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Date:      Thu, 15 Jan 2009 00:26:17 -0800
From:      Kurt Bigler <kkb@breathsense.com>
To:        <freebsd-questions@freebsd.org>
Subject:   setting up bootable copy of server on my home PC
Message-ID:  <C5943329.18C1DC%kkb@breathsense.com>

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I'm running a small server based on FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE (GENERIC).

I hope to be able to create an bootable copy of the server at home, and so I
freed up enough partition space on my PC, using a gparted CD, which is what
someone suggested I use.  The PC is running Vista.  I defragmented and then
reduced the Vista partition size, leaving me 120GB for two 58GB unix
partitions and a generous 4GB swap area.

I'm tentatively ignoring what is perhaps a typical protocol of having
separate partitions for /, /usr, and /var for the system at home, lumping
all 3 together instead, with my 2nd unix partition being used for web and
email hierarchies that are symlinked to from somewhere within /var and /usr.
I realize that will complicate the rsync a little since my server has /usr
and /var on separate partitions, but I think it can be made to work.

Then my plan was to run FreeBSD off a live-CD in order to initialize the
disk partitions and run rsync to copy the filesystems from my server, and
for that purpose I chose TrueBSD because the current release is based on
FreeBSD 7.1.  I'm hoping that the server and my home PC are sufficiently
compatible for the same kernel (i.e. obtained via rsync) to boot on either
box.  So set me straight if this seems unrealistic--but it seems like
FreeBSD does quite a range of dynamic hardware detection.

I got the TrueBSD live CD (maybe it was DVD) booted, and tried running fdisk
(whose manual page I can barely understand) and it complains that the
partition table is not fdisk-compatible, but it refers to the "in-core
disklabel", so I'm thinking it may not be reading the correct partition
table (from the hard drive).

I could go into more detail, but I figure the above will probably give
someone sufficient info to shoot my plan down, point me to a better
strategy, or with any luck confirm the basic plan and give me a few hints.

Someone else did the initial FreeBSD install for me to set up my server, so
I'm not savvy of that part of the process, but hope to be able to achieve
this goal in a relatively straightforward way, creating a bootable copy of
the server via rsync without doing a fresh install.

Thanks for any thoughts.

-Kurt Bigler





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