Sanity Check on Mac Mini

Molly (Dev Lists) mollydevlists at
Sun Mar 10 01:54:23 UTC 2013

On 08 Mar 2013, at 17:43, Doug Hardie <bc979 at> wrote:
> On 7 March 2013, at 17:00, John Mehr <jcm at> wrote:
>> On Thu, 7 Mar 2013 14:18:23 -0800 Doug Hardie <bc979 at> wrote:
>>> On 7 March 2013, at 11:57, Kevin Oberman <rkoberman at> wrote:
[ ... ]
>>>> Thanks.  Well, I got 9.1 Release installed, but it won't boot from the internal disk.  It doesn't see the disk as bootable.  I installed using the entire disk for FreeBSD. I used the i386 release.  Perhaps I need to switch to the amd64 release?
>>>> I would generally recommend using the amd64 release, but it may not get your system to boot. How is your disk partitioned? GPT? Some BIOSes are broken and assume that a GPT formatted disk is UEFI and will not recognize them if they lack the UEFI boot partition. UEFI boot is a current project that seems likely to reach head in the fairly near future, but it's not possible now.
>>> No idea what the default partitioning is for BSDInstall. However the Mini is only EFI or UFEI with some fallbacks although the comments I find in the web indicate that different models have different fallbacks.
>>> One comment indicates that an older unit will boot if its MBR partitioning.  I don't know if the new installer supports that or not.
>>>> You may be able to tweak your BIOS to get it to work or you may have to install using the traditional partitioning system. The installer defaults to GPT, but can create either.
>>>> I have such a system (ThinkPad T520) and I have two disks... one that came with the system and containing Windows, and my GPT formatted FreeBSD disk. I wrote a FreeBSD BootEasy boot into the MBR of the Windows disk and it CAN boot the GPT disk just fine. Not ideal for most, but it works well for me
>>> Based on a comment I say, waiting till the empty folder icon appears and then plugging in the install memstick causes the mini to boot from disk.  That just downright weird, but it works.  I could live with that, but this is an unattended server and would experience some down time if I am not there when there is a power failure.
>>> I just found some "instructions" for using MBR with bsdinstall, but given there is an effort to create a UEFI boot which I suspect would expect to find the GPT boot partition, perhaps I should just go with the memstick approach?
>> Hello,
>> If you still have a drive with OS X on it, you may have some luck with OS X's bless command:
>> I got a late 2012 mac mini to boot FreeBSD 9.1 (AMD64) from a hard drive using 'bless' (unfortunately I don't remember the exact command line parameters I used).  If you're looking to dual boot, the only luck I had (without resorting to using third party software like rEFIt) was to put the OS's on different drives and install FreeBSD using MBR on the second drive.
> I have investigated the bless command and nothing I find on google gives me any good ideal on what folder/file to bless.  I am wondering if just using the volume command and ignoring folder and file would work?

When I was setting up FreeBSD (9/amd64) to run on a MacBook Air, I used (from within Terminal while booted into an OS X boot image):
    sudo bless --device /dev/disk0s2 --setBoot --legacy

(s2 was the FreeBSD boot slice.)

My notes also claim that the drive needed to have MBR boot code installed first (e.g., via fdisk -B ada0 or the gpart equivalent) in order for the blessing to work.  This was about a year ago (December 2011), on whatever hardware/firmware/OS X were current at the time.

-- Molly

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