[solved] Ubuntu’s partman hangs on ‘scanning disks’


Here’s another gem from the Ubuntu malaise: partitioning a disk hangs when booting from an Ubuntu Live USB stick.

Depending on a couple of factors partman, Ubuntu’s installer partion manager, will hang on ‘scanning disks’, from around 43% to 47%. Following are two possible reasons and solutions.

Partman barfs up on your USB stick

Apparently, partman doesn’t tolerate USB sticks with logical sector size of anything but 512 bytes. Seriously, the damn thing boots fine and runs an installation fine, but when running partman the whole things grinds to a halt.

Solution: pull out your USB stick about the moment the installation starts running partman. It works like a charm: the installation keeps running and when it’s done you can even put it back in. I don’t know if you have to, but I did and it didn’t barf up in my face.

Partman barfs up on existing partions

Apparently, partman is a bit sensitive because partman also doesn’t tolerate certain partitioning schemes.

Solution: wipe out the partition table using the DD command to zero out those sectors and abort the formatting stage. Once gone, partman won’t have a problem accessing the partitions… which you had to remove like you remove grass with a bulldozer.


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