FreeBSD on a PC with Windows

Erik Trulsson ertr1013 at
Fri Dec 7 05:28:45 PST 2007

On Fri, Dec 07, 2007 at 11:10:28PM +1100, David Morton wrote:
> I have been out of work so long (since being diagnosed as autistic and
> scared) that even as an IT professional, I now get very anxious about
> messing with my PC.
> However, I got a magazine that included FreeBSD/i386 6.2 on the DVD and I
> have always wanted to play with BSD.  My past experience included UNIX
> System V, some Solaris 7 or 8, and other variants, so you know a bit of
> history.
> Anyway, I have a laptop preinstalled with Vista Home Premium and I would
> like to also run BSD on it.  In reading your installation documentation, I
> do not see anything that suggests I can install FreeBSD onto my PC without
> wiping Windows.
> I also have restricted web access so cannot access you web site, so I would
> like to know if FreeBSD will install in a way that will not kill Windows on
> my PC?
> I have to ask this, because I once had an old PC and put Solaris on it, and
> that required a dedicated drive.  The PC is now dead, so I have to make it
> all work on one machine.

It is possible to have both FreeBSD and Microsoft Windows installed on the
same hard-disk and at boot time choose which one to run.

FreeBSD does not require a dedicated driver, but it does need a (primary)
partition (slice in FreeBSD-speak) on the harddisk.

If you already have a free partition with sufficient space (a few gigabytes
should be plenty) there should be no problems installing FreeBSD.  (Although
I have heard some rumors that Windows Vista makes it difficult to dual-boot 
other systems.  I don't know if there is any substance to this.)

If your Windows-installation already uses the whole hard-disk you will need
to do *something* to get space for FreeBSD.  I know that there are
Windows-based tools that can shrink existing partitions without requiring a
re-install of everything ('Partition Magic' is probably the most famous),
but I have no personal experience with any of them.

<Insert your favourite quote here.>
Erik Trulsson
ertr1013 at

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