After a clean install of Lion, followed by partitioning which again was followed by a installation of Ubuntu, I noticed some error messages of Disk Utitity.

When verifying the volume I get told that there is no EFI partition. But you can clearly see one in Disk Utility (and with diskutil list). The Mac boots fine. I have no problem choosing between booting into Mac or Linux at boot.

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  • For clarity, you may want to change your locale to English and retake that screenshot of Disk Utility. It adds very little as it stands.
    – user10355
    Nov 14, 2011 at 10:29
  • Thanks. Can you run diskutil list and edit your post above with the printout?
    – user10355
    Nov 14, 2011 at 11:05
  • Just in case this is important: After disk0s2 and disk0s5 there is about 128MB-200MB of free space. I believe this is in order to protect the partitions to be accidentally overwritten?
    – gentmatt
    Nov 14, 2011 at 11:24
  • Your entire disk structure is horrendously broken (should have 1. EFI-HFS+, 2. MacHD-HFS+, 3. Recover HD, 4. FREEDOM-HFS+, 5. /-EXT4, 6. /home-EXT4, 7. Swap, and none of those unallocated partitions). But that aside, the problem is that your EFI partition is formatted in fat32. OS X needs HFS+. As for the other 3 unallocated partitions, those aren't there for "protection." It's likely a remnant of your partioning schema. You also don't have a Recovery HD. Here's what a proper partition map looks like on Lion: cl.ly/1t1j3J0D193y1y3X0A2k
    – user10355
    Nov 14, 2011 at 11:56
  • 1
    @cksum I have finally found out why the EFI partition is formatted FAT32. This is done by the Ubuntu installer and actually a risky task because the installer reformats this partition without checking if it's empty - this can result in corrupted firmware. Also see the last paragraph here.
    – gentmatt
    May 12, 2012 at 16:36

1 Answer 1


The default results of diskutil list on a clean Lion installation should be as follows:

mac:~ me$ diskutil list
   #:                       TYPE NAME                    SIZE       IDENTIFIER
   0:      GUID_partition_scheme                        *500.1 GB   disk0
   1:                        EFI                         209.7 MB   disk0s1
   2:                  Apple_HFS Macintosh HD            499.2 GB   disk0s2
   3:                 Apple_Boot Recovery HD             650.0 MB   disk0s3

My definition of a "clean install of Lion" involves letting Disk Utility from the installer partition the drive as GUID and telling it to use all space as a single partition.

Furthermore, your disk0s1 / EFI partition shouldn't show as partitioned according to disk utility:

mac:~ me$ diskutil info disk0s1
   Device Identifier:        disk0s1
   Device Node:              /dev/disk0s1
   Part of Whole:            disk0
   Device / Media Name:      EFI system partition

   Volume Name:              Not applicable (no file system)

   Mounted:                  Not applicable (no file system)

   File System:              None

   Partition Type:           EFI
   OS Can Be Installed:      No
   Media Type:               Generic
   Protocol:                 SATA
   SMART Status:             Verified

   Total Size:               209.7 MB (209715200 Bytes) (exactly 409600 512-Byte-Blocks)
   Volume Free Space:        Not applicable (no file system)
   Device Block Size:        512 Bytes

   Read-Only Media:          No
   Read-Only Volume:         Not applicable (no file system)
   Ejectable:                No

   Whole:                    No
   Internal:                 Yes
   Solid State:              No

Since your mac will boot, it may be overkill to erase everything and start over, but your EFI partition is hitting a check that Apple built into the Disk Utility, so do know that future updates could have problems and you might be forced to re-do things at a time less convenient if the difference between your system and an expected / Apple generated EFI actually breaks something Apple changes down the road (or when certain expected conditions arise like a firmware password, etc...).

On the flip side - it could be a simple check to alert you of a non-standard EFI and not that your EFI is in some way ever going to break. Can another vendor support your Microsoft EFI? If so, you might be able to leave it as is since it appears you are clearly using tools designed to make proper changes even if Disk Utility isn't able to guarantee the changes are appropriate.

  • 2
    So, I went to the shop now. The expert told me that the EFI partition is not what the Mac boots from. Instead the Mac boots of some special hardware on the logicboard (this is to make sure that only apple hardware can boot into a Mac OS. The format of the EFI partition does not matter (he thinks). It's only there in case your computer will do an EFI update so the update files can be loaded onto the EFI partition. Yes, it's strange that it's formatted as FAT32 and that I have the Disk Utility error. I should leave everything the way it is for now.
    – gentmatt
    Nov 14, 2011 at 18:09

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