Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

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Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

Postby organicrust on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:35 pm

Hello,

I just started using Mint 12 and I am trying to partition a new drive that I just added to my computer. It is a Seagate Barracuda 2.0 TB, with advanced formatting. Unfortunately, every time that I attempt to create a new partition, the Disk Utility tells me that "The partition is misaligned by 3072 bytes."

I have read other posts about similar problems, but I could not find any resolution to this problem. I checked out the start and end of the partition and got 34s and 3907027342s. From what I gather, the partition will work fine if the start and stop are divisible by 8, but since neither are, this must be a problem.

Can anyone help me out with this? Thank you.
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Re: Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

Postby srs5694 on Thu Apr 19, 2012 10:50 pm

There have been bugs in some versions of GParted and similar tools (those based on libparted) that can cause symptoms like what you report. It was my impression that those bugs had been pretty thoroughly squashed by now. Are you getting this error from the Mint 12 installer or from some other utility? If the latter, upgrading to something newer might help.

If the Mint installer is giving you this error, then I recommend using another tool entirely. You could try Parted Magic or System Rescue CD, both of which include a wide variety of partitioning tools, such as GParted, parted, gdisk, and cgdisk. The first two of those are based on libparted, but of course if you use an up-to-date tool that's not related to whatever's giving you problems, it's unlikely that you'll run into the same problem with it as you're having now. I'm the author of gdisk and cgdisk, which are two programs in my GPT fdisk package. These tools are not based on libparted, and any but very ancient versions of these tools will align your partitions properly (on 1 MiB boundaries, by default). However you do it, I recommend you check your partition start points with something that shows you sector precision, as you've already done, so that you can verify the disk is partitioned reasonably.

If you go with anything but the Mint installer, you'll need to know how to partition the disk before you begin. If you need help with that, post back for advice. You should say how big your disk is and whether you'll be booting in BIOS mode or in EFI mode. (BIOS vs. EFI booting is something that few people understand, but it has important implications. Most computers sold in the last year or so support both boot modes, but most older models are BIOS-only.)
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Re: Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

Postby organicrust on Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:37 pm

I downloaded my copy of Mint 12 64-bit on 4/12/12, so it should have the latest updates.

Yes, the error message is coming from the default Mint 12 Disk Utility. Mint had no trouble with my OCZ 60 GB SSD.

What do I need to do in order to use gdisk? The hard drive is 2.0 TB in size and my motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-A75M-D2H which boots into BIOS (as far as I know). I am not very familiar with command line interfaces (I found out how to check partition start and end points from another forum post), but I'd be happy to learn more.

Thanks for your time.
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Re: Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

Postby srs5694 on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:51 am

Based on what's in the English manual I downloaded (p. 41), it appears that your board has what Gigabyte markets as a "hybrid EFI," although that term doesn't actually appear in your particular manual. This gives you BIOS and EFI booting options, but the hybrid EFI is a pretty dismal implementation of the EFI side of the equation. I've got a board with this type of EFI, and I've written a Web page detailing its problems. Overall, I don't recommend booting in EFI mode with such a board, although if you dual-boot with Windows and expect to replace the disk with a bigger one in the future, it might be worth considering. This is all worth mentioning both so that you understand it and so that you can check your boot mode to be sure you didn't accidentally boot into EFI mode when doing your installation. Also, you should be careful about how you partition your disk and install your boot loader, since an incorrect choice might leave the computer trying to boot in EFI mode when you don't want it to. If you decide you do want to boot in EFI mode, post back and I can help you do that, too. (Although EFI-mode booting a hybrid EFI has problems, EFI also has its advantages, like cleaner boot manager maintenance if done right and the fully graphical [ul=http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/]rEFInd[/url] boot manager, which I've recently forked from the older rEFIt.)

The safest way to proceed is probably to create MBR, not GPT, partitions on the disk. To do so, I recommend using a recent version of fdisk. This should be accessible from any of the emergency discs I mentioned in my first post, or from a "try before you install" mode in many distributions' install discs. (I don't recall if Mint has such a mode, offhand.) There are quite a few Web-based tutorials on using fdisk, such as this one. Be aware, however, that there's been a change in the last couple of years to using sector-precise values rather than the clumsier (and meaningless) "cylinder" values that have traditionally be used. Older versions of fdisk default to cylinder values, but you should use sector values so that you can ensure all your partitions align on 8-sector multiples. (The extended partition, if you create one, is an exception; its alignment is unimportant.)

My own recommended partitioning scheme for most users is to create three Linux partitions:

  • A 5-25 GiB partition for the OS root (/). Given your disk size, something on the high end of that range makes sense.
  • A partition that's at least as large as your system's RAM, and perhaps twice that value, as swap space. Note that you'll need to change the type code in fdisk (to 0x82) to correctly identify the partition as being for swap.
  • The rest of the disk space as /home.

If you're dual-booting or have particular unusual needs, you may want or need to adjust this scheme. If those are all the partitions you create, they can all be primary partitions. If you create more than three, though, I recommend making the first primary and the others logical partitions inside an extended partition. One additional detail: As a "just in case" measure, you might want to start your first partition about 200-500 MiB into the disk (leaving that much unused space at the end) and be sure that the last partition ends at least 34 sectors before the end of the disk. This will give you room to convert the disk to GPT format and create an EFI System Partition should you decide to boot using EFI mode in the future. The wasted space is a small price to pay for this flexibility.
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Re: Partition Misaligned by 3072 Bytes

Postby organicrust on Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:11 am

Hey, thanks for the help. I am going to try that out sometime this weekend.
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