a new hard-drive in a 2y/o laptop

Ian Smith smithi at nimnet.asn.au
Thu Jan 6 13:11:38 UTC 2011

On Thu, 6 Jan 2011, Adam Vande More wrote:
 > On Thu, Jan 6, 2011 at 3:06 AM, Ian Smith <smithi at nimnet.asn.au> wrote
 > > Your dd of the first 71 sectors looked right, MBR looks ok, sectors 1-62
 > > are zeroes, boot1 and boot2 from sector 63-70 seem normal, after you
 > > used 'W' to write anyway; can't say for sure that the bsdlabel is ok,
 > > but see no reason to suppose otherwise.  What says 'bsdlabel ad4s1'
 > > while you've still got one?
 > >
 > This is a pretty easy problem to replicate if you are pressing W, and that
 > "issue" has existed for quite some time.  If you press W then Q at
 > sysinstall fdisk then attempt to force write disklabel screens you will get
 > the error.  Just setup the slices and partitions as you want and let
 > sysinstall handle the writing of information.  There is a big warning box
 > that says not to use force write except under certain conditions and this is
 > not one of them.

Adam, I think you may have missed a lot from the earlier messages in 
this thread.  Admittedly it's long and likely tedious, but trying to 
help somebody get the OS installed is about as basic as it gets for me; 
I'd be hugely relieved if someone with more / better clues took it on.

We didn't get to try W)rite from the fdisk and label screens until long 
after all attempts at letting sysinstall deal with things had failed to 
even slice the disk, bombing on this error every time.  Chris' disk is 
brand new, nothing installed.  W)riting from sysinstall succeeded at 
least in creating ad4s1 in the MBR and writing the bootblocks to that 
slice.  I made it very clear this is not something to do without due 
care; in the circumstances there was absolutely nothing to be lost.

And then the GPT issue, of which I was totally ignorant.  Fixed.

 > If you google the error message in the OP, the first result is:
 > http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=1675

I can't see anything there that informs any solution to this issue, that 
doesn't cover everything Chris has tried.  If you can, please elaborate?

 > Failing that, I can't see other than a hardware issue, unless somehow
 > > sysinstall is broken and you may do better manually running fdisk and
 > > bsdlabel and newfs per Handbook and manuals?
 > >
 >  This doesn't say hardware error to me at all, at least not a disk hardware
 > issue.  The message was present across two disks, and if there truly is a
 > problem writing to the media a complete zeroing of the drive would be
 > apparent then.

Chris has this issue with one disk only, so I'm not sure what you mean?

If it's not hardware related (or HP firmware, as Mike suggested), maybe 
it is an issue with sysinstall.  Manual fdisk & bsdlabel & newfs would 
confirm that or otherwise, but Chris will have to hunt up mans, docs and 
howtos on doing that himself, they're out there.  On the other hand it's 
useful learning, and nothing he tries can make matters any worse.

[ I can't comment on auto-allocated partitions, the last time I thought 
that was even vaguely a useful idea was my first install of 2.2.6 :^]

If you have any spare magic dust to sprinkle on this, please do so.

cheers, Ian

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