Bug 109887 - LVM pvcreate will overwrite ext2/3 fslabel info
Summary: LVM pvcreate will overwrite ext2/3 fslabel info
Alias: None
Product: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3
Classification: Red Hat
Component: lvm (Show other bugs)
(Show other bugs)
Version: 3.0
Hardware: i386 Linux
Target Milestone: ---
Assignee: Heinz Mauelshagen
QA Contact:
: 120909 128380 (view as bug list)
Depends On:
TreeView+ depends on / blocked
Reported: 2003-11-12 18:12 UTC by Sean McPherson
Modified: 2007-11-30 22:06 UTC (History)
5 users (show)

Fixed In Version:
Doc Type: Bug Fix
Doc Text:
Story Points: ---
Clone Of:
Last Closed: 2005-09-13 14:37:05 UTC
Type: ---
Regression: ---
Mount Type: ---
Documentation: ---
Verified Versions:
Category: ---
oVirt Team: ---
RHEL 7.3 requirements from Atomic Host:
Cloudforms Team: ---

Attachments (Terms of Use)

Description Sean McPherson 2003-11-12 18:12:45 UTC
From Bugzilla Helper:
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.4) Gecko/20030922

Description of problem:
When deploying LVM, a mistyped pvcreate command will silently write
the lvm block data to the superblock of a ext2/3 filesystem. This will
destroy the initial superblock, and cause the filesystem label to
become invalid. This occurs silently even if the ext2/3 filesystem is

In this example, a disk is partitioned as:

Disk /dev/hda: 20.0 GB, 20020396032 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2434 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hda1   *         1        13    104391   83  Linux
/dev/hda2            14       370   2867602+  83  Linux
/dev/hda3           371       421    409657+  83  Linux
/dev/hda4           422      2434  16169422+   5  Extended
/dev/hda5           422       454    265041   82  Linux swap
/dev/hda6           455       487    265041   83  Linux
/dev/hda7           488       503    128488+  83  Linux
/dev/hda8           504       519    128488+  83  Linux
/dev/hda9           520       536    136521   8e  Linux LVM
/dev/hda10          537       553    136521   8e  Linux LVM
/dev/hda11          554       570    136521   8e  Linux LVM
/dev/hda12          571       587    136521   8e  Linux LVM

/etc/fstab contains:

LABEL=/                 /                       ext3    defaults     
  1 1
LABEL=/boot             /boot                   ext3    defaults     
  1 2
none                    /dev/pts                devpts  gid=5,mode=620
 0 0
LABEL=/home             /home                   ext3    defaults     
  1 2
none                    /proc                   proc    defaults     
  0 0
none                    /dev/shm                tmpfs   defaults     
  0 0
LABEL=/tmp              /tmp                    ext3    defaults     
  1 2
LABEL=/usr              /usr                    ext3    defaults     
  1 2
LABEL=/var              /var                    ext3    defaults     
  1 2
/dev/hda5               swap                    swap    defaults     
  0 0
/dev/cdrom              /mnt/cdrom              udf,iso9660
noauto,owner,kudzu,ro 0 0
/dev/fd0                /mnt/floppy             auto   
noauto,owner,kudzu 0 0

If the command 'pvcreate /dev/hda9 /dev/hda1 /dev/hda11 /dev/hda12' is
run (with a typo of hda1 instead of hda10), pvcreate will properly
flag the hda9, hda11, and hda12 devices as LVM PV disks. However, hda1
(which was labelled as /boot, and which was mounted at the time the
pvcreate was run) now has a corrupted superblock, and a pvdisplay
/dev/hda1 shows it as being a valid PV device. An attempt to 'mount
-a' now will show that the label for /boot (ie, /dev/hda1) is not found.

Trying a pvmove /dev/hda1 will report that the device is not a member
of any VG's, but does not remove the data from the first block of the

Running 'pvdata -PP /dev/hda1' shows that the UUID and system_id are

Manually unmounting the partition, forcing an e2fsck and letting
e2fsck copy the superblock from a backup superblock will correct the
label issue (alternately, running e2fslabel and then a e2fsck to fix
the inode tree will work), but the drive still contains the UUID and
system_id and they are still recognized by pvdata and pvscan.

Reading data directly from the device with a 'dd if=/dev/hda1
of=/tmp/firstbootkilos bs=1K count=10" (so I could see the first block
of the device as well as the first and second superblocks) showed the
pv data was stored
at the very beginning of the partition, and the /boot label was
missing. After running the e2fslabel and/or fsck to correct the issue,
the first block still contained the pv data, but at least the e2fs
label was present in the second block.

The only way I found to fix this quickly was the perform a 'dd
if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda1 bs=1K count=1' and then fsck the device
(either e2fslabelling it myself or allowing fsck to copy the data over
from 8193).

pvcreate should check the partition type (if the device is a partition
and not a whole disk) to see if it is 0x8e and inform the user that
the target device is not flagged correctly. Also (alternatively?)
pvcreate at the least needs to see if the device/partition is
currently mounted.

Accidently running pvcreate on a ext2/ext3 device (especially a
mounted one), then realizing it and adding the proper volumes to
finish up the original task possibly leaves the machine in a state
where, at next mount or boot time, the devices will not be recognized
 by device label (possibly causing a failure to boot), and data could
be overwritten or lost (as an active filesystem gets modified).

I haven't been able to test extensively as this relates to data loss
on the mounted filesystem, since the first block of the partition is
reserved for system block use anyway, but without inspecting the order
of operations for filesystem calls, it seems as likely to cause data
loss as any other write to a physical device which bypasses the
filesystem api.

Version-Release number of selected component (if applicable):

How reproducible:

Steps to Reproduce:
1. run pvcreate on a partition already formatted and in use as ext2/ext3
2. inspect e2fs label on the partition or try to use the label
3. check device/partition status per to fsck

Actual Results:  runs silently, overwriting e2fslabel and writing data
directly to the underlaying physical device of a mounted partition.

Expected Results:  A warning of some type relating to the
device/partition flag or the mount status of the existing device.

Additional info:

This is a fresh install of RHEL 3 using 


Comment 2 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-08-13 10:03:03 UTC
*** Bug 120909 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 3 Heinz Mauelshagen 2004-08-13 10:03:47 UTC
*** Bug 128380 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 10 Mike MacCana 2005-09-14 01:24:50 UTC
Er, do you feel like providing some kind of explanation here, to the people
who've taken time to report this?

Unless there's more sanity checking in pvcreate this'll result in more support
calls. That's already evidenced by the amount of times this issue has been reported.

Comment 11 Heinz Mauelshagen 2005-09-14 05:59:50 UTC
Even if we added a check to pvcreate, people will still be able to use a list of
tools to overwrite filesyetem (and other) metadata. Checking for the fs mounted
case wouldn't prevent people from overwriting unmounted filsystems anyway.

Comment 16 Mike MacCana 2005-10-26 02:01:37 UTC
However, mkfs refuses to format a mounted filesystem. There's other ways to do
that, but that doesn't mean a simple check in mkfs to prevent loss of data
shouldn't be performed.

I don't see why pvcreate should be different. A mounted check and a partition
type check, as the original poster suggests, are good ideas. 

(responding because a GLS customer just hit this one again, and it reminded me)

Comment 17 Alasdair Kergon 2005-10-26 13:45:15 UTC
(The mounted check has now made it into RHEL4 pvcreate.)

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