reducing Windows Vista to install FreeBSD dual-boot

Manolis Kiagias sonicy at
Wed May 27 11:57:47 UTC 2009

Matthias Apitz wrote:
> El día Wednesday, May 06, 2009 a las 01:26:50PM +0300, Manolis Kiagias escribió:
>> Matthias Apitz wrote:
>>> Hello,
>>> Maybe a bit off-topic (sorry for this). I've got a fresh Dell M4400
>>> laptop with 250 GByte, pre-installed Vista on it. Is there a way to
>>> reduce the Vista to let's say 50 GByte and install FreeBSD -CURRENT
>>> in the remaining 200 GByte, just to have the Vista later for some
>>> investigations, or whatever? Thx
>>> If not I will scratch the Vista, install FreeBSD and later in the rest
>>> of 50 GByte the Vista again.
>>> 	matthias
>> Sure, You can even reduce Vista's partition from Control Panel -> 
>> Administrative Tools -> Computer Management -> Disk Management.  Right 
>> click on the partition and select to shrink. The amount that it will 
>> allow you to shrink will vary (probably depends on the fragmentation) 
>> but I guess you will be able to get 50G on a 200G disk. Then install 
>> FreeBSD as usual, but do not allow it to install any boot manager (it 
>> will mess with Vista's BCD system). After installing, use EasyBCD (free 
>> download) within Vista to add FreeBSD to the boot menu.
> Meanwhile I'm running CURRENT in the 200 GByte and I'm nearly happy with
> all. I'm still waiting for the Atheros miniPCI Wifi to replace the
> unsupported Intel one with an Atheros AR5BXB6(AR5424). All other stuff
> is working fine now. Even the high-res display of 1920x1200 is now
> supported in the xf86-video-nv driver.
> Concerning EasyBCD, it tries always in unattended mode to boot the damn
> Vista and not the other FreeBSD partition which I have i 1st place in
> the boot menu, i.e. if you just switch on the laptop and go for coffee,
> you will find it Vista booted. :-(

There is an option in EasyBCD concerning the default entry to boot. I 
would tell you the exact location, but due to recent developments 
(VirtualBox running on FreeBSD) I completely wiped Vista from my laptop 
;) I am sure you will find it though.

> Is there no way to use the normal FreeBSD boot manager to switch between
> the partitions to boot?

This used to be the case up until XP. Vista's boot loader is very fussy 
though, and it usually breaks if you do that. For peace of mind I'd 
recommend against it. Another solution would probably be to not use the 
boot manger at all but use disk management in Vista and fdisk in FreeBSD 
to set the active partition each time you need to change. I haven't 
tried this, but it should work.

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