Partitioning fails when swap-partition already there

Bug #263222 reported by jott on 2008-08-31
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
debian-installer (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: debian-installer

Intrepid Alpha 4 (installation CD for x86)

I wanted to re-install (i.e. wipe over) an old installation on my laptop but keep an old (home) partition. During the installation, I chose manual partitioning and deleted all but the home-partion to create a new partition for swap and /.

The first thing that failed was that I didn't get all space used up: the partition I wanted to keep is at the end of the disk; deleteing all partitions at the beginning and creating new ones always left some unused space of about 100MB (= 1 cylinder) between the created partitions and the (old=new) home-partition.

I continued anyway but subsequent formatting failed, and the installer sent me back to the partitioning. After some unsuccessful further attempts, I tried to partition manually with cfdisk. cfdisk complained about overlapping partitions and wouldn't even start.

Some further attempts with fdisk finally revealed the problem: The swap partition from the old system (which I wanted to delete) was used by the installation system. This made a reload of the partition table in the kernel impossible (so told me fdisk when exiting with "w") and partition table/kernel information was out of sync.

I suggest that:
1. Installation system does not blindly use partitions marked as "swap" (it was not even formatted as swap! It seems that the installation system relies on partition labels and makes swap ignoring actual disk content!).
2. The partitioning program checks very carefully (as fdisk does when issueing the write command) whether or not a sync with kernel succeeded. It could also check whether some partitions are in use somehow (=mounted or swap) and warn/fail/umount/ask user if so.

Phillip Susi (psusi) wrote :

If you are able to replicate this, please attach your /var/log/syslog.

Changed in debian-installer (Ubuntu):
status: New → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for debian-installer (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in debian-installer (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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