a new hard-drive in a 2y/o laptop

Chris Brennan xaero at xaerolimit.net
Thu Dec 30 16:18:10 UTC 2010

On Thu, Dec 30, 2010 at 12:24 AM, Ian Smith <smithi at nimnet.asn.au> wrote:

> I don't expect this to be anything like that.  Please show a) how many
> slices you allocated and how big this FreeBSD slice is and b) how you
> partitioned the FreeBSD slice into (and sizes of) / /var/ /usr [/tmp?]
> and especially swap.
> I wouldn't allocate any less than 1GB for your root (/) partition esp.
> if building custom kernel/s; maybe that's fixed in sysinstall for 8.2?
> cheers, Ian  (please cc me on any reply; I take -questions as a digest)

I cleaned out the thread, leaving only your last bit of questions here.

I did apparently screw up the 'dd' cmd, I retyped it correctly, below is my
(very carefully) retyped recreation of the Fixit prompt;

Fixit# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/ad4 oseek-0 bs=512 count=1
1+0 records in
1+0 records out
512 bytes transferred ub 0.044723 secs (11448 bytes/sec)
Fixit# fdisk -Bi /dev/ad4
******* Working on device /dev/ad4 *******
parameters extracted from in-core disklabel are:
cylinders=1453521 heads=16 sectors/tracks=63 (1008 blks/cyl)

Figures below won't work with BIOS for partitions not in cyl 1
parameters to be used for BIOS calculations are:
cylinders=1453521 heads=16 sectors/tracks=63 (1008 blks/cyl)

Do you want to change our idea of what BIOS thinks ? [n]

This is where I stopped, admittedly, I do not know how to use FreeBSD's
fdisk. For the sake of brevity and to move along, I'll break fdisk here and
move back to sysinstall and provide what information I can this way.

>From sysinstalls menu, I choose 'Standard', next is the usual message about
fdisk partitioning schemes. After this, I get a 'User Confirmation Request',
which is very similar to the warning I received above. It says

WARNING: It is safe to use a geometry of 1453521/16/63 for ad4 on computers
with modern BIOS versions. If this disk is to be uised on an old machine it
is recommended that it does not have more then 65535 cylinders, more then
255 heads, or more then 63 sectors per track.

Would you like to keep using the current geometry?

<Yes> <No>

This is where I have two choices

Choice 1 (YES) produces the following in fdisk when choosing 'a' to use the
whole disk.

Offset        Size(ST)    End        Name    PType    Desc    Subtype
    0    63        62        -    12    unused    0
    63    1465149105    1465149167    ad4s1    8    freebsd    165

Choice 2 (NO) produces the following in fdisk when choosing 'a' to use the
whole disk.
If you are not sure about this, please consult the Hardware Guide in the
Documentation submenu or use the {G}eometry command to change it. Remember:
You need to eneter whatever your BIOS thinks the geometry is! For IDE, it's
what you were told in the BIOS setup. For SCSI, It's the translation mode
your controller is using. Do NOT use a ''physical geometry''.

Offset        Size(ST)    End        Name    PType    Desc    Subtype
    0    63        62        -    12    unused    0
    63    1465144002    1465144064    ad4s1    8    freebsd    165
1465144065    5103        1465149167    -    12    unused    0

Decidedly, the end result is approximately 698GB for the usable partition,
the second choice giving me a padding on both sides of the freebsd slice.

Moving on now, I choose the following

Standard MBR

Disklebel Editor

Part    Mount    Size    newfs
----    -----    ----    -----
ad4s1a    /    512MB    UFS2   Y
ad4s1b    swap    4096MB    SWAP
ad4s1d    /var    4973MB    UFS2+S Y
ad4s1e    /tmp    512MB    UFS2+S Y
ad4s1f    /usr    688GB    UFS2+S Y

Decidedly not my first choice for 8.1/amd64, but I can fix that layout
later, once I know how to get the system installed correctly.

'Q' to quick and continue, I choose 'Minimal' then 'CD/DVD' as my
installation media. I got the usual 'Last Chance' warning and then bam, I

Unable to find device node for /dev/ad4s1b in /dev!
The creation of filesystems will be aborted.
Couldn't make filesystems properly. Aborting.
Installation completed with some errors. You may wish to scroll through the
debugging messages on VTY1 with the scroll-lock feature. You can also choose
"No" at the next prompt and go back into the installation menus to retry
whichever operations have failed.

And this is where I am left. Hopefully, I've been explicit enough this time
:D Again, if I've missed something, please let me know and I shall provide

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