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I ran FreeBSD as my main desktop for many years beginning with the first release before switching to Linux some time ago. I decided to install it on a desktop ...
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  1. #1
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    GPT and installation difficulties


    I ran FreeBSD as my main desktop for many years beginning with the first release before switching to Linux some time ago. I decided to install it on a desktop that was waiting for something to happen and downloaded the boot only CD of v10 to do that with.

    The installation process went smoothly but the Intel boot loader wouldn't pick up the GPT. After reading about it on the FreeBSD forums I tried using the partition editor to set up the disks using MBR instead but the editor wouldn't let me enter anything in the text boxes.

    I downloaded the 9.3 version since I'd read that some people had found they could set it up with MBR from that version but, while I could enter some things into the text boxes nothing seemed acceptable to the editor.

    I was left with the option of manually partitioning for the MBR which looked like a lot of effort not being sure it would work.

    I had another computer - again Intel boot loader - that I thought I'd try but had the same problem with it as well. Both computers are a little older but very serviceable - I installed Fedora 20 on one and Scientific Linux 6 on the other and they run beautifully.

    I'd still love to have FreeBSD on one of them but if GPT is know the de facto partitioning standard I'm concerned that I would either be stuck running an outdated version unless purchasing a new computer.

    Somewhere in the documentation I saw it explained that GPT is superior and I'm willing to accept that, but it does seem to mean installing on older computers will be a tedious affair.

  2. #2
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    You made me look

    Code:
    harry@biker1:~$ sudo parted -l
    [sudo] password for harry: 
    Model: ATA APPLE SSD SM128 (scsi)
    Disk /dev/sda: 121GB
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/512B
    Partition Table: gpt
    
    Number  Start   End     Size    File system  Name  Flags
     1      1049kB  9438MB  9437MB  ext4
     2      9438MB  121GB   112GB   ext3
    Yeah, I stayed with GPT on this used Apple SSD drive on this Compaq CQ57.
    I don't dance with BSD though on this drive (or any drive for that matter ).

    So not sure what roadblock is stopping you.

  3. #3
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    It's a boot loader issue. Some of the older Intel boards don't recognize GPT partitions as bootable.

  4. $spacer_open
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  5. #4
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I had the similar issue but with a Linux distro; I think it was Sabayon and it had the additional complication of being an efi installation, anyway to cut a long story short, the solution in that case was to boot using a live disk and to manually set the boot flag on the appropriate partition.

    That was on an Intel based laptop.
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

    Grandpa Simpson



    The Fifth Continent

  6. #5
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    So something like (in parted)
    Code:
    set <partition number> boot on
    ?

  7. #6
    Penguin of trust elija's Avatar
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    I used gparted and then went to Partition -> Flags. I'm not sure if that helps with BSD.
    "I used to be with it, then they changed what it was.
    Now what was it isn't it, and what is it is weird and scary to me.
    It'll happen to you too."

    Grandpa Simpson



    The Fifth Continent

  8. #7
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    I bit the bullet and manually partitioned an MBR based boot system and now have a basic FreeBSD 10 installed (and booting).

  9. #8
    Linux Enthusiast sgosnell's Avatar
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    You might want to read this for future reference:
    https://www.happyassassin.net/2014/0...lly-work-then/

  10. #9
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    Looks like a good article. FreeBSD uses and they say boots from GPT partitions that aren't UEFI at all as well as ones that are.You wouldn't know it by my experience but apparently it commonly works.

    The machine I installed on wasn't UEFI.

  11. #10
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    When you say "boot loader", I think you mean "BIOS".

    I've had this problem in the past on an older motherboard that couldn't even recognise gpt disks and would actually freeze during the POST. The bsdinstall "auto" partitioning always creates a gpt and even doing manual partioning, which will apprently allow you to create an mbr, did not work and it still froze on reboot.

    bsdinstall seems to have had some problems with this - so using a FreeBSD 8.x sysinstall installer to create partitions and then just rebooting and installing FreeBSD 9.x/10.x is an 'easy' workaround.

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