some issues about partitions and boot manager in dual boot cases with Windows

danan danan at
Wed Oct 18 20:54:59 UTC 2006

           Hi, I'm actually looking forward to install on my computer a freeBSD edition (very probably PC-BSD).  I found this OS extraordinary after a first experience with a live CD. 
The only thing that keeps me back is the installation: I got a almost 10 (even not more) manuals about freeBSD and none, absolutely none, does not specify the very commun possibility of having a disk already with 2 partitions in Windows, not to mention even further possibilities as having 2 disks, from wich one having 2 partitions. 

For instance I have 2 computers, each with 2 SATA disks: on the first, the master, Windows 2000 or XP, and on the other, on the first partition, the other Windows flavor, respectively XP and 2000, the second partition, in both cases, being left for data. Both systems are in dual boot; I decided to have ready (and use) both Windows flavors after a couple of very bad experiences of crushings; thus, in cas of crush, at least on of the 2 OS would be still working allowing me to access the data.

Now I decided to install the freeBSD on the second partition of the second disk (in each case more than 100 GB) and I cannot find in any manual how, or even if or not, this second partition, of the second disk will appear in Sysinstall Program; normally, it would appear as a "da2" specification, but will it be recognized by freeBSD as "a disk", that is, a 3rd disk ? 

And if not, do I have to format, allocating the necessary space, in freeBSD (Unix) system files ? This because this second partition of the second disk is already formated in NTFS of Windows ... In this case, do I have to put exactly the measure of the partition (done in Windows) for formating in freeBSD ? I ask this because in a forum I noticed that someboyd had some problems after leaving a little space between his 2 partitions of the disk (the first with Windows, the second of Linux). 

And a last thing, even more worring: the booting and the MBR; do I have to leave the MBR untouched or to install the freeBSD boot manager in MBR ? In a Linux manual it is clearly specified, in the chapter about dual boot with Windows, that in this last case - if the Linux boot manager is installed in MBR - than Windows OS (XP or 2000) will not boot anymore ... So, leave the MBR untouched when installing freeBSD or not ?

Excuse for my long message but I'm a little exasperated and don't understand why this extremly important aspects are not stressed enough in the BSD manuals: how to install the boot (in case of coexistence with other OS, mostly Windows) and how to choose and partition the disks already partitioned ... 

I am almost sure that many potential freeBSD users are hold back from installing it because of these capital issues ... 

Thank you very much


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