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Can't modify or wipe partitions on Mac OS

Posted on 2011-02-20
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Last Modified: 2013-11-24
Hi!

I need to install a Linux OS on my MacBook pro some days ago.

Before starting the installation, I already had dual boot with Bootcamp. My hard drive had two partitions accordingly.

After freeing some space from my Mac partition using the disk utility, I went to install Fedora 14 from the installation disk.

During the installation process,  according to what I read in many websites, I created 3 aditional partitions. A 200mb one with mounting point '/boot'. The main one with 10GB and mounting point '/'. The last one of 2gb as swap Linux.

The installation run smoothly.

After the system rebooted, it booted with Mac OS. Therefore, I downloaded and installed reFit. After doing a synchonization from the boot screen, and rebooting again, it worked fine. I was able to boot my system in either Mac, Windows or Linux.

The problem is that as I installed the software I needed on Linux, I run out of space on that partition. In that sense, I attempted to do the process again.

I went to disk utility on Mac Os to delete the new partitions and resize the Mac Os partition to make more free space. However, I found that I was unable to delete or change anything. A pop-window says "Mediakit informs that such partition does not exist".

I booted again from Fedora installation CD and deleted the 3 partitions. I went back to disk utility on Mac Os but could not do anything yet. Then, I booted this time with the Windows installation CD. According to the installer, the partitions were still there. I deleted all of them, except for the Mac one. I deleted another 200mb partition that appeared at the beginning of the disk.

After every change I required to do a sync again on the refit screen. The system booted most of the times straight from Mac Os. Sometimes showing the reFit screen.

After deleting even the Windows partition using Fedora installation disk I was able to login on Mac Os and resize the partition. Nevertheless, after installing Fedora and the 3 partitions again, I couldn't make it boot with reFit. Only Mac Os worked (fortunately) but I got a error booting system when booting Linux.

The boot disk utility on system settings  (Mac Os) doesn't seem to recognize the Linux partition. Te Bootcamp utility denies to do any change saying that the partition was not created with Bootcamp.

I couldnt do any further changes to the disk from the disk utility because I had the error: mediakit informs that that partition doesn't exist.

Finally, I decided to wipe everything (at least that is what I tried) and restore the system using Time Machine. So I did.

Surprisingly, even when the resting process was smooth but long, the Linux partitions are still there!! And I can not still do changes because of the mediakit error.

I tried installing reFit again but it boots straight to Mac Os.

At this point, I'm going to try installing Fedora again (with the hope that I can modify the partitions from there) and the work on reFit to see if I can make it work. At least, now I have the free space I need.

Any ideas?
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Question by:cicloide
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7 Comments
 
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Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34937658
This is the report from Partition Inspector:


*** Report for internal hard disk ***

Current GPT partition table:
 #      Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1           2048       409599  Basic Data
 2         409640    432584703  Mac OS X HFS+
 3      432846848    463218687  Basic Data
 4      463218688    467314687  Linux Swap
 5      467314688    467724287  EFI System (FAT)

Current MBR partition table:
 # A    Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1              1    488397167  ee  EFI Protective

MBR contents:
 Boot Code: Unknown, but bootable

Partition at LBA 2048:
 Boot Code: GRUB
 File System: ext3
 Listed in GPT as partition 1, type Basic Data

Partition at LBA 409640:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: HFS Extended (HFS+)
 Listed in GPT as partition 2, type Mac OS X HFS+

Partition at LBA 432846848:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: ext4
 Listed in GPT as partition 3, type Basic Data

Partition at LBA 463218688:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: Unknown
 Listed in GPT as partition 4, type Linux Swap

Partition at LBA 467314688:
 Boot Code: None (Non-system disk message)
 File System: FAT32
 Listed in GPT as partition 5, type EFI System (FAT)

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Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34937702
Last update to my problem:

I reinstalled reFit and booted with the ALT key, selected reFIT and did a Sync. The boot menu now appears. I can boot from MAC OS normally. If I boot from Linux it says Error loading Operating System.

Partition Inspector now reports:

See code

Now I'll try to boot from Fedora installation disk to see if I can fix the booting problem and, in the worst case, to reinstall Linux.
*** Report for internal hard disk ***

Current GPT partition table:
 #      Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1           2048       409599  Basic Data
 2         409640    432584703  Mac OS X HFS+
 3      432846848    463218687  Basic Data
 4      463218688    467314687  Linux Swap
 5      467314688    467724287  EFI System (FAT)

Current MBR partition table:
 # A    Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1              1         2047  ee  EFI Protective
 2 *         2048       409599  83  Linux
 3         409640    432584703  af  Mac OS X HFS+
 4      432846848    463218687  83  Linux

MBR contents:
 Boot Code: Unknown, but bootable

Partition at LBA 2048:
 Boot Code: GRUB
 File System: ext3
 Listed in GPT as partition 1, type Basic Data
 Listed in MBR as partition 2, type 83  Linux, active

Partition at LBA 409640:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: HFS Extended (HFS+)
 Listed in GPT as partition 2, type Mac OS X HFS+
 Listed in MBR as partition 3, type af  Mac OS X HFS+

Partition at LBA 432846848:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: ext4
 Listed in GPT as partition 3, type Basic Data
 Listed in MBR as partition 4, type 83  Linux

Partition at LBA 463218688:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: Unknown
 Listed in GPT as partition 4, type Linux Swap

Partition at LBA 467314688:
 Boot Code: None (Non-system disk message)
 File System: FAT32
 Listed in GPT as partition 5, type EFI System (FAT)

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Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34937836
So I booted from Fedora's  installation CD and deleted the two partitions. I was unable to delete the swap partition. Altough, it was gone when I booted back on MAC OS.

Now I have full control of the partitions on MAC OS again and reFit is installed and working.

The initial concern is solved. Now I'm going to install Linux again with the right size of the partitions.
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LVL 1

Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34937843
For the records... This is the final Partition Inspector report
*** Report for internal hard disk ***

Current GPT partition table:
 #      Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1           2048       409599  Basic Data
 2         409640    432584703  Mac OS X HFS+

Current MBR partition table:
 # A    Start LBA      End LBA  Type
 1              1    488397167  ee  EFI Protective

MBR contents:
 Boot Code: Unknown, but bootable

Partition at LBA 2048:
 Boot Code: GRUB
 File System: ext3
 Listed in GPT as partition 1, type Basic Data

Partition at LBA 409640:
 Boot Code: None
 File System: HFS Extended (HFS+)
 Listed in GPT as partition 2, type Mac OS X HFS+

Open in new window

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Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34938244
I have tried many times but can't go around the Loading Operating system error
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Author Comment

by:cicloide
ID: 34941010
I finally found a work around after trying everything.

First, leave the first 200Mb of the hard drive alone. Even if you deleted the EFI partition.
Then follow the instructions at http://www.cenolan.com/2009/06/installing-fedora-11-on-a-macbook/

Later, to set the backlight of the keyboard use:

su -c 'echo 255 > /sys/devices/platform/applesmc.768/leds/smc\:\:kbd_backlight/brightness'

Enjoy linux on your mac
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