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

Rich rl001 at
Tue Jul 20 14:47:59 UTC 2010

Disks are not bad. Works with other OSes. Problem is with FreeBSD. I've tried 
versions 4.6, 7.2, 8.0 and 9.0. Only FreeBSD 4.6 boots without hanging. I've not 
tried 5 or 6 but I guess I could if it would help to narrow down what the 
changes were in those versions. Something obviously changed along the way to 
cause it to hang.

From: Randi Harper <randi at>
To: Bruce Cran <bruce at>
Cc: Chuck Swiger <cswiger at>; FreeBSD - <freebsd-questions at>; 
Rich <rl001 at>
Sent: Mon, July 19, 2010 11:19:06 PM
Subject: Re: system hangs on; "Probing devices, please wait (this can take a  
while)... "

On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 11:09 PM, Bruce Cran <bruce at> wrote:
> On Mon, 19 Jul 2010 16:17:06 -0700
> Chuck Swiger <cswiger at> wrote:
>> There's not quite enough information here to identify your
>> motherboard, but you should make sure there aren't any BIOS upgrades
>> available for it, as those might help resolve this level of issue.
>> Check your BIOS config for the disks carefully, and try adjusting the
>> options you have.  In particular, try choosing LBA mode rather than
>> auto or CHS, and try to toggle through "ACPI (or SATA mode)" vs. "IDE
>> (or PATA compatibility)" vs. "enhanced (often meaning some form of
>> BIOS RAID is enabled)" and see whether any of them work.
>> If that doesn't do the trick, you could wander through your BIOS
>> menus, and disable all of the non-essential stuff like parallel &
>> serial ports, second NIC, or anything else which is not needed, and
>> see whether that does any good...but that's getting into stuff which
>> is less likely to make a difference.
> The code that's being run does the following:
> 1. Finds all network interfaces.
> 2. Finds all CDROM, floppy, disk and network devices that might be
> needed for installation.
> 3. Finds all partitions on the disks to register.
> I'd guess it's hanging on a syscall somewhere, but there really isn't
> much debugging output in usr.sbin/sysinstall/devices.c to know where,
> unless the kernel has printed some errors to the debug console.
> --
> Bruce Cran
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> freebsd-questions at mailing list
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This is why I suspected #3 - maybe querying the disk and hanging
because of bad disk? Hard to say without debug logs.

-- randi

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