Mint 6 install fails at partition stage (SOLVED)

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Mint 6 install fails at partition stage (SOLVED)

Postby Str0k3r on Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:43 am

Hello all,
I am hoping to get some guidance here. I am attempting to install Linux Mint 6 Felicia on my desktop pc (500gb sata HDD)with Windows xp already present. I have run the live Cd, chosen install, use manual for partitions, created Linux ext and swap partitians on my free space, and as the setup fails when creating partitions. The error is something like "error, failed to create swap partition" It then takes me back to partiton editor which now is all greyed out. The HDD has one NTFS partition (windows) which is like 470gb. The rest of the disk is partitioned for linux. I tried doing this with the 2nd partition as unallocated, tried it with formatted as ntfs etc. Linux install sees it and lets me define the partitions, but just fails during the partition/format phase.

I manually set them up as follows:
1 Primary 10gb - ext3 - /
1 Primary 5gb - ext 3 - /var
1 Primary 5gb - Swap (end of free space)

Any ideas? I had sda1 errors when i installed on my laptop and the fix was changing the Serial ATA setting in bios to compatability mode. I didnt even think about this until now while Im at work. Im wondering if sata drives are an issue? Any ideas?
Last edited by Str0k3r on Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby viking777 on Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:34 pm

I personally don't have problems with sata drives, but that doesn't mean to say that you won't.

I can suggest two things that you may or may not wish to try. These are suggestions not necessarily solutions - please note.

Firstly use your windows install to download and burn a gparted live cd from http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=115843&package_id=271779 (or you could put it on USB if you want). Boot from this and use it to create the partitions you want then try to install using the partitions you have already created.

Secondly, if you don't want to do that then remember this. Linux will run quite happily without any swap partition at all if your machine has a reasonable amount of memory (almost any modern machine these days does). So if it is the creation of a swap partition that makes your installation fail then don't create one, leave some unallocated space so you can create one later if you want (once you have it installed).

One last piece of advice. It is very, very unlikely that you need 5Gb of swap space. 2Gb is about the most you will ever need.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby Str0k3r on Tue Apr 14, 2009 3:29 pm

Thanks for your help! I actually downloaded and created the Gparted Live CD after reading that the Live version is newer than the one on the distro. Apparently this fixes many of these issues. I will try to repartition with the live cd and see how it goes. I will also take your advice on the swap, I have 3gb ram which should be sufficient. Thanks, hopefully i can get this sorted this evening.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby Aging Technogeek on Tue Apr 14, 2009 5:36 pm

If you have 3 Gb of ram, you will probably never use your swap space but put in a nominal swap (about 256 Mb is adequate) because Linux can act unpredictably if there is no swap.

Having said that, I will now contradict myself to a degree. If you have a laptop and you want to use the hibernate function, your swap space should be equal to or greater than your installed ram. When you enter hibernate everything in ram is saved to swap.

The error message you are getting may be because the partitioner ran out of disk space before it had completed the swap install. Always leave a few gigabytes free at the end of the disk - not all 500 Gb disks are truly 500 Gb. They may be 495 Gb or something else. Also, the MBR , disk table of contents, and other disk utilities can take up to 5GB on a 500 GB disk that may not be shown in the partition table.

Parting advice: read this - viewtopic.php?f=90&t=11872.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby Str0k3r on Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:49 am

All the recommendations above did not work :(. I spent hours last night trying different things and could not get Linux to install. It looks as though the install cannot create a file system on any partition. I tried creating all my partitions with Gparted live cd, using all the recommendations including leaving plenty of free space at end of drive. All looks fine, when linux install gets to partition phase, it would stop at 15% then say "error could not create swap". I then recreated all the partitions again with gparted live cd, rebooted with linux Mint cd, ran install again and this time did not create any swap partition. Same thing, 15% complete then similar error but on other partition "cannot create file system ext3". This is driving me crazy, Im trying not to give up, but really getting frustrated now. I am not sure what else to try. I could not pinpoint any HDD related bios settings that I could try and change, if that is even relevant.

AsusPQ5pro
500gb Sata drive
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby viking777 on Wed Apr 15, 2009 12:27 pm

Sorry to hear that didn't work. If this fails repeatedly then possible causes are a faulty installation disk or a faulty hard drive. It is probably easier to test the former. You will have to download again, test the md5 sum against the published one then burn the disk again at a slow speed. This fixes many problems of this nature. If it is a hard disk failure (I was trying to help somebody recently who had a hard drive failure after only three months use!) then you would probably need to investgate 'smartmontools' although I have never used it and it seems fearfully complicated. As you have a Windows install, you may be able to get hold of a testing program from the disk manufacturer and run it on Windows (they rarely (never?) make them to run on Linux).
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby Str0k3r on Wed Apr 15, 2009 2:13 pm

Thanks. My thoughts are that the install disk is ok as I used the same cd to install linux on 3 different laptops at work this week. Its like it cant write to my HDD during install, but XP works fine. Quite frustrating!
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage

Postby Str0k3r on Tue Apr 21, 2009 3:33 pm

Update:
I was finally able to get Mint to install, well for the most part. I had to change a few bios setting combinations (turn on AHCI is one of them). After the bios changes I was able to get Mint to install, but at 99% the installer just disappeared. I didn't get the message that install was complete and I needed to reboot etc. I was still on the live cd and noticed the files were all there and the partitions looked fine. I rebooted the pc, was all excited that I actually had a successful install, saw a linux mint loading screen, then it bounced me to Grub prompt. Could not get into the gui at all using a host of commands on the forum etc. Noticed I also received a pci bug error in there somewhere. I could not get this thing to go. Had to give up for now, repartition and install XP alone again. I am planning to make an image of my drive so I try this again and go back if I need to. I am just out of ideas on what can be causing such a problem. CD is fine, this occured on 2 different hard drives, one is brand new, Not sure what I am missing here.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage (SOLVED)

Postby Str0k3r on Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:23 am

Problem has been resolved. Hope this helps others who may run into similar issues.

The problem was a SATA configuration issue. My mb - Asus P5Q Pro has 8 sata slots to allow different RAID configs. Windows does not seem to care what sata slot I have drives in. It works regardless and allows full access to drive which is why it confused me that Linux install could not. On this board the first 2 sata slots - (Sata 0, 1) are "Sata only and reserved for raid setups). when my hdd was set in either of those first two slots, Linux would see the drive but had limited functionality when it came to partitioning. eg. full drive install only and install would fail at various stages. Placing my primary hdd in slot 3 and setting it as IDE or AHCI in the bios finally allowed Linux full access to drive and I am now able to partition and install Mint successfully.
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Re: Mint 6 install fails at partition stage (SOLVED)

Postby mipcar on Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:07 am

I see you've solved your problem so this is just an aside now.
When I ran Gparted live Cd I found it worked better with more reliable partitioning if when I loaded the cd amd I clicked on the option of "loading into memory", then ejecting the CD.

No idea why it makes a difference but it did for me.

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