SUMMARY: booting an SS2 from Seagate 1.2GB disk

From: Abdi M. Oday (
Date: Wed Jan 16 1991 - 13:14:59 CST

I only got two answers to my question about why the SparcStation2
does not boot off a CDC/Imprimis/Seagate 1.2GB disk.


Basically, when you format your disk, make sure that partition 'a'
starts at cylinder 2 instead of cylinder 0.

You can use those first 2 cylinders for another partition if you
want, but you don't have to. Also, make sure you choose the
"existing label" in suninstall, else it might relabel the disk.

I have no problem booting off the disk now.

A million thanks to:

        Birger Wathne <!>

The detailed replies come after my signature if you are interested.

     -- Abdi M. Oday -- oday@planck.UUCP --
     -- Calspan Corp. -- --
     -- (716) 631-6848 -- --

From: Birger Wathne <!>
Subject: Re: Can't boot SS2 with Wren VII disk
Status: OR

        There is a problem with SS2 and those 1.2Gb disks.

        You cannot have the root filesystem as the first physical filesystem on the disk. Dont ask me why.

        You have two options:
        If you don't want to repartition your disk completely you can make a new filesystem in the first two cylinders. Call it partition e or whatever. Then make your a partition two cylinders smaller. This way you lose two cyl's. You have to use two, as it is impossible to make a file system in one cyl.

        Otherwise you may move your partitions around. With SunOS 4.1 and later it is rumored that it is safe to have the swap partition start at cyl 0, so you may swap the a and b partitions. This will save you those two cyl's.

        It is perfectly possible to partition your disk this way, even if it is rather uncommon. I have tried this myself with the /usr partition first. I never tried with swap first, but it should be ok with newer OS's. Older ones would destroy the label.

        Do this from outside suninstall. In suninstall you should use the "Existing labels". The partition table printed by suninstall is wrong, but never mind. Just specify your mount points, and never mind what suninstall says about starting cyl's. It will get it right. Do not try to label it from suninstall.

        The bottom line is: You cannot boot from the (physically) first partition on those disks. But you may put any other partition first, and then the a partition.

        Birger A. Wathne ######### Skrivervik Data A/S
                                               ## Thormohlensgt. 55
        email: ## ##### N-5008 BERGEN
       ##### ## Tel: +47 5 543740
        Dir. dial: +47 5 543742 ## Fax: +47 5 322853

Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Can't boot SS2 with Wren VII disk

You may try the following:
        - start partition 'a' at block *1*, instead of *0*
        The SS2 has a funny bug with the 1GB drives. We have
        verified that this works.

Jan Berger Henriksen
Institute of Informatics E-mail:
University of Bergen
Thorm|hlensgt. 55
N - 5008 Bergen, Phone : 47-5-544173
Norway Fax : 47-5-544199

     --  Abdi M. Oday          -- oday@planck.UUCP                   --
     --  Calspan Corp.         --  --
     --  (716) 631-6848        --                   --

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