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bug#35714: Parted destroys mbr_signature (Disk Identifier) when adding M

From: Matthijs Kooijman
Subject: bug#35714: Parted destroys mbr_signature (Disk Identifier) when adding MBR bootcode
Date: Mon, 13 May 2019 10:52:12 +0200
User-agent: NeoMutt/20170113 (1.7.2)

Hi folks,

I believe I found a bug in the dos partition table writer. Let me start
with the cause. There's this bit of code:

        if (!table->boot_code[0]) {
                memset (table->boot_code, 0, 512);
                memcpy (table->boot_code, MBR_BOOT_CODE, sizeof 

When a disk has no MBR bootcode, this adds some. However, it also starts
with clearing the *entire* MBR sector. I believe this should just clear
the bootcode, e.g.

        - memset (table->boot_code, 0, 512);
        + memset (table->boot_code, 0, sizeof(table->boot_code));

The current code clears the mbr_signature, partition table and magic at
the end. The partition table is rewritten from the table in memory, the
magic value is simply replaced with a fixed value, but the mbr_signature
is replaced by newly randomly generated value.

Effectively, this means that when modifying a partition table without
any boot code, the mbr_signature will be changed.

I've noticed this problem on a Raspberry pi. The default raspbian images
are generated using fdisk, without any boot code (which is not needed on
a pi). Modifying the partition table using parted then generates a new
mbr_signature. Since this signature (called Disk Identifier by fdisk) is
used to generate the PARTUUID for partitions [1], and the PARTUUID is used
to locate the root filesystem, this effectively makes the system

It seems this has been known for a while, since a workaround [2] has
been (silently, without mentioning it in the commend message) introduced
two years ago [3] in the raspberry pi resizing code (probably at the
same time they started using PARTUUID I suspect).

Also note that the disk identifier is only changes once, since then the
MBR has bootcode and parted no longer needs to clear things.



[1]: https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/a/95436/70022

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