Jerry McAllister jerrymc at
Sat Mar 24 02:11:15 UTC 2007

On Fri, Mar 23, 2007 at 05:39:20PM -0700, Jim Priovolos wrote:

Three things about using this list before any other thoughts.

First, please break your lines at about 70 characters length when posting.
It makes your post easier to read and much easier to respond to.

Second, Always include the list in your replies.   Unless there is an
especially important and sensible reason, do not narrow your responses
to just one person.   It is list etiquette and also practical - that
person may not have any more information and someone else might.

Third, please do not top post.   Insert your responses in to the appropriate
part of the messages.  Use inclusions markers (most commonly > ) to set
off included material and trim that included material to contain the
relevant parts if it is long.

> During the install I went through the menu's until it came to the place 
> where you chose a partition. There was one unused partition. The only 
> way I could get it to devote that slice to FreeBSD was to take the 
> defaults which gave me 7meg.

That still, unfortunately does not tell me the whole story.  The reason
is that there are still some places where the word partition is misused
(used unconsistently with the rest of FreeBSD).   In FreeBSD the primary
division of the disk is called a slice.    Slices are then subdivided
in to partitions in FreeBSD parlance.   
The hierarchy of terminology goes like this:

 -drive:         ad0 (for IDE family including SATA)  da0 (for SCSI family) 
                 would designate the first drive.  The second would be
                 either ad1 or da1.
 ---slice:       ad0s1..ad0s4 - Up to four slices numbered from 1-4.
                 MS is typically installed in slice 1 or 2 (depending if
                 the vendor sticks a diagnostic/recovery slice on first.
                 Dell likes to do that and I think IBM Lenovo does)
 -----partition: ad0s1a..ad0s1h.   Up to 8 partitions per slice but
                 partition c is reserved to identify the whole slice
                 partition is used for root and traditionally reserved
                 for that, though it can be used otherwise on a non-boot
                 disk.   partition b is used for swap and is traditionally
                 reserved for that.

So, what you are supposed to be looking for is a slice in which to 
install FreeBSD.  It may be that you are seeing the word partition where 
it should say slice or it may be that you are seeing partition correctly
used, but you are looking in the wrong place.

Anyway, FreeBSD needs a slice in which to install.   You may possibly
create only one partition within that slice (namely a root) for the 
install if you wish.   I prefer a little more protection against a
runaway process writing to disk than that and usually use several
partitions plus a sizeable swap partition, but that is beyond the 
question you are asking.

So, to clear this up just a little;
(read all, but the fourth item gets the information 
 needed to understand the situation and choose course of action
 which I am guessing will be the third item)

First, what is supposed to be the total size of the disk that you
got for this (probably came with the machine)?

Second, did it come with MS preinstalled?    If so, it undoubtedly used
all of the available disk and 7 MB is a left over unallocatable fragment.

Third, if it came with MS preinstalled, did you do anything to shrink
the MS slice (MS calls a slice a 'Primary Partition').    If you did
not, then most assuredly there is no space currently available to
make a slice for FreeBSD.   You have to use a disk management tool to
shrink the MS slice to make room for the creation of the FreeBSD slice.

If the MS slice (Primary Partition) is a FAT or FAT32 type, then there
are a couple of free utilities included with FreeBSD that will do it OK.
Read carefully in the FreeBSD Handbook about creating a dual boot system.

If the MS slice is an NTFS type, then those free utilities can not
handle it and you will have to go get something.   The one I have
successfully used is called 'Partitin Magic' and it tends to run
about $70 give or take, from most retailers, mail order or walkin.
I got mine at Best Buy.   Partition Magic will also handle the FAT
and FAT32 type MS Primary Partitions.    

In either case, you shrink the MS slice (Primary Partition) enough to 
make room for what you want.  Then you create a slice (Primary Partition)
in the newly made free space.   It needs to be a Primary Partition
and not an Extended Partition.  Partition Magic whines about that and
warns you that you might not be able to boot MS.   But it will do it
and it works just fine.    In Partition Magic terminology, create that
new Primary Partition as an 'unknown' type.   The FreeBSD installer
will modify the type during install.

Just a side note:   FreeBSD can read and write FAT and FAT32.  It can
read, but cannot write NTFS (at the current time).  If you have enough 
room to spare on the disk, you might want to make two new Primary
Partitions.  (remember, you can have up to 4).   Make one rather small
one, maybe a couple of GB or so, right next to the MS NTFS slice and
and make it a FAT32 type.  Then put FreeBSD in the one after that.  It
would make the extra one be slice 2 if no vendor slice and 3 if there
is a vendor diagnostic slice.  FreeBSD would then be in slice 3 if no
vendor slice or 4 if there is a vendor slice.   What this little 
extra slice becomes is a space where both MS and FreeBSD can read and
write and means you can use it to shuffle files back and forth.

OK. Fourth, to check this out and just see what is on that disk,
boot up the disc1 CD and when you get the big menu, choose to
run the fixit.    When you get the prompt for the fixit, you will be
in a fairly complete, (but still somewhat limited) version of FreeBSD.
Figure out what your drive name is - probably either ad0 or da0 (run
dmesg and pick through the output looking for the disk identifier - 
don't forget you can do scroll-lock and page up in the console)  and
then run fdisk on the drive with no other parameters,  eg.   fdisk ad0

It will print out the status of the four slices on the disk - how
much space is reserved for them, if any, and the type of the slice
and if it is bootable.   It might also make some blathering whines
about geometry.   Ignore those.    That fdisk command will give us
the necessary information to understand what is really available
and what is not.   Then you can go from there.


> Thanks again,
> Jim
> ----- Original Message ----
> From: Jerry McAllister <jerrymc at>
> To: Jim Priovolos <jim1976us at>
> Cc: questions at
> Sent: Friday, March 23, 2007 3:14:48 PM
> Subject: Re: Downloads
> On Thu, Mar 22, 2007 at 06:09:26PM -0700, Jim Priovolos wrote:
> > Thanks Jerry. If I double click on the files and allow Easy CD Creator 
> > to use it's defaults it works. It made bootable CD's. Easy CD Creator 
> > wants to use "disk-at-once".
> Unfortunately, I have found that different burner software utiliities
> use different terminology or the same terminology for different things.
> So, it can get confusing.
> > 
> > New question: Windows says I have 45g free but FreeBSD only finds 7meg.
> Are you looking at the same thing?
> What place is Windows looking at and what place is FreeBSD looking at?
> Normally, Windows cannot see FreeBSD disk slices and does not
> report them.   So, I am suspecting it is looking at its own space
> and not the FreeBSD space.   How did you create the FreeBSD space
> on the disk?
> ////jerry
> > 
> > And now I have a boot manager but nothing else.
> > 
> > Any help will be appreciated.
> > 
> > Thanks,
> > Jim
> > 
> > ----- Original Message ----
> > From: Jerry McAllister <jerrymc at>
> > To: Jim Priovolos <jim1976us at>
> > Cc: questions at
> > Sent: Thursday, March 22, 2007 10:44:07 AM
> > Subject: Re: Downloads
> >
> ____________________________________________________________________________________
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