Question about FreeBSD installation procedure

Bret Busby bret at
Tue Sep 29 04:36:41 UTC 2009

On Sat, 26 Sep 2009, Manolis Kiagias wrote:

> Bret Busby wrote:
>> Hello.
>> I have been interested in installing FreeBSD on my laptop (HP/Compaq
>> NX5000, 2MB RAM), in a free 20MB partition.
> I really hope you meant Gb here ;)
>> I noticed that the Linux Format magazine to which I subscribe, in
>> Issue 124, comes with FreeBSD 7.2 on the DVD.
>>> From what I understand, FreeBSD (and possibly all BSD) uses hard disc
>>> slices rather than partitions, and therefore cannot
>> easily be installed in a free partition, but needs for hard disc
>> slices to be used.
> 'Slice' is FreeBSD jargon for what Windows / DOS would call a 'primary
> partition'. In short, FreeBSD can only be installed in your machine only
> if you have free space *and* the possibility to create a primary
> partition  in it .  Due to BIOS limitations, PC hardware only supports 4
> primary partitions on any disk.
> If you already have 4 primary partitions and you are not willing to
> delete one, you can't install FreeBSD as it won't install on what
> Windows calls an "Extended partition".  But let's say you have a typical
> laptop with two partitions for OS and data, and some free space at the
> end. FreeBSD will happily install there.
>> Is it yet possible to install FreeBSD into a hard disc partition,
>> rather than needing to install into hard disc slices?
>> I have attached a copy of the screenshot showing the partition table;
>> I wanted to install FreeBSD into sda8.
>> Can this be done.
>> Thank you in anticipation.
> The screenshot won't come through in the mailing list, if at all
> possible upload it somewhere and send us a link.


However, with the response above, and, with all of the responses thus 
far, to the query, it appears that I cannot install FreeBSD on the 
computer, without a full system rebuild, involving removal of all of the 
installed operating systems and software from the computer, then 
repartitioning, or, slicing up, the hard drive, and then creating new 
logical, extended partitions, and then reinstalling each of the 
operating systems, and all of the software for each of the operating 
systems, trying to ensure that I then have at least all of the software 
that is currently installed on each operating system on the computer, 
and, the data that is currently present on the computer.

And, with being required to do all of that, I do not know what would 
happen, regarding issues such as the interrupt conflict that I 
encountered when trying to initially install Debian 3.1 on the computer, 
the interrupt conflict being between the WiFi card and the ethernet 
card, which reuired Ubuntu to resolve the conflict, then (at the time, 
as I was then a strictly Debian user) uninstalling Ubuntu to reinstall 
Debian 3.1, with the solution to the interrupt conflict, having used 
Mandriva Linux to do the partitioning, so as to retain the initial 
installation of MS Win XP, which I would probably lose, and have to 
install from scratch, as part of installing BSD on the system.

So, getting the system set up, initially, to get Debian 3.1 running (it 
has been superseded on the system, first by Debian 4, and, now, by 
Debian 5), took a fair bit of time and effort, and problem solving, 
using various operating systems, to get the one extra operating system 

Due to the time and effort involved, and the apparent complexity, it all 
seems too difficult, to install BSD.

If FreeBSD would be able to be installed in a logical partition, within 
an extended partition, as can be done with Linux, it would probably be 
able to be done by me - in the meantime, it is simply too difficult.

Thanks anyway, for your help, to those who responded.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
  you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
   Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
   "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
   A Trilogy In Four Parts",
   written by Douglas Adams,
   published by Pan Books, 1992


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