Handbook treatment of the boot manager
thirkieldh at cox.net
Mon Feb 21 16:38:00 UTC 2005
I want to use FreeBSD's boot manager, but there is not enough specific
information in the Handbook to make me comfortable in trying to set up a
dual boot system on my computer. I have been checking the "frequently asked
questions" as well as the "FreeBSD Questions" mailing list; it appears that
there are many others with variations on the same general question, over a
long period of time. Yet, the Handbook still does not address this issue
very well. Some individuals have attempted to help others with this problem
via the mailing list; however, there remains the need for a definitive
source. I would like to contribute to the documentation effort by supplying
this definitive source. Unfortunately, I am a newbie. Perhaps I can help
by detailing my uncertainty about how to set up a dual boot system. Then,
the ensuing dialog might result in a complete essay on the topic.
I have an Intel based computer that is currently running the Windows 2000
Professional operating system. I have a single 20 gigabyte hard drive. My
plan is to add a second hard drive, using the secondary IDE master, for the
FreeBSD operating system. So, Windows will reside on the first drive and
FreeBSD will reside on the second hard drive. I want to use the FreeBSD
boot manager to select the operating system.
In section 2.5.3 of the Handbook, "Install a Boot Manager," it seems clear
that all I would need to do to install the boot manager to the disk on which
I am installing FreeBSD is to select BootMgr, make sure [OK] is highlighted,
and press Enter. This step appears to be straight forward. The next
section in the Handbook, section 2.5.4, is where the installation
instructions become thin. In section 2.5.4, "Creating Slices on Another
Drive," the following statement is made:
"Important: If you are installing FreeBSD on a drive other than
your first, then
the FreeBSD boot manager needs to be installed on both drives."
So far, I have not been able to find the instructions, in the Handbook or
elsewhere on the FreeBSD site, to install the boot manager on a drive that
already contains another operating system; and this leaves me with some
anxiety about attempting the process.
Following the important statement made in section 2.5.4, were instructions
and an illustration that suggested that in order to install the FreeBSD boot
manager on a drive that already contained an operating system, simply return
to the boot manager menu, select the first drive(the one containing your
existing non FreeBSD operating system, highlight [OK], and press Enter. Is
that all there is to it? Would not I need to prepare the disk containing my
Windows operating system by creating a slice for FreeBSD(and a partition
within that slice) before attempting to install the FreeBSD boot manager to
Another question that arises for me concerns the Master Boot Record.
Sections 12.2 and 12.3 of the Handbook talk about the Master Boot Record.
How is the process of installing the boot manager related to the Master Boot
Record? Does the installation of the boot manager create or update the
Master Boot Record? Do I need to be concerned about the boot manager
installation clobbering an existing operating system?
If I have the Windows operating system already installed on drive one and I
am installing FreeBSD to drive two, according to the important note of
section 2.5.4 in the Handbook, I need to install the FreeBSD boot manager to
both drives one and two. In this case, will I also need to use the
# fdisk -B -b /boot/boot0 device
or do you only need to use the above command if you install Windows after
you install the boot manager?
Again, there have been small bits of information in various exchanges via
the mailing lists; however, I have yet to see a complete treatment of the
FreeBSD boot manager in any one document.
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