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Really Working Dual-Boot FreeBSD on Windows 7 machine?

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#1
Hello,
I'm hoping to install FreeBSD-8 on a laptop pre-installed with windows 7. The notebook already has 300+ unallocated disk space available for FreeBSD.

I've installed FreeBSD many times on dedicated hardware in the past, but I'm not familiar with what's required for a dual-boot install - with windows 7, in particular. So, I need your help, please. If this covered somewhere on these forums that I've not been able to locate, please point me in the right direction.

Otherwise, is anyone around here actually successfully installed FreeBSD (8) to dual-boot with windows 7 willing to help me out, please?

Thanks.

Regards,

skybsd
 

aragon

Daemon

Thanks: 273
Messages: 2,029

#2
In my experience Windows installers like to take over your system by overwriting the MBR with a basic bootloader and setting the windows partition to active. If you install it after FreeBSD, make sure you dd the first 512 bytes of your FreeBSD slice and copy that to a flash drive or something beforehand. After windows is installed you can make the windows boot loader boot FreeBSD with that file by following these instructions.

If you install FreeBSD after Windows, selecting to install the FreeBSD boot manager in sysinstall should allow you to boot both systems.
 

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#3
Hello aragon,
Good to hear from you - I appreciate your responding.

aragon said:
In my experience Windows installers like to take over your system by overwriting the MBR with a basic bootloader and setting the windows partition to active. If you install it after FreeBSD, make sure you dd the first 512 bytes of your FreeBSD slice and copy that to a flash drive or something beforehand. After windows is installed you can make the windows boot loader boot FreeBSD with that file by following these instructions.

If you install FreeBSD after Windows, selecting to install the FreeBSD boot manager in sysinstall should allow you to boot both systems.
I'm not sure you understand - I'm starting with a pre-installed windows 7 that's already on the machine. I need to know what I need to do in order to install FreeBSD (8) so that I will end up with a dual-boot machine at the end.

I had seen and reviewed that Handbook FAQ before - it does not apply in the case of windows 7. That "boot.ini" is now deprecated, and has been since windows vista, in fact.

What is it that actually worked for you?

Thanks again.

Regards,

skybsd
 

aragon

Daemon

Thanks: 273
Messages: 2,029

#4
Ah. Well since you have free space it should be easy - boot up with a FreeBSD installer and select the FreeBSD boot manager when prompted.
 

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#5
Hello aragon,
Good to hear from you again..,

aragon said:
Ah. Well since you have free space it should be easy - boot up with a FreeBSD installer and select the FreeBSD boot manager when prompted.
Err.., doesn't installing the FreeBSD boot manager result in the windows mbr entries being killed, resulting in an unbootable windows? Using a windows 7 recovery to (hopefully) restore the windows 7 mbr would only then mean that I will have restored access to windows only - no access to FreeBSD.

Or., have I missed something :q

Thanks, man.,

Regards,

skybsd
 

aragon

Daemon

Thanks: 273
Messages: 2,029

#6
Yup, it will overwrite the MBR's boot code. Unless you know how to make whatever boot.ini has been deprecated in favour of boot FreeBSD, then the only way to subvert windows is by replacing the MBR. The standard MBR will only boot one partition, the one marked as active. You need an MBR that presents you with a menu at startup and will boot whatever you choose from the menu. FreeBSD's boot0 boot manager does just that.

All I'm reciting is the standard way of multibooting FreeBSD with other operating systems. I haven't seen anyone else report back with windows 7, so others will appreciate you reporting back on your experience with this I'm sure.
 

andrnils

Member

Thanks: 1
Messages: 36

#7
I did set up dualboot yesterday ( win7 + freebsd ). Works like a charm :)

I shrunk the windows partition to get some free space, so my disk i split like
Code:
|win7 sytem partition| win7 c:             | freebsd                       | lenovo rescue|
During install i choose to install boot0. When the computer boots, F2 lets me boot win7 and F4 lets me boot fbsd.
 

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#8
Hello andrnils,
Good to hear from you..,

andrnils said:
I did set up dualboot yesterday ( win7 + freebsd ). Works like a charm :)

I shrunk the windows partition to get some free space, so my disk i split like
|win7 sytem partition| win7 c: | freebsd | lenovo rescue|
During install i choose to install boot0. When the computer boots, F2 lets me boot win7 and F4 lets me boot fbsd.
Glad to hear it worked out for you. Can you confirm which of the three bootmanager options you selected, please?

Also, are you saying that your procedure did NOT damage the windows mbr at all?

Thanks again.

Regards,

skybsd
 

andrnils

Member

Thanks: 1
Messages: 36

#9
skybsd said:
Can you confirm which of the three bootmanager options you selected, please?

Also, are you saying that your procedure did NOT damage the windows mbr at all?

Thanks again.

Regards,

skybsd
Sure, In the installer the option is called bootmgr I think. It does overwrite the mbr (the very first sectors of the disk), and that's perfectly fine ( at least for me ), as all relevant information is at the beginning of the windows partition.

As I understand the booting of x86 hardware is something like:
BIOS checks that the hardware is ok and then wants to pass control to a boot loader. It looks first in the MBR. The MBR may be either empty or contain a loader. If it contains a loader, that is run. If it is empty the bios looks in the active partition on the disk for a loader.

Without installing a boot manager in the mbr the partition which is set to 'active' will be started, i.e. no dual-boot.
 

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#10
Hello,

andrnils said:
Sure, In the installer the option is called bootmgr I think. It does overwrite the mbr (the very first sectors of the disk), and that's perfectly fine ( at least for me ), as all relevant information is at the beginning of the windows partition.
Actually the options (http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install-steps.html) are: -

BootMgr Install the FreeBSD Boot Manager
Standard Install a standard MBR (no boot manager)
None Leave the master boot record untouched

Which one is that you selected?

Another thing, was this a recent, downloaded FreeBSD ISO that you made and used for your installation?

I apologize for the questions, but I just would like to confirm exactly what it is that worked for you.

Thanks again.

Regards,

skybsd
 

andrnils

Member

Thanks: 1
Messages: 36

#11
skybsd said:
Hello,

Actually the options (http://www.freebsd.org/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/books/handbook/install-steps.html) are: -

BootMgr Install the FreeBSD Boot Manager
Standard Install a standard MBR (no boot manager)
None Leave the master boot record untouched

Which one is that you selected?
I selected BootMgr
skybsd said:
Another thing, was this a recent, downloaded FreeBSD ISO that you made and used for your installation?
I used a 8.0-RELEASE-amd64-disc1.iso from the FTP servers.
skybsd said:
I apologize for the questions, but I just would like to confirm exactly what it is that worked for you.

Thanks again.

Regards,

skybsd
No problem, better to get it right :)

Regards
andrnils
 

skybsd

New Member


Messages: 13

#12
Hello,
Thanks for confirming..,

What does windows 7 boot menu item show up as?

I recall that there was a time that when using the FreeBSD boot manager, windows always showed up as:

"F1 ???"

Thanks.

Regards,

skybsd
 

andrnils

Member

Thanks: 1
Messages: 36

#13
That depends on how your partition scheme looks like I guess. Since I had 3 partitions formated as either fat or ntfs I got 4 entries in the menu:
Code:
F1 win
F2 win
F3 win
F4 FreeBSD
For me the 2nd partition on the disk was c: i boot F2 to get into win7.
/andrnils
 

g_willikers

Member


Messages: 42

#14
Greetings,

Given that all my past attempts never worked as expected following all of the "dualboot how-to's".

On an "i386" box with Win3-2008 already installed, I found the safest procedure was to copy /boot/boot0 to C:\fbsdldr && [cmd=]attrib +r fbsdldr[/cmd] before installing FreeBSD then adding C:\fbsdldr="FreeBSD 8.0" to C:\boot.ini

Then rebooting to the FreeBSD install disk. When prompted to use a bootloader, I chose NO (leave the MBR untouched).

I found this especially true when installing FreeBSD alongside the Windows SERVER products - Windows 2000, Windows 2003, and Windows 2008.

Anyway, this method has never failed for me, so I thought it worth mentioning.

--Chris

PS
boot0 assumes the Windows/FreeBSD partitions are on the same drive.
Older BIOS's may have a limitation on how large the first partition can be to allow FreeBSD
on the second partition.
 

aragon

Daemon

Thanks: 273
Messages: 2,029

#15
skybsd said:
I recall that there was a time that when using the FreeBSD boot manager, windows always showed up as:

"F1 ???"
That can still happen with certain FAT32 partitions. It doesn't matter though, it just means boot0 doesn't recognise what it is. No effect on the ability to boot it.
 

SR_Ind

Active Member

Thanks: 16
Messages: 126

#16
Survival tips for Windows 7 + FreeBSD dual boot systems.

1. Try to limit the first partition to 32GB limit. Some BIOS have problem loading the boot code from 2nd partition onwards if the first partition is larger than that. I always restrict my first partition to 30GB.

2. If Win 7 is still intact and you have managed not to screw up the Win 7 bootloader, good. During FreeBSD install on 2nd partition choose not to touch the MBR.

3.

- Boot into Windows 7

OR

- If the Win 7 bootloader is gone. Prepare a boot manager CD. Use GAG bootloader. It can literally boot any OS you can think of. Download it from http://gag.sourceforge.net/. GAG boot CD will allow you to boot into damaged Win 7 installation (read GAG documentaion though)

4. Once inside Win 7, install EasyBCD (download from http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1). EasyBCD has a very intuitive GUI, it will easily allow you to add an entry to the FreeBSD boot block (i.e. 1st 512 bytes). Again read the the EasyBCD documentation to get it done in first attempt.

5. Reboot...your Windows 7 boot menu will show option for FreeBSD.

Remember...there is not boot.ini in Windows Vista onwards. So the older hacks like copying boot1 to C: will not work in Windows Vista onwards.
 
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