Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Now FreeBSD boots on the E520

I've already reported extensively on the difficulties I've had in getting FreeBSD 8.1 to boot successfully on my Dell Dimension E520 which already had Windows XP, Ubuntu 10.10, Haiku R1A2 and a Nightly Build of Haiku installed and booting without problems.
However, although FreeBSD 8.1 seemed to install without problems, it just wouldn't boot either from Grub2, Bootman or using the FreeBSD bootmanager.
I posted to the FreeBSD forum but received no useful replies.
So, did some googling and found that this is not a widespread problem. Nevertheless, there were just a few (such as this and this) that indicated it might just be a BIOS problem.
So, I went into BIOS on my Dell E520 with the intention of switching my HDD from 'auto' to 'LBA mode' but this option was not available.
However, I found that, despite having only one HDD on this machine, it was set to RAID ON as Dell believes that this will improve the system performance.
Just out of curiosity, and lack of any other option, I changed this to the only other option which was RAID Autodetect/ATA despite the BIOS warning that the computer may not boot in this mode.
However, it did boot in Ubuntu and Haiku. Only in Windows XP did it it fail to boot and ended up in a Blue Screen with Stop Error 0x0000007b.
When I eventually tried FreeBSD in this mode, it booted fine. Absolutely great even though I hve no idea why it worked.
So, it looks like I'm going to have to install Windows XP again in this new mode.
I'll post again when I've tried this although there's no reason why it should fail to boot.

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