Reinstall without reformat

Polytropon freebsd at
Mon Oct 14 14:12:22 UTC 2013

On Mon, 14 Oct 2013 07:51:15 -0600 (MDT), Warren Block wrote:
> It is possible to mount filesystems manually from the shell and have 
> bsdinstall continue with the install without formatting them.  It's been 
> a while since I tried that, and I don't recall the exact details. 
> bsdinstall(8) suggests it may be as easy as just having the existing 
> filesystems mounted at /mnt.  Still, not something to try without a 
> backup.

So if I understand everything correctly, the "decision logic"
is -- when partitions do already exist -- as follows:

a) existing partitions not mounted:
   run newfs
   mount partitions
   copy files

b) existing partitions mounted:
   do not run newfs
   copy files

The installer itself doesn't seem to give a hint about
this logic, even though the manual _might_ suggest it.
I haven't examined the source code to fully verify this
logic, even though it would be a reasonable approach.

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

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