MBR problem

Kjell B. homebell at telia.com
Sat Jan 31 10:38:23 PST 2004

Kjell B. wrote:
> I just installed FreeBSD 5.2-RELEASE (using the mini-install CD) on my
> laptop which already had Win XP Home + Win XP Pro on it. During
> partition definition I chose not to touch the MBR. (I wanted to make
> use of Windows boot.ini for booting into FreeBSD.) Nevertheless,
> whenever I boot I get directly to the FreeBSD boot menu where there's
> no option to boot Windows.
> disk layout:
> ad0s1: 31 MB DELL slice
> ad0s2: 8001 MB Windows XP Home slice
> ad0s3: 8510 MB extended DOS slice with three logical Win partitions
> (one of them Windows XP Professional)
> ad0s4: 2533 MB FreeBSD slice
> I tried to restore the MBR using fixmbr from Windows Recovery
> Console. It doesn't help. I claims it has overwritten the file, but I
> still get directly into FreeBSD at boot.
> I've tried setting ad0s2 and ad0s4 as bootable and then writing
> changes (W) in FDISK partition editor in sysinstall. At the following
> choice of MBR, I choose 'Install the FreeBSD Boot Manager'. I then
> get "ERROR: Unable to write data to disk ad0!" followed by "Disk
> partition write returned an error status!". The same result also if I
> choose 'Standard' or 'None' in the MBR choice menu.
> (Another weird thing in sysinstall -> fdisk: Positioning the cursor
> on any of the slices and hitting F1 yields "Sorry! The slice file is
> not provided on this particular floppy image". This indicates to me
> that something is wrong with my installation, but what?)
> Any hints on ways out of this?
> Another question: In 5.2 there are two sysinstalls -
> /stand/sysinstall and /usr/local/sbin/sysinstall whereas in 4.8 I
> only find /stand/sysinstall. Which one should I use with 5.2 and
> what's the difference between them?

OK, I did find a hint Googling a little more.

Apparently GEOM prevents me from using sysinstall on the installation for
changing MBR. I need to use the install CD and run sysinstall from there.
Then I could do the change of MBR and got the standard FreeBSD boot manager.
I now can boot Win XP or FreeBSD using the standard FreeBSD boot manager.
What remains is to get rid of that and use Windows boot.ini for choosing
between Win XP and FreeBSD, i.e. overwrite the MBR using fixmbr.


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