GELI disk and glabel label

Warren Block wblock at
Sun Oct 8 16:22:08 UTC 2017

On Sat, 7 Oct 2017, Fabian Keil wrote:

> Jonathan Bond-Caron <jbondc at> wrote:
>> I was trying to organize hard disk using labels and labelled two geli
>> disks:
> Note that this post seems to be about gpt labels,
> not about glabel labels.
> They are not the same kind of label (and there are various other
> types of labels in FreeBSD). As you have just discovered, sometimes
> the difference matters.
>> glabel secure /dev/da1
>> galbel backups /dev/da2
>> The problem is now I can't mount them :/
>> geli attach -k /root/geli.key
>> geli: Cannot read metadata from /dev/da1
> As Bernt already explained, that's the expected behaviour.
> While it's possible to relocate the geli metadata, before adding a
> "glabel label", the process is a bit tedious and I wouldn't recommend
> trying it unless you already know that your backups work.

It should not need to be relocated.  The problem is using the wrong 
device.  Both geli and glabel create a new device in /dev.  That device 
is one block smaller than the source device.  If you continue to refer 
to the root device, new metadata will overwrite the old.  Instead, use 
the newly-created device.  For example:

Create a glabel device on /dev/da1 called foo:
   glabel label foo /dev/da1

There is now a device called /dev/label/foo.  It is one block smaller 
than /dev/da1 to prevent writing to the metadata at the end.  Use this 
new device for further work, like creating a geli device (which will be 
called .eli).

If you mistakenly create another GEOM device on the raw /dev/da1, it 
will overwrite the metadata that is already at the end, as happened 

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