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Invalid Partition Table

This document (7009149) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 3
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 Service Pack 4
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 1


The server fails to boot.
Error message "Lost or invalid partition table"


Backing Up the Partition Table
There are two way to get a backup of your partition table.
1. Run supportconfig and save the tar ball off your server. The fs-diskio.txt file contains a backup of the partition table.
2. Run the command
sfdisk -d /dev/sda > table.bkp

Restoring the Partition Table
If you have a backup of partition table do these steps:

1 - In your supportconfig file open the file called fs-diskio.txt and look for the tag "/sbin/sfdisk -d"

2 - Create a new file called table.bkp and copy the content of the tag above in this file like that:


# partition table of /dev/sda
unit: sectors

/dev/sda1 : start=       63, size=   144522, Id=83, bootable
/dev/sda2 : start=   144585, size= 62765955, Id=8e
/dev/sda3 : start=        0, size=        0, Id= 0
/dev/sda4 : start=        0, size=        0, Id= 0

3 - Save this file to a USB drive.

4 - After that, using SLES DVD Media, you need to reboot your server and go to Rescue Mode. Plug your USB drive and find for the file created in step 2. Use this command to restore your partition table: 
sfdisk /dev/sda < table.bkp

5 - Reboot the server.


Additional Information

A lost or invalid partition table means that someone deleted by mistake or some software installation deleted the information there. That is not a common issue, and it is really dangerous if you don't have a backup of your partition table. You can take a backup executing a supportconfig and copying the supportconfig tar ball off your server. We recommend that you run a supportconfig after each major server modification.

If you don't have a backup, you can get a dump of your partition table in another system but it has to be identical ( same disk size and same partitions size) and restore that using the steps above.  Using sfdisk with the -d option we can get a dump of the current partition table in a regular file like that: sfdisk -d  /dev/sda > table.bkp.


This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7009149
  • Creation Date: 09-Aug-2011
  • Modified Date:03-Mar-2020
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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