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Date:      Mon, 14 Oct 2013 07:21:18 +0200
From:      Polytropon <>
To:        Warren Block <>
Cc:        Kenta Suzumoto <>,
Subject:   Re: Reinstall without reformat
Message-ID:  <>
In-Reply-To: <>
References:  <> <> <>

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On Sun, 13 Oct 2013 23:01:02 -0600 (MDT), Warren Block wrote:
> On Mon, 14 Oct 2013, Polytropon wrote:
> > On Sun, 13 Oct 2013 13:24:30 -0400, Kenta Suzumoto wrote:
> >> Hi all. Is it possible to install FreeBSD without formatting the disk?
> >
> > Yes. The installer supports not formatting existing partitions.
> > The file system characteristica will be kept, possible content
> > will overwritten. Note that "superfluous content" will also be
> > kept, except of course you previously remove everything.
> sysinstall supported that, but AFAIK bsdinstall does not.

Oh, seems you're right. I've checked The FreeBSD Handbook for
the relevant instructions for using bsdinstall at


and I didn't find an option to _not_ initialize existing partitions,
even though it seems you can assign existing partitions without any
problem. The remaining question: Will they be initialized again?

I know that sysinstall had the option "newfs toggle" so you could
skip the newfs step after you had assigned the existing partitions
to the desired mountpoints.

It can be seen at

in Fig. 3.19 and 3.24.

I have to admit that I didn't assume such a significant loss of
functionality (that sysinstall provided!) in the new installer... :-(

That's why maybe manually extracting the distribution files from
the installation media, using the CLI tools, would probably the
easiest thing: Manually mount existing partitions as desired,
then extract the installation datasets, and apply any further
modifications as needed.

Magdeburg, Germany
Happy FreeBSD user since 4.0
Andra moi ennepe, Mousa, ...

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