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Cannot install fedora 23 with msdos partition table

asked 2016-05-16 10:04:40 -0600

nathan.huesken gravatar image

updated 2016-05-16 12:33:42 -0600

I am trying to install fedora 23 on my old computer, which is configured with msdos partition table. The installer gives me this error:

For some reason we were unable to locate a disklabel on a disk that the kernel is reporting partitions on. It is unclear what the exact problem is. Please file a bug at

gparted reports:

Can't have a partition outside the disk!

After that, I can see and modify the partition table just fine. This is its current sate:

sudo parted /dev/sda unit s print
Model: ATA WDC WD3200AAKS-7 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 625140335s
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
Partition Table: msdos
Disk Flags: 

Number  Start       End         Size        Type      File system  Flags
 1      2048s       718847s     716800s     primary   ntfs         boot
 2      718848s     327682047s  326963200s  primary   ntfs
 4      328660990s  621244415s  292583426s  extended
 5      408739840s  621244415s  212504576s  logical   ext4

What can I do?

Update The first 2 ntfs partitions (1 and 2) are from windows. The ext4 partition (5) is a linux data partition which I like to keep.

I have deleted the remaining paritions (/boot, / and swap). Creating them berfore starting the installer does not change anything.

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Are you trying to install in your 5th partition? /dev/sda5? it's not clear in the text.

X3MBoy gravatar imageX3MBoy ( 2016-05-16 12:00:09 -0600 )edit

@X3MBoy You are right. I have updated my question.

nathan.huesken gravatar imagenathan.huesken ( 2016-05-16 12:34:08 -0600 )edit

@nathan.huesken Can you also post the output from the following command? (Just that I am more familiar with fdisk)

sudo fdisk -lu

If I read it correctly, there should be some unused space before the ext4 partition in the extended partition. If you are not able to create your /boot / and swap partitions using that unused space, you could possibly back up data from ext4, deleted and recreate extended partition with 4 logical partitions - /boot, swap, /, ext4 data

When playing with the partition table, for safety I would recommend backing up your data to an external drive in any case.

JetStream gravatar imageJetStream ( 2016-05-17 06:01:37 -0600 )edit

If I'm doing the math correctly, you have ( 97843 unallocated sectors x 512b/sector x 1KB/1024b x 1MB / 1024KB ) = 477MB of free space. This is not enough free space. /dev/sda5 ends at the end of the disk, there is no more room.

The message about the bug is correct, anaconda cannot create a partitioning scheme for you. It could be that it cannot create a partition #3, which would be a bug in blivet, it's partitioning tool, or it could be that it recognizes that there is not room, which would be a bug because the installer should say that.

randomuser gravatar imagerandomuser ( 2016-05-18 08:43:07 -0600 )edit

Also try running gparted from a live disk/USB. The error messages indicate there is still a problem with the partition table. Also, if you can switch the console (ctrl-alt-f1, then alt-tab) in the installer, do "cat /proc/partitions" and show us the output of that. If you have another computer, then an easier way to get that info is to add "sshd" to the installer boot command line, then ssh to the computer you're installing on.

ssieb gravatar imagessieb ( 2016-05-18 13:59:15 -0600 )edit

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answered 2016-05-18 19:04:57 -0600

sixpack13 gravatar image

if recall correct you need to create a primary partition called "BIOS boot" during installation partitioning ! Bios boot is only 1 MB in size !

as long as msdos partition tables can only hold 4 primary partitions OR 3 primary and 1 extended partion(s) you need to delete your extended partition what also deletes all logical partition within.

So backup at least partition 5 (your ext4) OR even better ALL partitions if something goes wrong during F23 install. with an linux boot cd (sysrescueCD ?) delete partition 4 ! during F23 install create at first a "Bios boot" partition, then your partitions for F23 (/ and swap, ...) witch will live in logical partitions.

this will also repair your messy partition theme (1, 2, 4, 5 what's up with 3 ?)

as I didn't calculated your partition theme regarding size you maybe need to resize your ntfs partitions ...

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He doesn't need the bios boot partition because there is enough space at the start of the disk and this is not EFI.

ssieb gravatar imagessieb ( 2016-05-19 13:37:17 -0600 )edit

Sorry for not reporting back (see my comment above). I can not test this anymore because the HD failed.

nathan.huesken gravatar imagenathan.huesken ( 2016-06-06 02:54:05 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2016-05-16 10:04:40 -0600

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Last updated: May 16 '16