What "install" do you mean?
Upgrading a la:
a. cvsup new source b. make buildworld c. make buildkernel d. make installkernel e. reboot and make installworld
doesn't touch /etc.
You give me far too much credit--I'm working off the ISO images. My problem has also shifted in a way that probably makes this question moot for the moment.
While using the fdisk utility in /stand/sysinstall to cut up the 3/4 of the disk I'd left untouched, I seem to have bollixed up the partition on which BSD was installed. I was getting beaucoup errors on console after I did this, and when I reboot, no matter what I try, I get "Invalid partition", "No /boot/loader", and a boot prompt.
What happens to my old /etc is now not seeming so important.
Is it worth putting the 4.6 CD into the drive and trying to fix this? Or should I grit my teeth, lose the ports I'd downloaded (not many, not much--I was on dial-up), start over with 4.9, and see whether the things I learned from 4.6 are still in my memory?
All the best,
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