sysinstall: "You need to assign disk labels before you can proceed with the installation"

Christopher Key cjk32 at
Thu Mar 25 01:39:27 UTC 2010


Having run into various problems trying to upgrade from 7.2 to 8.0, I'm
instead trying to perform a clean install using sysintall.

I've downloaded 8.0-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img, modifed it to use a
serial console and flashed it to a USB drive.  This boots quite happily,
and presents me with the sysintall screen.

I'm intending to install to a pair of drives, mirrored with gmirror and
partitioned with GPT.  I therefore immediately drop into the fixit
shell, create the mirror, partition it, and mount the new partitions
under /newroot/, /newroot/usr etc.  I then exit back to sysinstall,
select custom install, point install root to /newroot and choose
distribution, media.  On selecting commit, sysinstall immediately
presents the message "You need to assign disk labels before you can
proceed with the installation", and won't proceed.

It seems this only happens when sysinstall is running in single user
mode.  I have manged to make some progress with tricking sysintall into
getting past this message.  If I run sysinstall within the fixit shell
(rather than exiting), I get a new instance of sysinstall with a pid
other than 1.  Symlinking /usr/bin to /stand, seems to provide most of
the binaries it needs, and it proceeeds part of the way through
installing the system before getting stuck on the documentation.

I avoided this problem when installing 7.2 by creating an mfsbsd image,
booting that, and then running sysinstall from there, but I'd rather not
have the hassle of doing this for every future release.  Moreover,
creating an mfsbsd image may not even be an option in the event of a

Is anyone aware of any way of installing using sysintall from the
standard FreeBSD media, but without using sysintall to partition and
label the target disks?

Kind regards,

Christopher Key

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