FreeBSD 9 and Windows XP

Polytropon freebsd at
Sat Mar 9 20:27:48 UTC 2013

On Sat,  9 Mar 2013 12:07:41 -0800 (PST), leeoliveshackelford at wrote:
> Good afternoon, FreeBSD enthusiasts.  Can FreeBSD 9.1 be
> installed on a computer on which Windows XP currently
> resides?


> If so, how can this installation be done?

First of all, you need a tool to make disk space available;
you can do this by adding an additional hard disk, or by
resizing the "Windows" partition. As "Windows" does not
seem to provide native tools to do this, you will have to
download a live system CD that contains a partition
management tool such as GParted; the UBCD live system
CD contains such a tool, if I remember correctly. There
are also dedicated boot CDs for this task, I think
"Partition Magic" is one of them. (Sorry I can't be more
specific, I have only limited experience with dual-booting
and the need to use such tools.)

> In particular, is there a way to install 9.1 so that it
> can be booted from the traditional master boot record?

In the installer, install the boot manager. This will
allow you to select if to boot FreeBSD or "Windows" when
the system has started.

> It is important that, when I am done, I can still boot to
> Windows XP, as I must run some applications not available
> on FreeBSD.

That's the purpose of such a tool. :-)

> If the idea I am proposing is not feasible with version 9.1,
> will it work with 8.3?

If I remember correctly, it has already been working in much
older versions (such as 5.0). The old installer (sysinstall)
had three options for dealing with the MBR: write a standard
MBR (will boot FreeBSD, typically used on a system that runs
this OS dedicatedly), install the boot manager (allows to select
what to boot), or leave the MBR untouched (will require booting
by a different means). The new installer (bsdinstall) offers
similar options.

> If this question has already been asked many times before,
> please just let me know where to look to find the answer.

Check The FreeBSD Handbook for detailed instructions about
the new installer. This will also cover dual-booting.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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