2.11 Troubleshooting

The following section covers basic installation troubleshooting, such as common problems people have reported. There are also a few questions and answers for people wishing to dual-boot FreeBSD with MS-DOS.

2.11.1 What to Do If Something Goes Wrong...

Due to various limitations of the PC architecture, it is impossible for probing to be 100% reliable, however, there are a few things you can do if it fails.

Check the Hardware Notes document for your version of FreeBSD to make sure your hardware is supported.

If your hardware is supported and you still experience lock-ups or other problems, reset your computer, and when the visual kernel configuration option is given, choose it. This will allow you to go through your hardware and supply information to the system about it. The kernel on the boot disks is configured assuming that most hardware devices are in their factory default configuration in terms of IRQs, IO addresses, and DMA channels. If your hardware has been reconfigured, you will most likely need to use the configuration editor to tell FreeBSD where to find things.

It is also possible that a probe for a device not present will cause a later probe for another device that is present to fail. In that case, the probes for the conflicting driver(s) should be disabled.

Warning: Do not disable any drivers you will need during the installation, such as your screen (sc0). If the installation wedges or fails mysteriously after leaving the configuration editor, you have probably removed or changed something you should not have. Reboot and try again.

In configuration mode, you can:

After adjusting the kernel to match your hardware configuration, type Q to boot with the new settings. Once the installation has completed, any changes you made in the configuration mode will be permanent so you do not have to reconfigure every time you boot. It is still highly likely that you will eventually want to build a custom kernel.

2.11.2 MS-DOS User's Questions and Answers

Many users wish to install FreeBSD on PCs inhabited by MS-DOS. Here are some commonly asked questions about installing FreeBSD on such systems.

2.11.2.1. Help, I have no space! Do I need to delete everything first?
2.11.2.2. Can I use compressed MS-DOS filesystems from FreeBSD?
2.11.2.3. Can I mount my extended MS-DOS partition?

2.11.2.1. Help, I have no space! Do I need to delete everything first?

If your machine is already running MS-DOS and has little or no free space available for the FreeBSD installation, all hope is not lost! You may find the FIPS utility, provided in the tools directory on the FreeBSD CDROM or various FreeBSD FTP sites to be quite useful.

FIPS allows you to split an existing MS-DOS partition into two pieces, preserving the original partition and allowing you to install onto the second free piece. You first defragment your MS-DOS partition using the Windows DEFRAG utility (go into Explorer, right-click on the hard drive, and choose to defrag your hard drive), or Norton Disk Tools. You then must run FIPS. It will prompt you for the rest of the information it needs. Afterwards, you can reboot and install FreeBSD on the new free slice. See the Distributions menu for an estimate of how much free space you will need for the kind of installation you want.

There is also a very useful product from PowerQuest called Partition Magic. This application has far more functionality than FIPS, and is highly recommended if you plan to often add/remove operating systems (like me). However, it does cost money, and if you plan to install FreeBSD once and then leave it there, FIPS will probably be fine for you.

2.11.2.2. Can I use compressed MS-DOS filesystems from FreeBSD?

No. If you are using a utility such as Stacker(tm) or DoubleSpace(tm), FreeBSD will only be able to use whatever portion of the filesystem you leave uncompressed. The rest of the filesystem will show up as one large file (the stacked/double spaced file!). Do not remove that file or you will probably regret it greatly!

It is probably better to create another uncompressed primary MS-DOS partition and use this for communications between MS-DOS and FreeBSD.

2.11.2.3. Can I mount my extended MS-DOS partition?

Yes. DOS extended partitions are mapped in at the end of the other ``slices'' in FreeBSD, e.g., your D: drive might be /dev/da0s5, your E: drive, /dev/da0s6, and so on. This example assumes, of course, that your extended partition is on SCSI drive 0. For IDE drives, substitute ad for da appropriately if installing 4.0-RELEASE or later, and substitute wd for da if you are installing a version of FreeBSD prior to 4.0. You otherwise mount extended partitions exactly like you would any other DOS drive, for example:

    # mount -t msdos /dev/ad0s5 /dos_d

2.11.3 Alpha User's Questions and Answers

This section answers some commonly asked questions about installing FreeBSD on Alpha systems.

2.11.3.1. Can I boot from the ARC or Alpha BIOS Console?
2.11.3.2. Help, I have no space! Do I need to delete everything first?
2.11.3.3. Can I mount my Compaq Tru64 or VMS filesystems?

2.11.3.1. Can I boot from the ARC or Alpha BIOS Console?

No. FreeBSD, like Compaq Tru64 and VMS, will only boot from the SRM console.

2.11.3.2. Help, I have no space! Do I need to delete everything first?

Unfortunately, yes.

2.11.3.3. Can I mount my Compaq Tru64 or VMS filesystems?

No, not at this time.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.FreeBSD.org/pub/FreeBSD/doc/.

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <questions@FreeBSD.org>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <doc@FreeBSD.org>.