Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Startup disk cannot be partitioned or restored to a single partition

Software sometimes behaves stupidly and in the most unlikely of places. Here is one such – when you start the Boot Camp Assistant in Mac OS X Leopard to install Windows, in stead of proceeding from the first – informative - screen, it throws an error:

The startup disk cannot be partitioned or restored to a single partition. The startup disk must be formatted as a single Mac OS Extended (Journaled) volume or already partitioned by Boot Camp Assistant for installing Windows.

This, when you have a brand new Mac with a single clean partition.

The problem is that the Boot Camp Assistant, for some reason, is thinking that you have more than one partition of your startup disk - the disk from which Mac OS is starting up, and Windows is intended to. More than one OS X partitions, that is.

The solution is quite simple and quick really (except for the backup step):

  1. First of all, backup all of your existing data. A Time Machine backup is advisable. You should do this any time you want to play with the partitions on your hard drives – even with the correct tools at hand.
  2. Add a new partition using the Disk Utility as perfectly described here. Close the Disk Utility.
  3. Now, remove this newly created partition, again, as given here.
  4. After this, the graphic of the hard disk will again show up as one full partition.

That’s it, really. Boot Camp Assistant won’t show the same error again.

Although the problem is less baffling when you already have multiple partitions created, the solution is still to remove all partitions other than the startup one to enable Boot Camp to proceed without errors.

Just a word of caution. Boot Camp does not understand a partition created before its invocation, even if you created it expressly for installing Windows. So it’s best to let it do it on its own.

11 comments:

chris said...

That's it??? lol that sounds like a ton of work and risk. Stupid freakin simply minded mac, you have to delete everything just to mac a stupid partition...how stupid is that!

YoU said...

Agree, this thing is really stupid and even right now in 2011, it still behaves the same :( Guess it's only for those who do not make partition for their Mac. Dumb...

Edward M. Meshuris said...

This did not work for me. What did work for me is to do a complete TimeMachine backup, delete and recreate the partition and then restore from the backup.

Luis said...

didn't work for me I'm going to timemachine mode and delete and restore... will post if worked!

Luis said...

tryed with the time machine didn't work as well so now I'm trying with a Time machine previous to the error...

Luis said...

also defraged the disk but this only made things worst and all my apps stopped working!

Luis said...

So I had to reinstall Lion from scratch and the bootcamp finally worked after that I just imported my stuff from TM manually and reinstall my apps. Allot of work still needs to be done on Lion (my 10.7.2).

Lex Luminait said...

Hey...I just had this problem with a new 2011 i7 MacBook Pro and it was driving me insane. It was a fresh install (factory install) and I would get the same error. What fixed it for me didn't require for me to wipe the machine at all.

What you have to do is reboot and hit control + R. It will put it in recover mode

Then choose disk Utility. Do a repair on the top level Harddrive (the drive on top) It will find that some data couldn't be repaired while in OSX and actually repair it. Restart after repair.

Use boot Camp...and boom! it works.

I didn't have to reinstall, or delete anything.

************Make sure you use Disk Utility in repair mode (press and hold Command + R or Control + R)...not while in OSX Lion. Disk Utility can't access or repair everything when the OS is running because some files are being used to run the OS.

Lex Luminait said...

Hey...I just had this problem with a new 2011 i7 MacBook Pro and it was driving me insane. It was a fresh install (factory install) and I would get the same error. What fixed it for me didn't require for me to wipe the machine at all.

What you have to do is reboot and hit control + R. It will put it in recover mode

Then choose disk Utility. Do a repair on the top level Harddrive (the drive on top) It will find that some data couldn't be repaired while in OSX and actually repair it. Restart after repair.

Use boot Camp...and boom! it works.

I didn't have to reinstall, or delete anything.

************Make sure you use Disk Utility in repair mode (press and hold Command + R or Control + R)...not while in OSX Lion. Disk Utility can't access or repair everything when the OS is running because some files are being used to run the OS.

Lex Luminait said...

Hey...I just had this problem with a new 2011 i7 MacBook Pro and it was driving me insane. It was a fresh install (factory install) and I would get the same error. What fixed it for me didn't require for me to wipe the machine at all.

What you have to do is reboot and hit control + R. It will put it in recover mode

Then choose disk Utility. Do a repair on the top level Harddrive (the drive on top) It will find that some data couldn't be repaired while in OSX and actually repair it. Restart after repair.

Use boot Camp...and boom! it works.

I didn't have to reinstall, or delete anything.

************Make sure you use Disk Utility in repair mode (press and hold Command + R or Control + R)...not while in OSX Lion. Disk Utility can't access or repair everything when the OS is running because some files are being used to run the OS.

Dave said...

THANKS! Will try that!