system hangs on; "Probing devices, please wait (this can take a while)... "

Thomas Mueller mueller6727 at
Tue Jul 20 07:52:11 UTC 2010

I had this problem trying to install FreeBSD on my old computer: Cx486DX2 CPU at 66 MHz; 20 MB RAM; 1.2 GB IDE hard drive; 2x Texel, now Plextor, CD-ROM on Trantor T130B SCSI (NCR5380 chip; no support in FreeBSD >= 3.0); Iomega Zip 250 on same SCSI card.  That was in the days of FreeBSD 4.x.  No such problem on my newer computer with FreeBSD 7.x and now 8.0.  I wondered if this part had been revamped with FreeBSD 5.x.  

If you could boot a FreeBSD live file system, for which downloadable iso images are now available, you might be able to look at the sysinstall scripts, and after partitioning/disklabeling (bsdlabel), you might be able to newfs and make mount points, and untar the pieces (base.aa, base.ab, etc) onto the desired FreeBSD target slice.  I've wondered why FreeBSD installation sets (base, etc, games, comp, man and others) are broken into pieces of 1392 KB each as opposed to each installation set in a single .tgz or .tbz (base.tgz, etc.tgz, comp.tgz, and others: that's how NetBSD does it).  NetBSD installation CD also offers a utility shell (sh).  With floppy disks and floppy drives showing their age, I wouldn't be able to get enough good floppy disks together to install FreeBSD from floppies, and I believe others would have the same problem.

I never actually did this, so I can't be sure if I'd succeed: decidedly not user-friendly but might be interesting to try in a pinch.


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