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Dual-boot WinXP: FreeBSD slice within 8GB? Space for EasyBoot? - FreeBSD

Hello - I'm going to install FreeBSD to make a dual-boot laptop (keeping WinXP-Pro). It has 60GB on a single hard drive, currently one big NTFS "partition" (C:) - which I will shrink down to about 16GB with PartitionMagic, leaving a new generic FAT or FAT32 slice which FreeBSD will overwrite. I have 2 questions: (1) Does the FreeBSD slice have to start before 8GB to be bootable? (2) Is there free space before the WinXP slice already for EasyBoot? Thanks. - Stefan Further details below: (1) Does the FreeBSD slice have to start before 8GB to be bootable? ================================================== ...

  1. #1

    Default Dual-boot WinXP: FreeBSD slice within 8GB? Space for EasyBoot?

    Hello -

    I'm going to install FreeBSD to make a dual-boot laptop (keeping WinXP-Pro). It has 60GB on a single hard drive, currently one big NTFS "partition" (C:) - which I will shrink down to about 16GB with PartitionMagic, leaving a new generic FAT or FAT32 slice which FreeBSD will overwrite.

    I have 2 questions:

    (1) Does the FreeBSD slice have to start before 8GB to be bootable?

    (2) Is there free space before the WinXP slice already for EasyBoot?

    Thanks.

    - Stefan



    Further details below:

    (1) Does the FreeBSD slice have to start before 8GB to be bootable?
    ================================================== =================
    This is a new machine, so I assume I have BIOS LBA, which got rid of the dreaded "1024 cylinder limit". But the link below (very optimistic, but talking about hard drive with only 1.6GB, way less than 8GB) implies that even with BIOS LBA, my FreeBSD slice still needs to start before 8GB:

    http://geodsoft.com/howto/dualboot/"With BIOS LBA, the hard disk size limitation is virtually removed (well, pushed up to 8 Gigabytes anyway). If you have an LBA BIOS, you can put FreeBSD or any OS anywhere you want and not hit the 1024 cylinder limit."

    I know people say that FreeBSD can boot from "anywhere" - but even if its slice starts way out around 20GB??


    (2) Is there free space before the WinXP slice already for EasyBoot?
    ================================================== ==================


    http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/articles/multi-os/x191.html
    "Some operating systems (FreeBSD included) let you start their partitions right after the Master Boot Sector at Cylinder 0, Head 0, Sector 2 if you want. ... Then when you go to install your boot manager, if it is one that occupies a few extra sectors after the MBR, it will overwrite the front of the first partition's data. In the case of FreeBSD, this overwrites the disk label, and renders your FreeBSD partition unbootable.
    The easy way to avoid this problem (and leave yourself the flexibility to try different boot managers later) is just to always leave the first full track on your disk unallocated when you partition your disk. That is, leave the space from Cylinder 0, Head 0, Sector 2 through Cylinder 0, Head 0, Sector 63 unallocated, and start your first partition at Cylinder 0, Head 1, Sector 1. For what it is worth, when you create a DOS partition at the front of your disk, DOS leaves this space open by default (this is why some boot managers assume it is free). So creating a DOS partition up at the front of your disk avoids this problem altogether. I like to do this myself, creating 1 Meg DOS partition up front, because it also avoids my primary DOS drive letters shifting later when I repartition."

    As my laptop already has a DOS (WinXP-NTFS) slice at the beginning of the hard drive, can I just shrink this slice down to about 20GB, install FreeBSD on the slice after that, install EasyBoot, and assume that EasyBoot will be tucked into that sliver of free space before Cylinder 0, Head 1, Sector 1?

    Thanks,
    Stefan





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  2. #2

    Default RE: Dual-boot WinXP: FreeBSD slice within 8GB? Space for EasyBoot?

     

    Stefan,

    I just did the same sort of set up. The only difference was that I blew
    everything away and started from scratch. I used 3 partitions. The first
    for WinXP-Pro, The second for FreeBSD, and the third as a drive for
    swapping files between the two. I set up WinXP-Pro on my first partition
    using NTFS and alotted 15GB. The "swap" partition was the third
    partition, 12GB, and formatted as FAT32. FreeBSD was assigned the
    remainder of the 50GB harddrive and assigned into Partition 2. I
    installed WinXP first, then FreeBSD and allowed FreeBSD to install it's
    multi-boot manager and I haven't had any problems with booting either
    OS.

    HTH,
    Jon Bomgardner
     

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    Bomgardner,Jon Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: Dual-boot WinXP: FreeBSD slice within 8GB? Space for EasyBoot?



    Not as far as FreeBSD is concerned.
    Since your laptop is fairly recent - last 6 years or so. Then not as
    far as the BIOS is concerned either. Older than that might be a problem.
     

    Since that is where your WinXP is and it is what did the original
    allocating, you will have to check it out from that point of view.

    FreeBSD has nothing to do with that if you shrink the MS slice and
    make the slice for FreeBSD come after the MS slice - which is the
    way you want it.

    I think your Partition Magic can tell you if there are any spare sectors
    in front of the MS slice (partition in their terms). By the way, make
    the Partition Magic boot floppies and work from them when shrinking the
    MS NTFS slice to make room for a FreeBSD slice. It won't work from one
    installed on the hard disk because you will be modifying the slice it
    is running from.

    I don't know if EasyBoot needs extra space or not - haven't used it.
    But you don't really need it to dual boot the machine between
    FreeBSD and WinXP-pro. The machine I am typing on at the moment is
    dual booted between FreeBSD and Win XP-pro and I just use the regular
    FreeBSD MBR. Its only annoyance is that since the MS slice is NTFS it
    identifies it as ?? in the boot menu. But it works just fine.

    If you just have to have a different MBR/booter to make the menu
    look pretty, then leave the first full track unallocated.

    I don't think it is worth the bother of trying to move the MS slice
    if it didn't already leave the room, just to get rid of the ?? in
    the boot menu. But, maybe you have more time in your life to mess
    with those details than I do in mine.

    ////jerry
     

    Jerry Guest

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