Can't re-activate my main APFS partition

Discussion in 'macOS High Sierra (10.13)' started by ciarals, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. ciarals macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    #1
    Hello everyone. My iMac had a Samsung SSD 850 EVO 1TB completely upgraded to High Sierra APFS. Only one "partition" in that, the usual Macintosh HD, of 1TB.

    Yesterday I wanted to partition it and install Ubuntu. Using Disk Utility was impossibile to do that because of the structure of the container: it could't be resized. So I downloaded Paragon Hard Disk Manager that I previously used some time ago and that did well. I managed to reside the APFS partition from 1TB to 850GB and the remaining 150GB I formatted in MacOS Extended.

    And this is it, just 2 things: resize, format new partition. I rebooted the Mac and the nightmare began. Instead of the usual Apple logo, an icon with question mark inside a folder appeared.

    After this, I tried everything to access at least Recovery Mode. Nothing, it wasn't accessibile anymore. I had all the USB keys of the previous macOS installers: Mavericks, Yosemite, Sierra, High Sierra. Among these, only Yosemite worked... And this is also strange. Of course from Disk Utility I couldn't do anything with the APFS partition because APFS wasn't still invented at the time of Yosemite.

    Since I tried everything for hours, I decided to boot from Yosemite USB key and install Yosemite in the partition I had reserved to Ubuntu. At least I could do something from inside the disk.

    So I installed Yosemite, I checked how was my disk using diskutil list and the situation was as below:

    Disk01.PNG

    I then updated to High Sierra in order to have full access to APFS partition and the situation using diskutil list was as below:

    Disk02.PNG

    disk0s2 is my main partition called "Macintosh HD"
    disk0s3 it's my second partition called "Mac" that was originally partitioned for Ubuntu and now used for running High Sierra

    As you can see, disk0s2 has a +ERROR in the container scheme. It seems like all data are there but no more recognizable. It seems to be a simple scheme error, but I don't know....

    That partition is de-activated and there's no way to re-activate it. It's just greyed out in the Disk Utility, so it can't be used.

    What do you suggest? How can I repair, fix or do something to that partition in order to access it again? I just resized it of 150 GB, damn it..... This new APFS file system is too fragile :-(

    Please help me if you can, thank you!
     
  2. mac65 macrumors member

    mac65

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #2
    Have you tried the tool from http://biskus.com in trial mode to see if it can list the contents of your lost partition at all?

    Also:
    • When you used Paragon HDM, was that a version that supposedly supports APFS?
    • How long did that resize operation take? A few seconds or rather like a minute or more?
    • I suppose you have no Time Machine or other backup?
    • How much space was used (or free) on the volume before you resized it?
     
  3. ciarals thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    #3
    Hello and thank you for your reply. No, I didn't tried that app, I'll try thing evening. Regarding the other answers:
    • Yes, of course, very latest version with complete suppport to "APFS container resizing"
    • It took like a minute, more or less
    • I have but a bit old. And I'm afraid of how the drive is: I don't know if the recovering can work.
    • Really a lot, like 600 GB free, that's why I did a 150 GB partition
     
  4. mac65 macrumors member

    mac65

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #4
    Okay, let us know when you tried the Biskus tool.

    Also, have you tried running the HDM again? If you can boot your Mac from a different disk, then I'd use HDM to remove the new partition again so that it resizes the first volume back to the exact size it was before. Maybe that helps.

    It would also be smart to get yourself another disk and copy your entire SSD contents to it, so that you have a proper backup before more damage may be done. That'll cost you a bit, but 1 TB external disks are not that expensive any more. And you can then use that in the future for a proper and regular TM backup, too.

    To save your content, use Disk Utility, select the entire disk (or, if that doesn't work, then just your resized partition) and make an image from it, with the "Compressed" option. Might even fit on a 500 GB disk.
     
  5. ciarals thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Location:
    Italy
    #5
    It was also my idea, but I'm afraid that the partition is already "damaged" so that doing this will not be useful. Also, now I have this 150 GB partition that is helping me doing these things, if I resize it back and remove it and this doesn't help, I have no more way to access the disk.

    How can I restore from Time Machine completely deleting the entire disk first?
     
  6. Fishrrman macrumors G5

    Fishrrman

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #6
    OP asked:
    "How can I restore from Time Machine completely deleting the entire disk first?"

    I'm going to guess that... you can't. (I could be wrong).

    My suggestion:
    - Boot from an "alternative volume"
    - Use disk utility to erase the internal drive
    - Restore from your backup
    - Don't be foolin' with ubuntu on an APFS-formatted Mac ;)
     
  7. treekram, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

    treekram macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #7
    First - with APFS, the Recovery volume is stored within the APFS container. Previously, there was a separate partition for Recovery. They put it in the APFS container because if you have multiple APFS OS's in the container (High Sierra and Mojave, for instance), the Recovery volume could resize to fit Recovery for both OS's. The downside is what you experienced - if the container becomes corrupt, you can't do Recovery from the disk.

    If you want to restore the TM backup, you should be able to just erase the APFS container vs. the entire disk and then restore to the APFS container although at this point, since you want to do Ubuntu, why not just erase the disk, set the partitions and go from there. There doesn't seem to be much difference either way.

    In another post, the OP had a problem where the Mac had to be sent to be serviced and before doing that, the OP disk-imaged the separate partitions (High Sierra and I think Mavericks) and then erased the SSD. The Mavericks partition was able to be restored, the High Sierra wasn't. There likely was some type of cross reference with a UUID (there are a couple of them) of the APFS container and erasing the SSD meant that the new UUID for the new APFS container was different than the restored APFS container so things got mucked up. That's my speculation. But I suggested CCC as a last resort since it may be able to do whatever adjustments are necessary and the OP was able to recover the APFS container. In your case, things are more mucked up than the other OP but you might want to see if a clone of the APFS container can be made. I don't think the chances are that good (the chances are better that it won't recognize what you have as an APFS container at all) but it's probably worth a try. If you do that, I would try to clone to a HFS+ partition on a HDD (unless you have another 1TB SSD lying around) and see if that works. You obviously need an empty 1TB HDD (or larger).

    Admonitions
    - You need to do backup (or refresh your backup) before doing a partition resizing - always.
    - If the MacOS software refuses to resize a partition - take that as a warning.

    Re: The advisability of using Ubuntu and APFS on the same disk in separate partitions. (It should be noted that this wasn't the issue here since you never put Ubuntu on the SSD.) One would think it would be possible but people have been having problems with Bootcamp Windows partitions disappearing (I don't do Bootcamp so I can't say what the nature of the issues are) so maybe it's not such a good idea. Keep your backups current in any case but especially so if you do decide to go down that route.

    Oops - forgot:
    https://bombich.com/

    There's another poster that just posted with problems deleting an Ubuntu partition so maybe you should re-think Ubuntu and APFS on the same SSD:
    https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/removing-ubuntu-from-dual-boot-on-mac.2127003/
     
  8. mac65, Jul 11, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018

    mac65 macrumors member

    mac65

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #8
    If you image an APFS container with Disk Utility, restoring it may fail because DU incorrectly handles the SSD's unusual block size of 4096 Byte vs. the usual 512 Byte. However, with Google's help you can find solutions around that problem.

    The partitions usually do not simply disappear, but it can happen that Windows can't boot any more because it requires its partition to be present in the disk's first sector (MBR), and not just in the GUID Partition Table that follows it. But some DU repartitioning operations accidentally remove that Win partition from the MBR. This can easily be fixed with a disk editor like my iBored, though. See also http://www.tempel.org/WindowsWithoutBootCampAssistant section "Theory on the MBR vs GPT usage"
     
  9. treekram macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2015
    Location:
    Honolulu HI
    #9
    The OP in the other thread used dd, not Disk Utility and the creation and restore were good because, as I mentioned, the original SSD was erased and the restored image (still not unusable as it was) was then cloned successfully.

    Good to have the explanation on the Windows issue.
     
  10. mac65 macrumors member

    mac65

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    Munich, Germany
    #10

Share This Page