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10.6: Resolve a non-usable disk during 10.6 upgrade Install
While attempting to upgrade my MacBook Pro to 10.6, I received the error message "this disk cannot be used to start up your computer." I only have one disk and one volume, so that disk was my only choice.

I tried running Disk Utility to repair the drive, but that didn't help. I searched the web and came up with a solution that works. Using Disk Utility from the installer, slightly reduce the partition size on the boot disk. The act of changing and rewriting the partition seems to fix whatever is causing the issue.
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10.6: Resolve a non-usable disk during 10.6 upgrade
Authored by: fracai on Oct 06, '09 09:01:30AM

I had a similar issue with my laptop, that also has Ubuntu and XP installed. It turns out that in order to be considered bootable OS X (starting with Snow Leopard?) needs to have at least 100MB of unallocated space following the target partition.

I originally sized my partitions using gparted without leaving this space, at the time Leopard was already installed; hooray for live resizing.

DiskUtility was unable to downsize my HFS+ partition, but gparted was happy to do so. I subtracted 110 MB or so and Snow Leopard now happily offers my HFS+ partition for installation.

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