Boot failure after installation

L Goodwin xrayv19 at
Wed Apr 11 22:19:19 UTC 2007

Will someone please explain in detail how to run the FreeBSD fdisk util outside of the freebsd installer? Please provide detailed steps.

What would the experts do next in this situation? I've checked and double-checked BIOS (current version is same as what I have -- 1013, so did not re-flash), SCSI BIOS (reset defaults and low-level formatted da0). I've performed "Minimal" FreeBSD install per step-by-step directions, and always says it's installed successfully, but can never boot from da0 (since repartitioning using FreeBSD "fdisk" util). I've verified that I'm creating a single partition (slice) on da0, making it the "active" partition, then setting it Bootable.

I booted the FreeSBIE LiveCD, and tried to mount da0:
    mount /dev/da0 /mnt
    mount: /dev/da0: Operation not permitted
Jerry McAllister <jerrymc at> wrote: On Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 07:48:07PM -0700, L Goodwin wrote:

> Is there a way to run the "FDISK" tool outside of the freebds installer? 
> How do I change the disk configuration without reinstalling freebsd 
> every @#$%@#$% time?

Yes, all sysinstall does is collect the information and run fdisk for you.
See the man page   (enter  man fdisk )

It can be a little hard to read at first.  The fdisk and bsdlabel don't 
follow the normal man page form.

One thing you must know;  you cannot run fdisk on a drive that is in
active use.  If you booted from that drive or if you are CD-ed in to 
a file system on the drive, the system will not let you write to the
drive using fdisk.   You can only use fdisk to read the slice table
and run prototype setups that do not actually write out to the disk.

Trying to write to a drive that is active is a very popular mistake
when attempting to use fdisk.

So, read the fdisk man page and then come back with some more specific
questions if you need.

> I really want to set up a FreeBSD server and appreciate the learning experience, but it's way past the point where I should have switched to an OS that will actually run on my client's server. If I don't get it going tonight, I'm going to install the first Linux distribution that says "Hey, Sailor"...  =8-0

Guess you will need to follow the installation instructions in the FreeBSD
handbook more carefully.

> BTW, I burned a freeSBIE 2.0.1 Live CD, but have no idea what to do with it. Yes, I am pathetically clueless. Thanks for your patience!

Just boot it up and run it.    It will give you a very basic working
environment.    Then do something like you might in a UNIX system, 
like ls or cd or df or whatever.

> Derek Ragona  wrote:   One other thing that 
> might be happening is if the geometry of the drive isn't allowing an 
> extended translation because of the age of your hardware, you may need to 
> keep the boot partition, that is the entire boot partition (not talking 
> slices here) within the first 1024 cylinders.  In the partition tool in 
> sysinstall you can change the display to show different units, and one of 
> those will be cylinders.  The 1024 cylinder limit is from older BIOS 
> translations and if the boot partition extended beyond 1024 the system 
> will give that same error you are getting.

If the machine is built any less than about 11 years ago, this doesn't apply.

>  With older hardware you may need to use multiple partitions instead of 
> slices.  You can have 4 partitons on a drive (4 is hardcoded in the 
> partition table size and a location) so you can add additional partitions 
> for swap and /usr if you want.  Any partitions you use for filesystems 
> like /usr the boot manager will see and offer to boot them.  They won't 
> boot of course.  Swap partitions are ignored by the boot manager. 
This is mostly incorrect and even backwards.

First of all, there are 4 slices possible on a drive (or raid set for all
that matters).   Microsoft tends to call slices "Primary Partitions".
Slices are created and managed by the fdisk utility.  Fdisk also writes
the Master Boot Record (MBR) (but not the boot sector).

In FreeBSD you can divide each slice up in to partitions which are
identified as a..h, although 'c' is reserved.   These partitions are
created and managed by the FreeBSD bsdlabel utility (or disklabel in
older versions).   Bsdlabel also writes the boot sector.

>  Otherwise, I'd suspect it is a problem with the 6.2 you are using then.  
> If you try with a boot within the 1024 (I wouldn't push that to the 
> limit I'd say try like 950 cylinders) then I would try an earlier 
> version such as 6.1 or 6.0.

The whole issue of 1024 cylinders limit for bootable file systems
went away with improved BIOS about 11 years ago.
If you have a system old enough to have the problem, you should be
updating the BIOS rather than trying to accomodate the limit.


>          -Derek
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