Inconsistent partition table

Last modified: Fri Jan 22 13:23:57 EST 2016

This error has gotten to be a real pain both with LILO and with the FreeDOS kernel.  It may have begun when LILO started creating the first partition starting at sector 2048 instead of 63.  It now crops up any time that I use Linux fdisk to partition a disk that is going to have DOS on it and is followed by an inability to boot DOS.  Setting the DOS compatibility flag, changing units to CHS, and even setting the CHS values manually in Linux fdisk don't seem to help anymore.

I have found a process that works reliably to get DOS and Linux to coexist in peace, but it requires starting from scratch.  "Inconsistent partition table" can't be fixed except by wiping out the old partition table and starting over like this.

  1. Prepare a Windows 98 SE boot floppy containing the patched-up IO.SYS from kb311561 and this unofficial hack of FDISK (kb263044) and FORMAT.
  2. Boot that floppy and follow the procedures here to create the partition table and the first (DOS) partition.
  3. Now use Linux fdisk to create all subsequent partitions however you like.
  4. While installing Linux, include the DOS partition in the list of automounts and configure LILO to boot it.  Install LILO in the MBR.
  5. Behold the lack of error messages, and rejoice.