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GhostBSD Boot Process
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The process of starting a computer and loading the operating system is referred to as “the bootstrap process”, or “booting”. The GhostBSD boot process provides a great deal of flexibility in customizing what happens when the system starts, including the ability to select from different operating systems installed on the same computer, different versions of the same operating system, or a different installed kernel.

GhostBSD Boot Process[edit]

Turning on a computer[edit]

On x86 hardware[edit]

The Basic Input/Output System (BIOS) is responsible for loading the operating system. The BIOS looks on the hard disk for the Master Boot Record (MBR), which must be located in a specific place on the disk. The BIOS has enough knowledge to load and run the MBR, and assumes that the MBR can then carry out the rest of the tasks involved in loading the operating system, possibly with the help of the BIOS.

The code within the MBR (/boot/mbr ) is typically referred to as a boot manager, especially when it interacts with the user. The boot manager usually has more code in the first track of the disk or within the file system. Examples of boot managers include the standard GhostBSD/FreeBSD boot manager /boot/boot0, also called Boot Easy, and Grub, which is used by many Linux® distributions.

If only one operating system is installed, the MBR searches for the first bootable (active) slice on the disk, and then runs the code on that slice to load the remainder of the operating system. When multiple operating systems are present, a different boot manager can be installed to display a list of operating systems so the user can select one to boot.

GPT bootcode for UFS on BIOS-based computers[edit]

gptboot is used on BIOS-based computers to boot from a UFS partition on a GPT-partitioned disk. /boot/gptboot is installed in a Ghost/FreeBSD-boot partition with gpart(8).

When it starts, gptboot first reads the GPT and determines which drive and partition to boot from. If it does not find an eligible partition, or if the user hits a key within three seconds, gptboot switches from auto-boot to interactive mode. Interactive mode allows manual selection of the disk, partition, filename, and boot option flags, as described in boot(8).

The GPT standard allows a variable number of partitions, but gptboot only boots from tables with 128 partitions or less.

For normal usage, the user does not have to set or manage any of the partition attributes. gptboot will boot from the first UFS partition found.

gptboot first reads the partition table. All freebsd-ufs partitions with only the bootonce attribute set, indicating a failed boot, are set to bootfailed. gptboot then scans through all of the freebsd-ufs partitions. Boot behavior depends on the combination of bootme and bootonce attributes set on those partitions.

If neither bootonce nor bootme attributes are found on any partitions, booting is attempted from the first Ghost/FreeBSD-ufs partition on the disk.

The next steps are described as Bootstrap Process.