Getting FreeBSD up and running on an HP Vectra XU 6/200

Anthony Atkielski atkielski.anthony at
Tue Feb 22 10:35:49 GMT 2005

I've finally moved all my legacy apps off my Windows NT Server, and so
I've wiped the machine and installed FreeBSD.  Unfortunately, I can't
get it to boot.  I've discovered descriptions of my exact situations in
archives and on the Net, but none includes instructions specific enough
for me to figure out what's wrong.  It's like this:

The machine is an old but reliable HP Vectra XU 6/200, a dual-processor
Pentium Pro machine with 384 MB of RAM and two 4-GB SCSI disk drives.
It used to run NT, but I wiped the disks and installed FreeBSD alone on
the machine.  I used what I figured was a pretty standard setup for
disks with /, /var, /tmp, and a swap file on four separate slices on the
first disk, and /usr on the second disk.  The installation went fine.

Unfortunately, when I reboot the machine, it refuses to come up.  The
screen goes blank after the BIOS finishes with a cursor in the upper
left corner, and there it sits.  These symptoms are identical to what I
found looking around on the Net, but I couldn't find specific
instructions to fix it, although it was obvious that it can be fixed
somehow so that things run right.

If I boot from diskette again and stop in the loader, I see all the
drives and their structure.  If I unload everything, set the current
device to the nominal boot disk (disk1s1a) instead of the floppy, and
boot again, the system comes right up.  So the problem is obviously that
the BIOS doesn't know where to boot, but I'm not sure how to tell it
where to look.

Both disks were set up with the standard MBR.  Disk 0 (the same one that
contained the NT boot) contains the FreeBSD boot stuff.

Can someone tell me what I have to do to get the machine to boot from
hard disk 0?


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