[PC-BSD Public] Question about multiple primarypartitions

Bret Busby bret.busby at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 03:04:21 PDT 2011


>From what I understand, any version of BSD requires to be installed in
a primary partition.

I have a computer that has an Intel i3 CPU, 8GB RAM, and a 640GB HDD.

On that computer, so far, I have MS Windows 7 Professional, and Ubuntu
10.04LTS, installed.

I am in the process of trying (unsuccessfully) to also install Debian
6.0.1 on the computer.

I also want to install PC-BSD on that computer.

I had tried running PC-BSD 8.2, in the live mode, on my HP/Compaq
NX5000 (which shows at flcl.org as being compatible), but it hung when
it got to loading the windows manager, and I assume that that was
because the default windows manager is KDE, which is quite resource
demanding, from what I understand, and the NX5000 has a Celeron CPU
and 2GB RAM, which I assume to be inadequate for a BSD version running

So, I am limiting the PC-BSD to trying to install it on the desktop computer.

Now, on the desktop computer, at present, I have a single primary
partition, in which the MS Windows 7 Professional is installed, and
the remainder of the disk is in an extended partition, with a number
of logical partitions.

In the versions of Linux, are partition editors, with which I can
perform various partition actions, such as deleting, resizing, and
creating (where space is available) new, partitions.

I assume (but am not sure) that I can delete the extended partition,
and create extra primary partitions, and then create a new extended
partition, and thence new logical partitions, within the extended
partition (which would eliminate any installations of Linux that are
in the extended partition, or, so I believe), thus enabling me to
create a new multiple boot system, with each operating system having
its own primary partition (and I understand that, whilst Linux allows
its operating systems to be installed in logical partitions within an
extended partition, BSD versions require to be installed in a primary
partition, thus, making all operating systems installed, being in
separate primary partitions, appear appropriate).

I do not know the source of the information, but I have a memory that
the maximum number of primary partitions, is four. Could that limit,
please be verified or otherwise?

Also, then, as I am unsure, please advise of the maximum size for each
primary partition, where multiple primary partitions are created, for
multiple booting.

I am not seeking to have primary partintions of sizes around 100GB or
larger; but, if I could have four (or, even, a couple more, if
possible, to possibly experiment with other operating systems, such as
the linux version that runs on a FreeBSD kernel) primary partitions of
around 40-50GB, it would be good.

>From what I understand, the most practical order of installing the
operating systems, for multiple booting, is MS Windows, then Linux
versions, then PC-BSD, so as to use the PC-BSD boot menu, and (I am
not sure, but it seems logical), because PC-BSD is required to be
installed in a primary partition, it seems appropriate for all
operating systems installed, that are to be available for multiple
booting, to be in primary partitions, so that they are all at the same

While all of the above, may contain some misconceptions, clarification
would be good.

Thank you in anticipation.

Bret Busby
West Australia

"So once you do know what the question actually is,
 you'll know what the answer means."
- Deep Thought,
 Chapter 28 of Book 1 of
 "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
 A Trilogy In Four Parts",
 written by Douglas Adams,
 published by Pan Books, 1992


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