partition black magic but no data lost phew!

Chris Whitehouse cwhiteh at
Tue Jul 14 20:27:21 UTC 2009

Randi Harper wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 3:56 PM, Chris Whitehouse <cwhiteh at>wrote:
>> Hi,
>> This is from memory (brain not ram) and I can't recreate the steps for
>> reasons which will be obvious, so may not be entirely accurate.
>> I have a sata hard disk which is divided into 2 slices. Slice 1 (ad4s1) is
>> about half the disk and had the remains of a standard install with swap, / ,
>> /var, /tmp, /usr. Slice 2 (ad4s2) is the remainder and has a single
>> partition for data, ad4s2d. It was all created with sysinstall and doesn't
>> have anything special like dangerously dedicated.
>> The operating system on this machine is on a second hard disk which is what
>> I booted from.
>> I moved all the data from ad4s1f onto ad4s2d so that I could delete
>> partitions from slice 1 and make a single large partition.
>> I then unmounted all ad4* partitions. I may even have rebooted.
>> sysinstall - Configure - Label allowed me to delete ad4s1a but when I tried
>> to delete the other ad4s1* partitions sysinstall told me I had to set
>> kern.geom.debugflags=16 before I could make changes on a running system . I
>> set kern.geom.debugflags but changes I made in sysinstall did not take
>> effect, the partitions persisted, both as /dev/ad4s1* and as entries in
>> sysinstall
>> At some stage sysinstall core dumped and somewhere else ad4s2d got deleted.
>> I managed to recreate it and didn't lose any data.
>> Next I booted from a pen drive and successfully deleted the partitions from
>> slice 1, being very careful not to delete the partition on slice 2, however
>> when I exited from sysinstall ad4s2d was gone. Again I managed to recreate
>> it and didn't lose any data.
>> The bit that puzzles me is that ad4s2d disappeared twice and the second
>> time I am sure I didn't do any explicit steps to delete it.
>> Did I hit a bug in sysinstall or did I do something wrong? I didn't lose
>> any data in the end but I could easily have done (I know - back up - I'm
>> going to go and buy a nice big external hard disk very soon ;)
>> FreeBSD muji 7.1-PRERELEASE FreeBSD 7.1-PRERELEASE #0: Mon Nov 24 20:22:16
>> EST 2008 root at pcbsdx32-7:/usr/obj/pcbsd-build/cvs/7.0.2-src/sys/PCBSD
>>  i386
>> Everything is sorted now so I am really asking this out of curiousity.
>> Thanks
>> Chris
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> When you booted from the pen drive, was sysinstall running as init? ie: is
> this the memstick.img from the ftp site or a homebrew disc1.iso->usb image,
> or did you have freebsd installed to the pen drive? If so, what version?
> -- randi
I'm pretty sure I used these instructions to create the pen drive install.

Otherwise it was a standard 7.2-R install. As the pen drive doesn't have 
an rc.conf I think it must be the submonkey article.

uname -a for the pen drive:
FreeBSD  7.2-RELEASE FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE #0: Wed Jul  1 21:15:38 BST 
2009     root at eco.config:/usr/src/sys/i386/compile/GENERIC_NO_SBP  i386

uname -a for the bootable hard disk which I gave incorrectly in my first 
post is
FreeBSD eco.config 7.2-RELEASE-p1 FreeBSD 7.2-RELEASE-p1 #0: Sat Jun 20 
22:43:47 BST 2009 
root at eco.config:/usr/src/sys/i386/compile/GENERIC_NO_SBP  i386

This is from Manolis's XFCE DVD


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