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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Charles Swiger" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: "Keith Kelly" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Cc: "freebsd-questions" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2004 2:56 PM
Subject: Re: FDisk won't detect or accept correct disk geometry from BIOS

> On Jan 22, 2004, at 5:24 PM, Keith Kelly wrote:
> > I already tried (with both 4.9 and 5.1) letting the FreeBSD install
> > proceed
> > with fdisk's  geometry value assumptions, and what I always get is a
> > non-bootable hard drive that gives the "Missing operating system"
> > error at
> > boot.
> Sufficiently old motherboards and BIOS versions don't understand the
> LBA addressing mode used by modern drives, and are limited to seeing
> approx 8.4 GB using the classic C/H/S values.  See whether the BIOS
> lets you configure the drive to LBA mode rather than "automatic",
> "C/H/S", or "extended C/H/S" mode.  If it doesn't, check to see whether
> there is a BIOS update available for your hardware.

The motherboard is not old.  It is an MSI KT4 Ultra motherboard, if I 
remember the model number correctly off the top of my head, for the Athlon 
XP architecture.  The BIOS doesn't even explicitly list what mode (LBA, CHS, 
extended CHS) it is using to address the drive -- I just set it to "Auto", 
it detects the device name, and fills out a small listing telling me the 
C/H/S geometry it is using.  The motherboard is already running the latest 
available BIOS update from MSI.

> It may be the case that this doesn't resolve the issue.  You can try to
> create a small (say 32MB) DOS partition using classic MS-DOS 6.x or a
> utility from the drive manufacturer, and verify whether you can boot
> into that.  If you can't and still get the "missing OS" error, you've
> got hardware issues and should consider replacing your MB.

I definitely do not have hardware issues, because Linux, Windows XP, Windows 
2000, BeOS, and SkyOS have all worked fine at various points, and Windows XP 
continues to work fine :-)

> If you can
> boot to a DOS partition on the hard disk, then try installing FreeBSD
> to the remaining space, leaving the DOS partition intact.  This will
> give you a better shot of using a geometry that your BIOS is able to
> boot.
> [ The only hardware I've seen which required that kind of thing was a
> no-name P133 grade machine... ]
> -- 
> -Chuck
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