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Chapter 8. Disks

Table of Contents
8.1. Using sysinstall
8.2. Using command line utilities
8.3. * Non-traditional Drives

Contributed by David O'Brien 26 April 1998

Lets say we want to add a new SCSI disk to a machine that currently only has a single drive. First turn off the computer and install the drive in the computer following the instructions of the computer, controller, and drive manufacturer. Due the wide variations of procedures to do this, the details are beyond the scope of this document.

Login as user root. After you've installed the drive, inspect /var/run/dmesg.boot to ensure the new disk was found. Continuing with our example, the newly added drive will be da1 and we want to mount it on /1. (if you are adding an IDE drive substitute wd for da)

Because FreeBSD runs on IBM-PC compatible computers, it must take into account the PC BIOS partitions. These are different from the traditional BSD partitions. A PC disk has up to four BIOS partition entries. If the disk is going to be truly dedicated to FreeBSD, you can use the dedicated mode. Otherwise, FreeBSD will have to live with in one of the PC BIOS partitions. FreeBSD calls the PC BIOS partitions, slices so as not to confuse them with traditional BSD partitions. You may also use slices on a disk that is dedicated to FreeBSD, but used in a computer that also has another operating system installed. This is to not confuse the fdisk utility of the other operating system.

In the slice case the drive will be added as /dev/da1s1e. This is read as: SCSI disk, unit number 1 (second SCSI disk), slice 1 (PC BIOS partition 1), and e BSD partition. In the dedicated case, the drive will be added simply as /dev/da1e.

8.1. Using sysinstall

You may use /stand/sysinstall to partition and label a new disk using its easy to use menus. Either login as user root or use the su command. Run /stand/sysinstall and enter the Configure menu. With in the FreeBSD Configuration Menu, scroll down and select the Partition item. Next you should be presented with a list of hard drives installed in your system. If you do not see da1 listed, you need to recheck your physical installation and dmesg output in the file /var/run/dmesg.boot.

Select da1 to enter the FDISK Partition Editor. Choose A to use the entire disk for FreeBSD. When asked if you want to "remain cooperative with any future possible operating systems", answer YES. Write the changes to the disk using W. Now exit the FDISK editor using q. Next you will be asked about the Master Boot Record. Since you are adding a disk to an already running system, choose None.

Next enter the Disk Label Editor. This is where you will create the traditional BSD partitions. A disk can have up to eight partitions, labeled a-h. A few of the partition labels have special uses. The a partition is used for the root partition (/). Thus only your system disk (e.g, the disk you boot from) should have an a partition. The b partition is used for swap partitions, and you may have many disks with swap partitions. The c partition addresses the entire disk in dedicated mode, or the entire FreeBSD slice in slice mode. The other partitions are for general use.

Sysinstall's Label editor favors the e partition for non-root, non-swap partitions. With in the Label editor, create a single file system using C. When prompted if this will be a FS (file system) or swap, choose FS and give a mount point (e.g, /mnt). When adding a disk in post-install mode, Sysinstall will not create entries in /etc/fstab for you, so the mount point you specify isn't important.

You are now ready to write the new label to the disk and create a file system on it. Do this by hitting W. Ignore any errors from Sysinstall that it could not mount the new partition. Exit the Label Editor and Sysinstall completely.

The last step is to edit /etc/fstab to add an entry for your new disk.