newfs fails on 300GB HDD

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Tue Apr 11 15:08:24 UTC 2006

"Justin P. Michel" <justin at> writes:

> I'm having a slight problem with a 300GB IDE (Maxtor) HDD.  Basically, I've
> run the drive on the system through a complete low-level format and test
> with the PowerMAX tools, which passed fine.  The BIOS recognizes and
> auto-detects the drive okay as well.
> However, in trying to install FreeBSD 6.0, it goes through the partition
> section okay, and then the slice section okay (trying to use a full slice on
> the drive as /dumpdata), the mount fails, and on the alternate screen it
> shows newfs failing.
> Is there a special way to get this drive to work?  Does someone have
> experience with a similar setup that may shed some light my way?  I feel
> like a beginner all over again. : P

Presuming it is a brand new disk and is addressed as the second one (eg ad1), 
>From root (su-ed to root) try this:

     dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad1 bs=512 count=64

     fdisk -BI ad1

     bsdlabel -w -B ad1s1

     bsdlabel -e ad1s1

If you do not want it bootable, then skip the -B switches.

When you do the  bsdlabel -e it will put you in an editor session
with the base settings in the file.   Modify it slightly as follows.
Make the top line look something like:

  a:     *     *    4.2BSD     2048 16384    94   # (Cyl.    0 - 32*)

The '94' may be different.  If it suggests something else, then take that.

Then write/quit from the editor and it will write the label.

Then do the newfs:
    newfs -U /dev/rad1s1a

If newfs gets an error, write it down specifically.

If no error, try mounting:
    mount /dev/ad1s1a /dumpdata

Presumably you have made the directory /dumpdata?    That may seem
to simple to mention, but I have made that mistake more than once
and went nuts wondering why things (in a script) didn't work.

Good luck,


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