#8 Partition sync creates FAT out of ext3

Ed Zaron

I am trying to install dual-boot linux/OS X on a new Mac Pro, running
10.4.7. Software update reports that my software is up to date.

1) Used Boot Camp to create a 150GB windows partition (it complained
about max FAT32 size of 32 GB, but it seemed to work).
2) Installed rEFIt.
3) Used the Ubuntu Live/Install disk to boot into linux (required "irqpoll
no-hlt" boot options).
4) Created partitions and installed linux:
4.5) Output of parted print (from linux):
Disk geometry for /dev/sda: 0kB - 250GB
Number Start End File system Name Flags
1 20kB 210MB fat32 EFI System Partition boot
2 210MB 88GB hfs+ Customer
3 88GB 93GB linux-swap
4 93GB 250GB ext3 boot

I followed the directions at http://bin-false.org/?p=1? to create the
partition tables, install linux, and install lilo.

4.6) The rEFIt Partitioning tool says:
Starting gptsync.efi

Current GPT partition table:
# Start LBA End LBA Type
1 40 40969 EFI System (FAT)
2 409640 172376103 Mac OS X HFS+
3 172376104 180762664 Linux Swap
4 180762665 488392064 EFI System (FAT)

Current MBR partition table:

Status: Tables are synchronized. No need to sync.

5) When I first ran the EFI partition tool, it did re-sync the partition
tables, but unfortunately, I did not write down the initial state.

6) From OS X, "diskutil list" presents the same information as above.

Is there a means within rEFIt to correct the partition table from the
rEFIt/OS X perspective?

It would be great if you have time to help me with this. I read in
another post that you were looking for a Mac Pro account. I may be
able to help you with this.


  • StarQuake

    StarQuake - 2006-11-04

    Logged In: YES

    I'm having the same problem.

  • Artur Wyszynski

    Artur Wyszynski - 2006-11-06

    Logged In: YES

    macbook - the same problem

  • Christian Walther

    Logged In: YES

    Same problem here on a MacBookPro2,2 (Core 2 Duo). The refit sync tool changes partition type in the MBR from 0x83 to 0xEF,
    which prevents lilo from booting from it. As a workaround, you can correct this using fdisk in Linux. The partition was originally
    created using diskutil in Mac OS X with type "Linux", but both "diskutil list" and refit now display it as "EFI" in the GPT.

  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Logged In: NO

    Same proble on Macbook Late 2006 (core 2 duo).
    Thanks for any detailed tip on fixing that (restore type and name) without harming existing partitions.

  • Christoph Pfisterer

    Logged In: YES
    Originator: NO

    If the GPT table lists the Linux partition as type "EFI System Partition", then that's the fault of the partitioning tool that last touched the GPT -- that would be either GNU parted or Apple's diskutil. rEFIt's gptsync does not change the GPT. It will, however, trust what's listed in GPT and sync that to the MBR. Since this is a common problem, I may implement a workaround for this special case in the next version.

    That said, you really want to file a bug against the partitioning tool that puts "EFI System Partition" (C12A7328-F81F-11D2-BA4B-00A0C93EC93B) in the GPT in the first place. (I suspect it's GNU parted. If Apple's diskutil was misbehaving that badly, there would be much more noise about this.)

  • Christoph Pfisterer

    • assigned_to: nobody --> chrisp
  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Logged In: NO

    same problem ...

    Was working fine with version 0.7 but after a complete reinstall ... doesn't work with refit .8

  • Christoph Pfisterer

    • status: open --> open-accepted
  • Christoph Pfisterer

    Logged In: YES
    Originator: NO

    I checked the GNU parted source code. Its GPT handling is horribly broken. The internal abstract "boot" flag that is used to represent the "active" partition in an MBR table is also interpreted by the GPT handling code, but in a very different way. When used on a GPT disk, parted sets the partition type of any partition with that flag to "EFI System", regardless of the filesystem actually contained in it. This is just plain stupid and also happens to violate the EFI spec.

    I've already added file system detection to gptsync, and I'll add workaround code for this situation as well, so in the next release of rEFIt at least the MBR table will get the right partition type. There's not much I can do for the GPT side without writing a massive amount of code. gptsync is designed to be one way only (GPT -> MBR), and not to fix bloody mistakes in other partitioning tools (parted in this case).

    Feel free to complain loudly to the GNU parted project and to your Linux distribution about this problem.

  • Christoph Pfisterer

    • status: open-accepted --> open-fixed
  • Christoph Pfisterer

    Logged In: YES
    Originator: NO

    I have implemented a workaround for the parted EFI System Partition problem; if anyone is willing to test it please contact me directly.

  • Nobody/Anonymous

    Logged In: NO

    i have the same problem..parted gives me a different layout then refit does
    here is parted
    (parted) print

    Disk /dev/sda: 80.0GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt

    Number Start End Size File system Name Flags
    1 20.5kB 210MB 210MB fat32 EFI System Partition boot
    2 210MB 12.2GB 12.0GB hfs+ Apple_HFS_Untitled_1
    3 12.2GB 12.8GB 617MB linux-swap
    4 12.8GB 28.5GB 15.7GB ext3 boot
    5 28.5GB 80.0GB 51.5GB ext3

    but when i try to change the mbr with fdisk refit tries to change the 4th primary partition to FAT

    here is before i write the mbr to disk in fdisk
    Command (m for help): print

    Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 1 26 204819+ ee EFI GPT
    /dev/sda2 * 26 1479 11675247+ af Unknown
    /dev/sda3 1480 1554 602437+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda4 * 1555 3466 15358140 83 Linux

    then i write to disk and run gptsyncCurrent GPT partition table:
    # Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 40 409639 EFI System (FAT)
    2 409640 23760134 Mac OS X HFS+
    3 23760135 24965009 Linux Swap
    4 24965010 55681289 EFI System (FAT)
    5 55681290 156296384 Basic Data

    Current MBR partition table:
    # A Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 1 409639 ee EFI Protective
    2 * 409640 23760134 af Mac OS X HFS+
    3 23760135 24965009 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    4 * 24965010 55681289 83 Linux

    Status: MBR table must be updated.

    Proposed new MBR partition table:
    # A Start LBA End LBA Type
    1 1 409639 ee EFI Protective
    2 * 409640 23760134 af Mac OS X HFS+
    3 23760135 24965009 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    4 * 24965010 55681289 ef EFI System (FAT)

    i cant boot without refit saying that the fourth is FAT


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