9.0-RELEASE amd64 Bricked My Hard Drive

Fbsd8 fbsd8 at a1poweruser.com
Sat Jan 7 02:57:28 UTC 2012

Bill Tillman wrote:
> Today I encountered a problem which has me stumped. I downloaded and
> burned the ISO image for 9.0-RELEASE for amd64. I  installed an older
> IDE hard drive to test the new OS with and did the install. I was very
> surprised at the (1) the dvd is actually a live CD if you wanted it to be
> and (2) the installers screens have all been revamped. I can't say for sure
> if the partitioning part was where it went south on me because I was
> attempting to setup some additional partitions but the input screens had
> me confused and I pressed Auto so it took off and made the default
> paritions. The computer would
> start up, show me the flash screen to do the Bios setup and then nothing.
> I put the other drive back in and it worked fine. I tried another computer
> and the results were the same. 
> snip 

This is a known problem with bsdinstall in 9.0. Newer pc's have bios 
that use gpart format disk partition layouts (IE windows7) so for 
FreeBSD to be compatible with new PC hardware, Bsdinstall defaults to 
using the gpart format disk partition layouts. Bsdinstall provides no 
automatic way to create (mbr, Dos) format partitions. The user is 
suppose to know before installing 9.0 that their pc hardware requires 
(mbr, Dos) format partitions and instead of using the automatic gpart 
format disk partition layouts they must select the manual option which 
opens a shell where the installer must enter the native commands to 
create the (mbr, Dos) format partitions like sysinstall did in 8.2 and 
older releases. This puts a unfair burden on users to know beforehand 
whether their pc bios are gpart aware. Bsdinstall provides no displayed 
information informing the user of what they need to know about their 
equipment before selecting the disk format to use.

I believe this user is just the tip of the iceberg of users installing 
9.0 on older hardware. At this time the only way to automate the 
creation of the (mbr, Dos) format partitions using the 9.0 bsdinstall is 
to select the manual option in the disk config screen and them launch 
"sade", this is the disk configuration dialog from sysinstall that has 
been turned into a standalone utility.

If you think "sade" should be made a option of the bsdinstall disk 
config dialog then post your comments here and cc to 
nwhitehorn at freebsd.org the author of bsdinstall.

The bsdinstall has absolutely no built in HELP, But there is some new 
documentation in the online freebsd manual.
It's under constant revision so it may not be totally accurate, but it 
will provide you some insight to your disk config problems.

Note: before you can use that gpart disk to create mbr you have to 
delete the (crap) gpart writes at the end of the physical disk. This 
script works great to do that.


After running the script, then on same disk pc install 8.2 and reboot.
If it boots fine then you know for sure your pc bios is not gpart aware, 
and you will always have to use mbr disk format on that pc hardware 
combination. The SADE utility will become your long time friend.

Good luck.

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