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Old 03-05-2011, 08:10 PM
mapsiddiqui mapsiddiqui is offline
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Angry Serious problems with PCBSD 8.2 installations
Hi,

I am new to the world of BSDs though have been aware of their existence since quite some time. Anyways, with 8.2 release and having read a lot of good reviews about PC-BSD, I thought of giving it a spin; first under VirtualBox then later with my laptop. Things did not go well, unfortunately; in fact, they got really bad.

First things first - here are the specs of my laptop:
HP HDX16T CTO 1200
Intel Core 2 Duo P7550 2.26GHz
4 GB DDR2 SDRAM
500 GB SATA HDD (Seagate Momentus 7200.4)
BD-ROM drive (Optiarc)
16" Infinity (1920*1080) Widescreen display
Windows 7 Ultimate SP1

Here are my attempts at installation along with their outcomes:


1. The very first time, I didn't have a DVDR to burn so I tried booting from the iso using GRUB2's loop interface. The system would indeed be able to boot from the ISO but the boot process will fail after the installer tries to locate the installation archive in /dev/cd0 (after the message "..waiting 10 seconds to allow devices to settle").



2. After the previous attempts to get the installer running of the ISO image failed, I burned the ISO to a DVD+R and booted from it. I tried out the live mode first; the system froze as soon as I double-clicked "Install PC-BSD". I rebooted and went straight ahead with the installer.

At the time, I had 3 partitions on my laptop drive viz. Windows 7 installation - labelled C:, an empty NTFS partition D: (which I generated by shrinking the C: drive under windows) and the recovery partition (for the factory installed Vista). During the installation I selected D: (or da0s2 in BSD lingo), PC-BSD bootloader and selected the default Auto Partition option.

Installation completed successfully and the system rebooted. I booted into PC-BSD rightaway. However, during the boot process, I saw a message like ...apt_notify() waiting for 60 seconds (can't recall the message exactly, sorry), then another similar message with 120 seconds interval, followed by one more (180 seconds interval, this time). Figuring something had gone wrong with the installation I resetted with the intention of booting into windows.

But this time, the system wont boot; it would just freeze at the very first boot screen. I panicked, reached out to HP, paid them 50 bucks for diagnostics and was almost about to send my out-of-warranty laptop for a very costly repair. However, in one last ditch effort, I removed my HDD, booted into Ubuntu 10.04 CD and used GParted to delete the BSD partition. Then later with the help of Windows 7 Installation disc and EasyBCD utility I managed to get the old Windows bootloader back.



3. I wasn't satisfied though. So, this time I tried the installation in VMWare Workstation to a RAW partition (50 GB NTFS) on an external (USB) HDD (intention was to load to an external disc so as to avoid the predicament above). After several hours of bearing with VMWare and Windows shenanigans, the installation finally got through (with same options as chosen in 2 above) and completed. But the system again wont boot; neither directly (boot entry added with EasyBCD) nor inside VMWARE. I would get a kernel not found message. On firing an lsdev at the loader prompt (inside VMWare), I see the following:
disk0: BIOS drive A:
disk1: BIOS drive C:
disk1s1: Unknown fs: 0x2d (actually it's NTFS)
disk1s2: Unknown fs: 0x2d (actually it's NTFS)
disk1s3a: FFS
disk1s3b: swap
disk1s3c: FFS
disk1s3d: FFS
As of this writing, I haven't been able to get the system to boot off the external HDD too.



Needless to say, I am somewhat frustrated. Can someone shed some more light on these issues ?

Thanks,
-Anjum.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:02 AM
Skull Fire Skull Fire is offline
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as far as point 1, i would suggest only running the iso from dvd or usb flash drive.

i have also found live desktop mode does not always work well, so when i run the dvd, i am commiting to install mode from the start.

please keep in mind, that as long as you dont delete or overwrite the 2 partitons for windows that windows will still be there, and easy to recover. the 1 partition is naturally you main windows install. the recovery partition you mentioned should be 100mb, and is needed to boot into windows, but it is not the bootloader.

The bootsector or mbr is like a secret place on the hard drive you can not normally access with partition tools. this is where the bootloaders are written, and its a very small place.

every hard can have a total of 4 primary partitions, it seems to me that you want to dual boot. in this case you would leave the 100mb boot/recover partiton windows, your windows install partition, and a pc-bsd install partition. that would be 3 of 4 possible primary partitions used.

in this case you have 2 choices of bootloader, windows or pc-bsd.

to use the pc-bsd booloader, you need to enable the "install bootloader" check box, which is at the bottem of the disk partition screen during the install process. if you want to use the windows bootloader, then leave this unchecked.

if you choose the pc-bsd bootloader, a simple black and white screen will show, during computer start up. in your case i will guess it looks like this:

f1 unknown (ntfs)
f2 unknown (ntfs)
f3 freebsd

you would then press f1 to boot into windows or press f3 to boot into pc-bsd.

if you choose the windows bootloader, then leave the "install bootloader" unchecked during installation as mentioned above. after installation is complete you restart your computer. during restart you should boot into windows as if you installed nothing (remember to pull the dvd out during reboot, or reinstall/maybe other strange things will happen). once you load to th windows desktop, run easybsd. there should be instructions for easybsd on both the pc-bsd main web page in the "handbook" and also on the easybsd website. now after you restart the windows bootloader options will be visible to you, where they were not before. arrow up or down to start windows or pc-bsd.

you've already recovered the windows bootloader once, so you know how to do that. i would suggest you start from there with a working windows bootloader. install pc-bsd, and leave the "install bootloader" unchecked.

i like that you created a 3rd ntfs partition, that is helpful because pc-bsd does not like to make or edit existing partition sizes, though the option is there, and it has no problem overwriting the ntfs.

i would suggest clicking "customize disk partitions" over auto partition. when you choose "customize disk partition" you will click the green "+" button to add "slices" inside your 3rd partition. after you click the green + button select your 3rd partion from the drop down box in the new pop up window.

mount point: /boot
file system: ufs (only ufs !!)
size: 500mb (yes 500mb only)
click save

click the green + symbal again
choose the 3rd partiton again in the drop down box.
mount point: /
file system: ufs+s (zfs is good too, but slightly more complicated)
size: use all the available mb of your 3rd partition, except for about 1gb
click save

green + again, 3rd partion again(notice only 1gb is available)
file system: swap
size: 1gb (all the remaining mb in 3rd partition)
click save (NOTE* install swap last or install failures can happen)

go on to finish the install

if you indeed left "install bootloader" unchecked you should be able to boot into windows normally, easybsd... bla bla bla. now if there is a problem with the pc-bsd install we can start from there, and post back with results please.
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Old 03-06-2011, 12:09 AM
Skull Fire Skull Fire is offline
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also you seem to have atleast some experience with ubuntu. if you get in a real jam, dont pay money or send your laptop out, just run ubuntu to the 3rd partition, let the bootloader write to /dev/sda and you will be able to boot into windows no problem with grub. you may also consider creating a 4th partion and run ubuntu on the fourth partition, then you can use easybsd and have run 3 os's

or with the pc-bsd bootloader it would look like:

f1:unknown(ntfs)
f2:unknown(ntfs)
f3:freebsd
f4:linux

Edit* with ubuntu create 1 mount point( / ) using all the space in the 4th partion and it should be fine, as you have 4gb memory you dont need swap, and /boot will be installed inside of / automatically this way.

Note* pc-bsd, and windows(with easy bsd)bootloaders can see all os's, but grub with ubuntu will only see windows, you need to do some extra work to let grub see pc-bsd

Last edited by Skull Fire; 03-06-2011 at 12:32 AM.
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Old 03-06-2011, 03:03 AM
mapsiddiqui mapsiddiqui is offline
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Skullfire, first of all, many thanks for the wonderfully elaborate response! I think I may have unintentionally painted a picture of mine being a total noob

If you look back at my 2nd attempt's description above, I did mention that I had selected PCBSD's bootloader and the installation had completed fine too (and, to confirm, I did see the Windows partition listed in the PCBSD bootloader when I first rebooted after the installation). The issue was that for some reason during the very first boot (after the installation), PCBSD got into some sort of a loop and a hard reset screwed up the disk. After that, every time I would start the laptop, it would get stuck at the BIOS POST (Power On Selt Test) screen. Now if only the system had moved beyond the that, I could've booted into a livecd and recovered my windows installation easily (I have, on past occasions, recovered data from corrupted Windows fat/ntfs partitions using Linux - systemrescuecd).

You can imagine the gravity of the situation when you have to physically unplug the hard disk in order to get to the boot device selection. You will obviously suspect either the system board (a suspicion further strengthened given the history of my laptop), RAM or the hard disk. In hindsight (and after some research online), it looks like the system was looking for the boot record in the disk which may have been corrupted. What is really perplexing is why did the BIOS not move on if it detected that the mbr was corrupt ? Finally, as described above, I removed the hdd, booted into ubuntu live system and then physically plugged the hdd back in to proceed with recovery.

A couple of other observations:
1. When I deleted the bsd partition (da0s2) from Ubuntu and rebooted, the system *did* move past the BIOS POST screen. Note that till that time I had still not recovered the windows bootloader.
2. During the partition selection screen, when I deleted da0s2 (I had ran the installer two or three times to experiment with the different options), it disappeared from the list. Shouldn't it have shown up as unused space ? I have seen in several screens online that show unused space in the list of partitions during the installation process of PCBSD; for me, _it never did_. Even in the 3rd attempt, in one of the several "sub" attempts, I had unused space that did not show up in the installation process.
3. After the 3rd attempt, when I looked into the partitions in Windows disk management, it still was showing as one single partition (not unused space or unknown partition type). This is particularly baffling as the default partition setup actually shouldve created 4 partitions (/, /var, /usr and swap). It's also interesting that even EasyBCD showed the 50GB partition (after 3rd attempt) as one single partition rather than showing 4. So how can I know where /boot is ? IMHO, this is the single most important piece of information that is needed to dual boot (whether I use EasyBCD or GRUB).

The fact of the matter is that if the pcbsd installation had in fact behaved as expected, then probably I would've gotten around the minor glitches, if any, easily. There were a number of places where I felt that things were not exactly happening as I expected them to. I can attribute some of that to my relative inexperience with BSD systems, but still, I think in this case there is more at play here.

Finally, I may have come off as somewhat bitchy in this post, but rest assured, the intention is really to get to the bottom of these issues and eventually gain a better understanding of this system. I sincerely appreciate the hard work of the developers and the support of the community. Looking forward to your response.

Thanks,
-Anjum.
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Old 03-06-2011, 02:16 PM
Skull Fire Skull Fire is offline
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thanks for the details, it helps a lot. many times when i post or reply i add extra details, not only for you , but for others who might have a similiar problem and maybe they'll read the forums before they post repeat questions. also i have a bad habit of reading fast and missing a key detail or 2 sometimes

i really dont know much about laptops, but with that problem with the bios post i would have guessed a corupted cmos on a desktop motherboard, im not quite sure how that works on a laptop.

your partition problems im not surprised. really the biggest problem with installing pc-bsd is here in my opinion. and its really 2 problems i think. 1 has to do with the terminology used for partitions and slices which lead to confusion and poor installs because many new users dont know yet. the 2nd is the pc-bsd installer is not good editing or adding actual primary partitions.

to make a long story short. . . each hard drive can have 1-4 partitions (primary partitions). do not add/edit these on pc-bsd, your install will fail 75% of the time if you do. use your windows manager to create the 1-4 primary partitons, let them be all ntfs as pc-bsd/linux will overwrite ntfs with something else. but you want the 1-4 from there or a known good partition manager. this is not only pc-bsd's problem, actually many linux distro's fail at this part also. the windows partition manager and aptosid linux's partition tool in its installer are the 2 most bullet proof ways for new users to create primary partitions. your disappearing/reappearing freespace is a part of this same problem and also why i recommend installing primary partitions before running the pc-bsd install.

the mount points you mentioned: (/, /var, /usr and swap) are not actually partitions. thats why you didnt see them. these are slices in pc-bsd (atleast in my opinion). think of them as something like logical partitions. anyway you want to install these inside of 1 primary partition.

now i understand the installer is calling partitions, slices. and maybe slices as partitions. . .thats a pc-bsd mistake or maybe a freebsd mistake, im not sure, but iv posted about it in the "installer developement". to help you understand more try reading that:

http://forums.pcbsd.org/showthread.php?t=14170

in my previous post to you here i described how to add 3 slices inside 1 primary partition. if you were to install that way you will only see the 1 total partition for pc-bsd, you will never see the 3 slices inside of that partition from windows or linux.

Last edited by Skull Fire; 03-06-2011 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 03-06-2011, 04:08 PM
netSys netSys is offline
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You system request you sleep, very stressing with some OS. If I am you only using FreeBSD
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Old 03-07-2011, 05:14 PM
mapsiddiqui mapsiddiqui is offline
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Well, this time I installed PC BSD on a different laptop and the installation did see the unused space. I created a partition and formatted it from within the installer itself.

Anyways, after the installation, I was able to configure Grub(4dos) to boot into PCBSD. Now grub4dos seems to be based on grub's older version (i.e. not grub2) and therefore the following entry worked:

title PC-BSD 8.2
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader +1
boot

After the installation, the very first thing I noted was that the audio system did not work as it was not able to load the drivers. Flash worked fine (in firefox only) and wireless required some manual intervention (search for wireless network and add it to the list of networks and restart it). Since the audio driver was not working, I wasn't able to test if mp3 playback worked or not (checked in Amarok and VLC; both ran fine and I didn't see any errors thrown, only I couldn't hear it as there was no audio device).

Otherwise the system looked and worked fine. I turned on desktop effects and KDE quickly became sluggish, so had to turn it back off again. I'm not a big fan of KDE and therefore I'm excited that PC BSD 9 will offer the choice of GNOME, LXDE and Fluxbox.

Skullfire, you are right about the difference between partition and slice. I think the verbiage used in the installer definitely needs to be revisited. Also, per my previous observation, if I delete a partition the list should be updated and it should be shown as unused space. I haven't tried doing that in the last time, but if that does not happen, it's definitely a bug in my books.

Thanks,
-Anjum.
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Old 03-08-2011, 05:22 PM
mapsiddiqui mapsiddiqui is offline
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Update:

I was able to access the PC-BSD 8.2 install on the external HDD (attempt #3, as described above) using grub4dos. The system boots but fails to complete the process. I am getting the exact same error I had gotten the last time while trying to boot from my laptop HDD. Seems like something in the hardware configuration is not getting along. Here is a snippet from the boot screen (I will upload the screenshot and post a link here from home later today):

ugen5.2: <Broadcom Corp> at usbus5
----screen hangs, I tap the power button 2/3 times----
acpi0: suspend request ignored (not ready yet)
acpi0: request to enter state S5 failed (err 6)
run_interrupt_driven_hooks: still waiting after 60 seconds for xpt_config

Last time, I hard reset after the third message (180 seconds). Does anyone have a clue ?

Thanks,
-Anjum.
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Old 03-08-2011, 10:14 PM
Skull Fire Skull Fire is offline
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just to be clear. . .this is the install you were able to log into before, but the sound did not work, is that right ?

if it is, then i am curious about a few things:

how many times were you able to login and restart ? basically did you log into once or many times but it began to hang ?

Next i would start to think of major hardware drivers or settings that you might of changed since your last successful login, and the problem with it hanging. usually the video driver would come to mind first, but i know your audio was not working. . .

as of now 8.2 is not too old yet, and there is not too many updates. so im guessing not that.

can you think of any changes made during your last login ?
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Old 03-09-2011, 06:47 PM
mapsiddiqui mapsiddiqui is offline
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Skullfire,

I was never really able to login to any installation on my laptop (whether on internal disk or on external disk). The details I mentioned in my previous post pertain to the installation on the external disk which was installed in attempt #3 (see details in my very first post).

The boot up process would stall soon after I selected the default option in the pcbsd bootloader. So the question of hardware/setting changes shouldn't come into question at all (I haven't made any hardware/BIOS settings recently anyway).

Thanks,
-Anjum.

Last edited by mapsiddiqui; 03-09-2011 at 06:49 PM.
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