Suggestions for PII 400 boot failure

Vinny vinny-mail-01+f.questions20081120 at
Sun Nov 23 00:16:54 PST 2008

Chris Pratt wrote:
> On Nov 20, 2008, at 4:31 PM, Vinny wrote:
>> Hi,
>> A friend of mine is trying out FreeBSD and ran into
>> a booting problem.  Here is his message:
>> "Well, that's discouraging.
>> I have put together an old PII 400 with  three 20GB drives and a CDROM 
>> that I'd like to run BSD on.  Half a GB of RAM I figured would be 
>> respectable.
>> Downloaded the ISO files, burned CDs of them and when I try to run 
>> them it starts to boot and then freezes tighter than a muskrat's arse.
>> Three lines coming on the screen and it ends with "Starting the_" and 
>> just hangs.
> He might want to try downloading the floppy set and booting
> from there. I think that is what I did on an old Dell 200 I'm
> using as a bridging firewall at home. This is a pathetically old
> machine and won't boot the ISO (I found it when cleaning out
> my rental, left to throw away by the renter), but it works great
> once you finally get the system on it. It's on 6.2 but I imagine
> 7.0 will be fine.

Thanks everyone for your help,

Here is a message from my friend:

"Well, it's been a long day but I've had some success on the BSD front.

I went to a couple of used/recycling/salvage places today looking for a 
PIII or low-end P4 motherboard and processor.  I didn't see anything 
that was very interesting so toodled on home and had a cup of tea.

I decided since the system was essentially running fine (without an OS) 
that I'd give the floppy disk install a bit of a run.  So I downloaded 
all the floppy disk image files and fdimage.exe (the utility to convert 
them) and created all the necessary floppy disks.

I did a simple install, paritioned the drives and created a user and 
administrator account along with some basic network settings.

It seemed to connect to the internet just fine during boot up and when I 
ran ping against I was receiving back valid addressing 
information so it appears that that is all working fine.

So I ran /usr/sbin/sysinstall from the root directory to try to 
customize the installation a bit better.  I adjusted the "media type" to 
an ftp server as opposed to CDROM and POOF... Bob Shurunkel...

BSD is now downloading an X-Windows interface from the internet as we 
(or I in this case) speak.

I suspect there's going to be a bit of a learning curve here but I'm 
looking forward to it.  It could have been much simpler if I would have 
been able to install from CD to being with but there definitely is a 
workaround which, in itself, pleases me.

Will keep you posted."


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