Dual Boot Windows 7 FreeBSd 8.3

Jerry McAllister jerrymc at msu.edu
Wed May 23 21:54:13 UTC 2012


I have been searching through questions and forums for information
on dual booting FreeBSD 8.3 on a machine with Windows 7 already on it.

My problem is that the posts seem to go around in circles and be
contradictory.  I am not sure which to believe.

My new machine has two disk drives.  Windows 7 is on ad0 and I want
to put FreeBSD 8.3 on ad1, leaving W7 as is.   So, I don't even have
to shrink a primary slice to do this.

I have dual booted Xp, Windows 98 and 95 with various FreeBSDs before
with no problem.   But, the story I keep hearing now seems to be that 
Windows 7 is more picky and will not work with the FreeBSD MBR.   I am
not sure why.

At least some people seem to be claiming that I canNOT just do the 
install and put the FreeBSD MBR on the primary slices right from the
sysnstall menu just like in the good old days - that the only way to 
make it work is to use something called 'Easybcd' to edit whatever 
Windows 7 puts in place rather than using the FreeBSD MBR and then
use the MS MBR with whatever Easybcd does to it.

Then again there were some posts that seemed to claim that using the
FreeBSD MBR in the tried and true old way is just fine and everything
just works.   I'd like to think that is true.    

I really don't want to have to scrounge up install media and remake
the Windows 7 just because I do some wrong thing or I would just
smoke test it.  I am really phobic when it comes to MS stuff.

I don't need any fancy boot menu.  What I have had in the past is
just fine. I just want to select either of the OSen and get some
stuff done.  I expect to be booted to FreeBSD most of the time, but
need to use some W7 now and then for powder point, etc.

If someone who understands the process underlying the boot system and 
knows if Windows 7 really does require something else now, who can speak
with confidence can enlighten us, I would certainly appreciate it.

Thank you,


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