Urgent FreeBSD Boot question!

Kevin Oberman oberman at es.net
Mon Mar 20 22:18:04 UTC 2006

> Date: Mon, 20 Mar 2006 16:43:25 -0500
> From: Benjamin Sher <sher07 at mindspring.com>
> Sender: owner-freebsd-stable at freebsd.org
> Dear friends:
> I decided to go out and buy the latest issue of Linux Format with the
> FreeBSD 6 CD. I am very glad I did. FreeBSD is tough to install, but
> after spending several hours I finally succeeded in doing a perfect
> installation. ONE BIG PROBLEM: When I removed the CD and rebooted, I got
> into my Windows XP (I have two separate disks, one for Windows, one of
> FreeBSD). There was no way to get into FreeBSD. Naturally, I went into
> my BIOS and changed the boot sequence from CD to Hard Drive. That only
> caused my system to boot into Windows XP.
> I read the instructions about the FreeBSD Boot Manager. It said clearly
> that it should allow switching from one OS to another. But I did not see
> any configuration for that. How, may I ask, do I do this while
> installing FreeBSD? How do I change this configuration to guarantee that
> all my work won't go down the toilet and that when I reboot, I will see
> Lilo or whatever as a boot manager that will allow me to select either
> FreeBSD or Windows?
> I am looking forward to solving this and then to actually seeing FreeBSD
> for the first time.

This is really more appropriate to questions, but I'll make some
suggestions that might get you going.

Just to clarify, this assumes that you have 2 physical disk drives, one
containing Windows and one containing FreeBSD and that Windows is
installed on the first drive and FreeBSD on the second.

When you installed FreeBSD, you installed the FreeBSD boot Manager on
the second hard drive, but the bootstrap on the first drive still has
the standard MBR. As a result, it simply boots Windows.

There are several solutions available. The easiest is to just put the
FreeBSD boot manager on the first drive. If you do this, you will get a
prompt when you boot that looks like:
F5  Other Disk

At this point, you can press either F1 for Windows and F5 to boot the
next disk. Pressing F5 will give you
F1  FreeBSD
F5  Other Disk

At this point, you can press F1 to boot FreeBSD or F5 to go back to the
first disk. 

The FreeBSD Boot Manager is smart in that it remembers a boot and
defaults to that boot on the next bootstrap operation.

To write the MBR on the first disk, just boot the CD and select the
holographic shell. At that point, enter the command:
boot0cfg -B ad0

That should do the trick. There are several other ways to do this, but
this is the first one I thought of for your situation.
R. Kevin Oberman, Network Engineer
Energy Sciences Network (ESnet)
Ernest O. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab)
E-mail: oberman at es.net			Phone: +1 510 486-8634

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