Partition table trashed by installer

Questions about the installation of FreeBSD
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djcooke
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Partition table trashed by installer

Post by djcooke » Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:51 pm

Four years ago I successfully installed FreeBSD on a logical partition in a multiboot setup. In the process of setting up a similar arrangement on a new laptop with an MBR partition table, I have today tried to install GhostBSD on to a logical partition. I was not impressed by the consequences.

The GhostBSD installer listed all my numerous logical partitions correctly. One was an empty FreeBSD partition to which installation was to be attempted. Since the installer would not accept this, I deleted it and instructed the installer to create a new partition in the resulting empty space. I did the same for a swap partition, then began the installation after choosing not to install the boot manager. The installation completed, apparently successfully.

I rebooted from a systemrescue usb disk to inspect the partition table. What I had left were four primary partitions, with GhostBSD presumably having successfully installed itself on the fourth. I'm not sure there is anything I can printably write to convey my opinion of GhostBSD at that point. Mercifully, the first logical partition was larger than the space which was supposed to be allocated to GhostBSD and seems to have absorbed all the damage: other installations I have checked on subsequent logical partitions - after restoring the partition table - have booted successfully.

What is unacceptable about this is that the installer accepted the partitioning setup, which unequivocally specified two logical partitions which the installer had recognised. There was nothing to protect the user - except perhaps for a healthy cynicism which on this occasion I suspended - from allowing GhostBSD to trash his/her system.

There was another extraordinary issue beforehand Having created a USB installer for GhostBSD, when this is inserted into a USB socket under Windows, the result is an instant BSOD and the system reboots. When the disk was first written, under Windows, the BSOD was triggered when the process of writing the ISO completed.

I thought I had found a BSD with a user-friendly desktop and graphical installer comparable to Linux distros. This has been a disappointing experience.

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Re: Partition table trashed by installer

Post by djcooke » Mon Dec 17, 2018 8:51 pm

I have now successfully installed FreeBSD 12.0 to a logical partition instead of GhostBSD. This was only possible after removing the BSD disklabel which the GhostBSD installer had left behind in the extended partition, since this prevented recognition of the logical partitions. FreeBSD makes available a shell, which allows you to avoid the installer's partitioner and create and mount a file system, after which the installation will proceed. The new FreeBSD installation is bootable using Linux Grub previously installed.

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Re: Partition table trashed by installer

Post by ericbsd » Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:38 pm

GhostBSD installer was made to be installed in a primary partition and do not supports logical partition.

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Re: Partition table trashed by installer

Post by djcooke » Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:36 pm

Currently, when you run the GhostBSD installer, you can instruct it to delete a logical partition, to create another in the newly free space and to install in that partition. When the installation proceeds, it deletes the extended partition and therefore every logical partition, replaces it with a primary partition and installs in a space of the specified size at the start of that partition - in a different place on the hard disk from the space that was originally freed by deleting a logical partition.

The installer therefore does not do what it is instructed to do, without any warning to the user. Do you really consider that is acceptable? It is certainly not user-friendly. GhostBSD appears polished and dependable, but that appearance is deceptive.

Granted, MBR partitioning is on the way out, but I really think that if the GhostBSD installer will not install in a logical partition, it should prevent the user from instructing it to do so, and not simply assume that he will know better than to try.

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