I have tried a few variations of the partition table: a standard root/boot/var/home partition table (along the lines of the wiki with minor size variations), with and without an extra 2MB partition with code EF02, and with and without the attribute enabling suggested in the wiki.

It is rather painful to go through the whole installation to check whether a particular variation works - would there be a shortcut?

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#10 2012-11-09 19:51:34

alphaniner
Member
From: Ancapistan
Registered: 2010-07-12
Posts: 2,604

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Regarding syslinux, I thought since that's what the installer used it might be worth a try.  So much for that.

To avoid reinstall, I'm sure there are tutorials on backing up your system for restoration to a different p-table.  It's not really difficult, but if you're unfamilar with that sort of thing it may take a while to grok it.  You may be better off just backing up the packages so you don't have to re-download them.  I'm sure whatever mirror you're using would appreciate that in any case.


But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain - that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.
-Lysander Spooner

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#11 2012-11-10 09:04:35

soul_rebel
Member
Registered: 2012-09-06
Posts: 24

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

I think that with GPT you won't boot: windows does not support gpt in bios mode and the MBR is fixed no matter what GPT partitioning you have (it contains only the "protective" partition). I hope that the bios failing check is only on the mbr, since there really should not be checking at all.
My guess is that you either try a simple DOS partitioning or take the uefi medicine.

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#12 2012-11-10 21:45:52

rdw
Member
Registered: 2012-07-02
Posts: 10

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Thanks again for the replies.

soul_rebel wrote:

I think that with GPT you won't boot: windows does not support gpt in bios mode and the MBR is fixed no matter what GPT partitioning you have (it contains only the "protective" partition). I hope that the bios failing check is only on the mbr, since there really should not be checking at all.
My guess is that you either try a simple DOS partitioning or take the uefi medicine.

I have now indeed got it to work with a standard MBR partition table (still with syslinux).

I read the wiki as suggesting that if one does not need to boot Windows or to use Grub Legacy, then GPT or MBR is a matter of choice: I met these criteria, but at least for this laptop, it seems that GPT is not accepted by the BIOS (as mentioned in my earlier post, I tried both following and not following the suggestion of the 'Warning' in the wiki), so that the choice appears rather to be between MBR and UEFI.

Last edited by rdw (2012-11-10 21:46:18)

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#13 2012-11-11 08:35:27

Markus00000
Member
Registered: 2011-03-27
Posts: 281

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

rdw wrote:

I have now indeed got it to work with a standard MBR partition table (still with syslinux).

I fail to understand how you got it working. Can you please explain it in more detail?

I have a MBR partition table written by cfdisk, I'm using syslinux and the BIOS is up to date. My root partition with /boot on it is active and a logical partition.

Booting from the hard disk via a live CD works. Booting directly from the hard disk gives "Invalid partition table!"

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#14 2012-11-11 09:22:43

rdw
Member
Registered: 2012-07-02
Posts: 10

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Markus00000 wrote:

Can you please explain it in more detail?

The partition table is as follows:

     Device     Boot      Id     System 
  
/dev/sda1         *       83     Linux
/dev/sda2                 83     Linux
/dev/sda3                 82     Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda5                 83     Linux
/dev/sda6                 83     Linux

All the partitions except the swap partition have the Ext4 filesystem.

Here are the mountpoints:

sda1 ----> boot
sda2 ----> root
sda5 ----> var
sda6 ----> home

I wonder whether the significant difference with your partition table is that you have the root partition as a logical partition, if I understood you correctly?

In particular, I have a boot partition as a primary partition, but I do not think that this is essential - when trying to get it to work, I checked to see if the default Ubuntu partition would work, and it did. This has, I think, only a root partition and a swap partition, but the root partition is primary (the swap partition is logical).

Booting from the hard disk via a live CD works. Booting directly from the hard disk gives "Invalid partition table!"

Yes, this is exactly what happened in my case before.

I do not, I think, have the latest BIOS (I have A01).

Last edited by rdw (2012-11-11 11:09:52)

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#15 2012-11-11 14:26:10

Markus00000
Member
Registered: 2011-03-27
Posts: 281

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Thanks, rdw! The only difference I see is that my root partition (including /boot) is indeed a logical partition. Not sure if I want to invest the time to change it to a primary partition though. :-)

Edit: [SOLVED] for me. I did change the root partition to a primary partition and the system is able to boot without a live CD. Thanks a lot rdw for the hint!

Last edited by Markus00000 (2012-11-11 15:27:11)

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#16 2012-11-11 15:46:13

srs5694
Member
From: Woonsocket, RI
Registered: 2012-11-06
Posts: 719
Website

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Markus00000 wrote:

Thanks, rdw! The only difference I see is that my root partition (including /boot) is indeed a logical partition. Not sure if I want to invest the time to change it to a primary partition though. :-)

I realize you say you've done the conversion, but not how. For future reference, FixParts (part of my GPT fdisk package, called "gptfdisk" in Arch) can do this conversion, albeit with some caveats: The resulting partition table must conform to the MBR requirements. Thus, you must have at least one free primary partition "slot" and the result must leave all the logical partitions in one block (so you can't convert a single logical partition that's sandwiched between logical partitions).

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#17 2012-11-11 19:28:54

rdw
Member
Registered: 2012-07-02
Posts: 10

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

No problem Markus00000, glad it was of help!

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#18 2012-11-11 21:54:03

Markus00000
Member
Registered: 2011-03-27
Posts: 281

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

srs5694 wrote:

I realize you say you've done the conversion, but not how

Well, I didn't do a real conversion. :-) I did a backup of the logical root partition to an external disk. Then I booted a GParted live CD, deleted the root partition, shrinked the extended partition and created a new primary root partition within the freed space. Using the Arch live CD, I used rsync -av to restore the root partition from the backup and arch-chrooted into it. As I use labels I didn't have to edit my syslinux config. (Then I reinstalled syslinux to the MBR though I can't remember why or even if that was needed.)

Last edited by Markus00000 (2012-11-11 21:55:17)

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#19 2012-11-12 00:17:05

WonderWoofy
Member
From: Los Gatos, CA
Registered: 2012-05-19
Posts: 8,412

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

Syslinux is unable to boot from a logical partition.  I think that this functionality is included with grub2.  I am not sure about other bootloaders.  Syslinux is awesome and super simple.  But with that simplicity comes limitations.  Though in my opinion a bootloader is meant to be simple, I liked grub but grub2 is a bit over the top for me.  (Then again, I did in fact end up going the route of uefi without a traditional bootloader, so maybe I just don't like bootloaders at all.  Though I still keep syslinux as a backup since they don't interfere)

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#20 2012-11-12 07:59:41

Markus00000
Member
Registered: 2011-03-27
Posts: 281

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

WonderWoofy wrote:

Syslinux is unable to boot from a logical partition.

Are you sure? I couldn't find any mention of this limitation on the Syslinux website or in the Arch wiki. The latter even says somewhere:

Syslinux was installed on the first logical partition (/dev/sda5) of the disk.

Also, the "Invalid partition table!" error message has an exclamation mark. I would be a bit surprised if Grub and Syslinux showed this exact message, though I don't know because searching for exclamation marks is hard.

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#21 2013-04-03 22:56:42

virtualeyes
Member
Registered: 2013-02-24
Posts: 17

Re: Invalid partition table! but boots when chainloading from the cd

I hit the non-bootable logical partition issue as well. Have never gotten my hands grubby until today.

Installed Windows 7 on 2ndary SSD, ntfs boot partition, sdb1 primary -- all good, OS boots no problem.

Wanted to clone Linux from primary SSD for backup/rescue, so gparted the partitions over to 2ndary drive, modifying fstab and grub config accordingly.

Set logical sdb5 boot partition with boot flag, and then installed grub into sdb5 (not sdb)

Reboot >> invalid partition error

Try again, this time install grub into MBR (sdb) and voila, grub menu displays with Windows 7 as menu item.

Was worried that grub would blow away Windows boot data, but apparently Grub is friendlier than Windows ;-)

Here are my notes:

1) needed to --bind dev,sys,proc from live/working system (assume works from livecd)
mount --bind /dev /mnt/dev
mount --bind /sys /mnt/sys
mount --bind /proc /mnt/proc

2) mount target drive partition(s)
mount /dev/sdb6 /mnt
mount /dev/sdb5 /mnt/boot (optional if no boot partition)
mount /dev/sdb7 /mnt/var (optional if no var partition)

3) chroot to target
chroot /mnt

4) install grub to MBR (sdX) of target drive
grub2-install /dev/sdb

5) omit primary drive OS from /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober

after this block:
if [ -z "${LONGNAME}" ] ; then
  LONGNAME="${LABEL}"
fi

add whatever device /dev/sdXx contains your primary drive OS:
if [ "${DEVICE}" = "/dev/sda2" ] ; then
  continue
fi

4) make grub config
grub2-mkconfig -o /boot/grub2/grub.cfg
(shows latest kernels + Windows, we have dual boot)

5) exit chroot, unmount, and reboot
ctrl+d
umount /mnt/sys /mnt/dev /mnt/proc /mnt/boot /mnt/var /mnt
reboot

So, grub2 does support booting from a logical partition, just need to be sure to install into sdX and not sdX1 (2,3,etc.)

Last edited by virtualeyes (2013-04-03 23:03:49)

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