Installing TrueOS to disk alongside dual boot of Windows/Ubuntu


#1

Hi,

I’m interested to install TrueOS to test it out as a main desktop system (meaning I hope for GUI interface, web-browsing, youtube, some office/productivity, programming/develeopment, and testing out how my graphics card runs with it). Before going TrueOS “all the way”, I had thought to install it all by itself on a disk that I’ve just wiped blank. the only thing on the wiped disk after installing TrueOS would be TrueOS! No non-TrueOS partitions and no non-TrueOS data! Before I proceed to do anything, I had a few questions/concerns I thought to post here before taking action and installing anything or writing to any disk!

Suppose, I plug in my wiped disk into the system (it’s a SATA disk) along with 3 other disks (which are in use at this moment as I type!). Suppose I boot into the TrueOS DVD (TrueOS-Desktop-18.03-x64-DVD.iso) and also see in the disk install selection the wiped disk along with the other disks and suppose I’m able to unambiguously tell which disk is which (the wiped disk vs the other ones that are installed which are important as I use them to boot into Ubuntu and Windows when I need to get work done). Finally suppose I select for TrueOS to be installed on the wiped disk. My question/concern is if I select the wiped disk and proceed to install on it (and not select any other disk), will the TrueOS installation write to or touch any other disk? I would expect TrueOS to only write on the disk selected for install. Will it change any other boot loader or boot-up configuration on a disk not selected for install?? I saw this post (Hosed partition but not selected in install) and thought to go ahead and post here about my concern. Currently, I run grub on another disk (with a partition that has a “boot” flag) and use it to boot into either Ubuntu18.04 or Windows 10 from a menu. I would not want TrueOS to mess with the grub configuration or touch the other disks so that if I need to boot into either Windows or Ubuntu I can and get work done. I would not expect TrueOS to touch during its install a different disk except for the one selected to be installed on. I am sorry if I’m seeming paranoid or if I seem excessively worried about this, but I have NO experience at all with TrueOS and no experience at all with BSD and I’m anxious before taking any action so I post here first.

That leads me to my second question which is perhaps not a TrueOS specific question… but I mention here anyway in case someone might comment on it. First, my BIOS is set in BIOS/legacy mode (not UEFI). All of the partition tables on the disks are msdos partition tables. One disk (Ubuntu) is set with the boot-flag on its main partition and loads grub each time I boot and I’ll use it to boot into either Windows or Ubuntu. I would hope that after installing TrueOS on the wiped disk, that I’d be able to boot into linux, run “update-grub” and that it would find the TrueOS installation and I’d be able to select it among the other OS’es to boot into. Does anybody by chance know if that would work? Can TrueOS be on a legacy/BIOS system (as opposed to UEFI)
would the grub install needs for all partitions to all be either MBR or GPT when having them in the menu to choose from to boot into? Assuming that the system boots into TrueOS after the installation with no grub, and assuming that its installation leaves other disks alone, I figure, I’d be able to adjust the boot flags on the partitions (remove the boot flag from the TrueOS disk and make sure that the one for grub is checked; I have an ubuntu liveCD and gparted liveCD that can enable me to do so) to get back to Ubuntu.

thanks anybody for any comments/info!

-eddie


#2

The interesting part is the boot loader. The fool proved way would be disconnecting the other disks during the installation. That prevents writing to them for sure. :wink:

As far as I know TrueOS isn’t compatible with grub. My way to boot into TrueOS on a multi boot system with Windows 10 and Devuan Jessie is to select the disk to be booted from within the BIOS. Windows and Linux are on grub while TrueOS is on its own.

This thread may be of some interest in this context, particularly the last post.


#3

I boot TrueOS, Antergos, and Windows 10 from the rEFInd Boot Manager. The rEFInd Boot Manager automatically detects grub on other disks and is able to pass boot to grub on those disks. In my case, Antergos boots via grub and Windows just works in its own special way.

You may have already guessed, rEFInd is a boot manager for EFI and UEFI computers. So, you’d need EFI enabled.

As part of the TrueOS install, you can choose to setup the rEFInd Boot Manager (hidden as a checkbox under one of the menus). After installing, you may need to change your disk priority in bios so that rEFInd is the first boot manager used.

If you’re in any doubt about what disk you’re installing to, as @RJules3 says, pull the disks you don’t want touched.


#4

Thanks @RJules3 for the pulling-disk suggestion. You are absolutely right that I can pull the other disks and that will 100% eliminate any possibility they are touched in the install process. When I install the wiped disk for the TrueOS installation would be the convenient time to physically remove the other disks. Thanks for reminding me of this possibility! Sometime I silly forget that I can do somethings! My BIOS does have an explicit “boot choice” where a disk can be selected to boot from. I forgot I have that as I usually don’t go into the BIOS during boot.


#5

Thanks @kezkankrayon for the notes and info about rEFind and (U)EFI!


#6

@kezkankrayon do you by chance know if reFIND is required to boot into TrueOS?

My OSes (linux/win) were installed with BIOS/legacy mode and it is my understanding (from a link I read somewhere!) that for them to be bootable that I’d need to stay in BIOS/legacy mode. Would it be possible you think to install TrueOS to the wiped disk (without reFIND which require UEFI), leave the system in BIOS/legacy mode, then when I want to boot into TrueOS to use the boot-selector in the BIOS as @RJules3 does?


#7

Using legacy BIOS and booting TrueOS was never a problem on my systems with an amd64 architecture. I installed TrueOS on a 32GB thumb drive, on an external 1TB hard disk connected via USB2 (you really need to be patient doing that) and different internal hard disks (2TB, 1TB, 150GB). There was never rEFInd required and there was no problem booting into TrueOS via selecting the boot drive within the legacy BIOS.


#8

that is happy computer news to me @RJules3.

I am now excited about testing TrueOS! I actually installed it yesterday on a virtual box machine and everything I did seemed to go well. Websurfing, videos, worked. Remaining tests would include some office/productivity testing as well as experimenting with some developmental tools and maybe testing out the installation of packages and/or 3rd party software/utilities.


#9

From memory the default TrueOS install does not use rEFInd – I suspect you confirmed this with your Virtual Box test.

Yes. However, in your case, I think it would be possible to enable UEFI, install reFInd to your wiped disk with TrueOS and have rEFInd boot all of your OSs.

From looking at http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/using.html#legacy, rEFInd is capable of booting BIOS-based OS on an EFI computer. To enable this, you would need to mount the rEFInd boot partition and modify the refined.conf on the boot partition by uncommenting the scanfor parameter (about line 224) and append hdbios to that line.

I’ve not needed to try this, but it might work out for you. I do not think you’ve got anything to lose but time by having a go.


#10

I think you’re right I don’t recall installing reFIND during my VBOX install.

It is my understanding that if I change the BIOS setting from “legacy/BIOS” to UEFI, then my OSes would need to be in set up to be able to boot UEFI mode - which I suppose in ordinary cases would mean that re-installation would be required. Based on the link/book it would seem that re-installation in UEFI mode would not be necessary via the reFIND configuration setting


#11

Update… @kezkankrayon @RJules3

I made a VM and added and installed ubuntu on one, added another (virtual) disk, then installed TrueOS on the new “virtual” disk. I was able to boot into either TrueOS or ubuntu by hitting the F12 (I think) during the VM boot . This way, TrueOS was observed only to (apparently) “touch” the disk it was targeted to install on. One thing I did to disambiguate the disks was to make them different sizes so during selections it was easier to distinguish.

then, in a real (non-virtual!) wiped disk, I installed TrueOS. I didn’t remove the other disks, because of the observation made with the VM seeing it didn’t touch any other disk. I was sufficiently confident it wouldn’t touch the other disks for that reason . And so I did boot up into TrueOS. Happily, I was able to use my GPU sound output (Linux/ubuntu won’t at the moment, I haven’t explored re-configurations to allow it however). One issue is the font size in Lumina…, my screen resolution is maybe 1920x1080 and the fonts are tiny! it is very hard to read!

I was able to use the “ports” and install a few softwares (like vim). Others however, like OpenJDK are giving me troubles and that’s my current thread of TrueOS activity as of this moment…


#12

Congratulations! And thank you for keeping us up-to-date!

It is also my experience TrueOS not touching any other disk than the selected one but you never know … :slightly_smiling_face:

Installing software so far I only used AppCafe and it never failed me with the applications I was looking for. There is OpenJDK 6, 7, and 8 but I didn’t try to install it since there is no need for the Java Development Kit at the moment for me. Of course not all the installed applications are flawless but does such ‘perfect’ software even exist?

Good luck in your coming activities!


#13

Thank you for the update.


#14

I was just now able to install openjdk8 @RJules3 on the TrueOS VM/disk. It worked quite easily with appcafe! Thanks for pointing out AppCafe! with ports on the real disk, I installed a few things and so now I can try with AppCafe to see if OpenJDK8 will install with it. I hope that installing stuff via ports won’t affect installing with AppCafe but I will find out. You’re welcome @kezkankrayon @RJules3


#15

Usually, it’s not recommended to mix ports with binary packages (e.g. pkg command), as it’ll be a bit harder to maintain the updates.


#16

FYI, after Trident is pushed out (yes they are working on getting things to run), ports will be updated a lot more frequently.

Maybe not at first, but that is the goal


#17

It’s good that the ports will get more frequent updates!