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Re: netbsd-5 on Citrix XenClient 2.1 (on an HP EliteBook 8460p)

At Tue, 14 Feb 2012 10:22:56 +0000 (GMT), Stephen Borrill 
<> wrote:
Subject: Re: netbsd-5 on Citrix XenClient 2.1 (on an HP EliteBook 8460p)
> On Mon, 13 Feb 2012, Greg A. Woods wrote:
> > At Mon, 13 Feb 2012 14:20:56 +0000 (GMT), Stephen Borrill 
> > <> wrote:
> > Subject: Re: netbsd-5 on Citrix XenClient 2.1 (on an HP EliteBook 8460p)
> >>
> >> On Sun, 12 Feb 2012, Greg A. Woods wrote:
> >> [snip]
> >>> I wish XenClient respected MBR partitions so that I could keep a NetBSD
> >>> install handy on the same disk for bare hardware tests again without
> >>> having to re-install both systems from scratch each time.
> >>
> >> It does respect them. I have a triple boot of Windows 7, NetBSD and
> >> XenClient on this laptop.
> >>
> >> You need to ensure you have 2 MBR slots free and then do an advanced
> >> install.
> >
> > Thanks for the clue!  I would never have guessed that XenClient would
> > want to see two empty MBR slots in order to not take over the whole
> > disk.
> >
> > It was hard enough to figure out how to safely take one away from
> > Windoze 7 to install NetBSD safely when I first got this laptop.
> Yes, I had that issue as I knew I needed 2 slots free for XenClient.

Turns out that's not quite right, at least not for XenClient 2.1.

Only one MBR partition is needed for XC, but it has to either pre-exist
or be created manually very early during installation (unless maybe
you're doing a PXE boot install?).

> > When I
> > needed XenClient I expected I could drop it in where I had put NetBSD,
> > but it insisted, even in the Advanced Install, on taking over the whole
> > disk.
> You can Ctrl-Alt-Fn to switch to other consoles within the XenClient
> installer and that gives the clues to MBR usages, etc.

With XenClient 2.1 it seems the only way to get it to install into a
separate partition is to pre-create that partition, which you can do
either from the other OS you've perhaps already installed, e.g. NetBSD,
or you can do it from another console after logging in as "root" shortly
after you've booted the install CD.  Here's where I found detailed

The biggest trick might be knowing what partition type to give to the
partition to be used by XenClient, since even its own version of fdisk
doesn't know its own partition type code.  It's 0xBD, for the record.

Once you do that then in the Advanced Install there will be an option to
either overwrite an existing XenClient partition, or to use the whole

Finally since it over-writes the MBR boot code in sector zero you have
figure out how to select which partition to boot.

One way is described in the document above, which is to modify the Grub
menu to add an entry for (each of) your other bootable partition(s).

The other way is to to re-install the (NetBSD) multiboot MBR partition
selector and reconfigure it again.  One must take care doing this as
fdisk(8) is happy to enable the boot selector MBR code without having
boot menu options for any paritions, though so long as you still have it
boot from the first active partition there'll only be a short period of
confusion while it waits for you choose an alternate disk but gives
errors if you try to choose an unmentioned invisible partition menu
entry.  :-)

If I'm not mistaken one could then also use mbrlabel(8) to add NetBSD
partitions (i.e. in the NetBSD PBR table) for the XenClient (and other)
MBR partitions.

> > I'll try a clean NetBSD install with a boot selector and leave a big
> > chunk of the disk free, along with the other three slots empty as well
> > and see if that leads to success.  For now I'll be able to keep windoze
> > running happily only under XC.  Hopefully I can save the VHD for windoze
> > though -- I don't want to have to baby-sit it through another 6 hours or
> > more of installs and updates.
> That's what the Synchronizer is for :-)

It is sufficient to create a new VM but instead of booting install media
choose to install later and then one can simply replace the "empty" VHD
file in /storage/disks with one saved from a previous install and boot
the VM.

For M$ Windoze (7, at least) one will then have to re-activate it as
otherwise it'll think it's no longer a "genuine" copy.  (And to do that
you have to find the silly little sticker with the official activation
code, which in my case was hiding under the battery.)

                                                Greg A. Woods
                                                Planix, Inc.

<>       +1 250 762-7675

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