Installing DragonFly

Bill Hacker wbh at
Wed Apr 15 14:57:11 PDT 2009

Colin Adams wrote:
I couldn't use Windows anything - that is banned from my house.
Good news, that. Should reduce your long-term rosk of stroke or hear attack.


Equally, I can't use a Linux fdisk (for instance), because I can't
boot the computer at all if the disk is plugged in.
If I remove uncable the disk, then I can boot from the DragonFly live
DVD (or any other live CD/DVD presumably). But then I can't do
anything to the disk because it isn't plugged in.
Suggestion (from 'bitter' experience) - get your hands on another HDD, 
(temporarily) make that one the 'primary' and set it up with (at least) 
one or more *BSD and a low-hassle Linux. My mix of choice is FreeBSD, 
NetBSD, DFLY & Vector Linux 5.9 Std edition. (It often helps to see how, 
or IF 'the other guy' reads your MBR and disklabel)

You should then be able to attach the problematic disk - before or after 
boot. (Suspicion - is your BIOS set ot boot form it? and if so, can that 
be changed?)

Further - RAID quite aside, FreeBSD atacontrol, DFLY natacontrol have 
convenient utilities to list, attach/detach, re-scan, ATA chanels and 
devices et al w/o reboot.

fdisk and disklabel / bsdlabel, then newfs should let you re-slice etc 
to clean up the problematic HDD.

Presuming thet HDD is the newer/larger/faster or otherwise more 
desirable device, you should then be able to reverse the process and do 
further experimentation on the 'other' less-valuable HDD as a secondary.

It can be helpful to have multiple versions of /etc/fstab on each that 
can be 'cp'ed into place rather than edited to either/both get desired 
dev ID's to fit detached/swapped situations, and/or do only partial 
mounting with the rest done manually or by script other-than-fstab.

Thereafter, DFLY/FreeBSD boot manager should handle the rest painlessly.

You *can* 'get there from here' with a Live CD - but a fully-functional 
HDD install give you a richer toolset and more flexibility for 
relatively low cost in time and hardware - especially if the 'other' HDD 
can be USB-attached.


Bill Hacker

2009/4/15 Simon 'corecode' Schubert <corecode at>:
I bet this is the "set all bits to one on CHS overflow" thing in fdisk.  I'd
really like to know how we are supposed to handle this (better).
Colin, sorry for trashing your computer.  I think we are well aware of this
issue, but we simply don't know exactly how to deal with it.  Could you
maybe use window's fdisk to create a large partition on the drive and then
report back how the partition table looks like?  In this case we could
adjust our fdisk so that this won't happen again.
Colin Adams wrote:
What appears to have happened is that in some way it has trashed my
disk-drive - I can still get the machine to boot from the live CD, but
only if I physically disconnect the hard-disk first.
2009/4/8 Hasso Tepper <hasso at>:
Colin Adams wrote:
Well, if that is the case the ISO should not be available for download
- there should be a fixed version.
Well. It shouldn't be any way fatal, but in general I agree - we should
release 2.2.1 ASAP, really.
Hasso Tepper

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