FreeBSD 8.1 - boot failures (upgrades and clean installs) - root FS corrupt?

David Rawling djr at
Sat Sep 18 08:20:31 UTC 2010

  Hi all

I'm striking some trouble attempting to upgrade (and also in building a clean 
replacement) for an existing 8.0-RELEASE-p3 system running in a virtual 
machine. The host is Hyper-V R2 and 8.0 has been just fine and dandy.

Upgrades and installation generally appear to go fine - no error messages that 
I can see - but in each case on restarting the system I get only a black 
screen with a single hyphen on the second line, and the cursor flashing 
underneath it.

Leaving the VM for many minutes does not improve matters - but a Ctrl+Alt+Del 
does restart it, so it's not "hung" per se. It just fails to start.

This is the result of a clean installation:

The VM configuration is simple enough - a 64GB disk on IDE 0/0, a DVD on IDE 
1/0, an Intel 100Mbps network card (de0), 2 CPUs and 1GB of RAM. Booting the 
Fixit shell from the DVD - fdisk shows the disk partitioned, seemingly 
correctly. I've created partitions like so:

ad0s1a =  2GB = /
ad0s1b =  2GB = swap
ad0s1d = 10GB = /var
ad0s1e = 48GB = /usr
ad0s1f =  2GB = /tmp

Mounting them shows the root volume seemingly has data:

Fixit# df
Filesystem  1K-blocks    Used    Avail    Capacity    Mounted on
/dev/md0        39561    3051      900       77%      /
devfs               1       0        0      100%      /dev
/dev/acd0     2251930 2251930        0      100%      /dist
/dev/ad0s1a   2026030  272730  1591218       15%      /mnt/root
/dev/ad0s1d  10154158     194  9341632        0%      /mnt/var
/dev/ad0s1e  48745002  695558 44149844        2%      /mnt/root

Yet the 15% of used space is ... well not used properly:
Fixit# ls -la /mnt/root
total 0

fsck_ffs /dev/ad0s1a produces errors for many (all?) inodes - as if file 
writes were not properly completed / flushed. When fsck is completed, all 
contents are in lost+found as inode numbers.

Any suggestions on debugging what's going on? I'd really like to be able to 
get current.


David Rawling
Principal Consultant

PD Consulting And Security
Mob: +61 412 135 513
Email: djr at

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