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2 Overview of Boot Managers

These are just brief descriptions of some of the different boot managers you may encounter. Depending on your computer setup, you may find it useful to use more than one of them on the same system.

Boot Easy

This is the default boot manager used with FreeBSD. It has the ability to boot most anything, including BSD, OS/2 (HPFS), Windows 95 (FAT and FAT32), and Linux. Partitions are selected with the function keys.

OS/2 Boot Manager

This will boot FAT, HPFS, FFS (FreeBSD), and EXT2 (Linux). It will also boot FAT32 partitions. Partitions are selected using arrow keys. The OS/2 Boot Manager is the only one to use its own separate partition, unlike the others which use the master boot record (MBR). Therefore, it must be installed below the 1024th cylinder to avoid booting problems. It can boot Linux using LILO when it is part of the boot sector, not the MBR. Go to Linux HOWTOs on the World Wide Web for more information on booting Linux with OS/2's boot manager.


This is an alternative to Boot Easy. It gives you more control over the booting process, with the ability to set the default partition to boot and the booting timeout. The beta version of this programs allows you to boot by selecting the OS with your arrow keys. It is included on the FreeBSD CD in the \TOOLS directory, and via ftp.

LILO, or LInux LOader

This is a limited boot manager. It will boot FreeBSD, though some customization work is required in the LILO configuration file.

About FAT32: FAT32 is the replacement to the FAT filesystem included in Microsoft's OEM SR2 Beta release, which started replacing FAT on computers pre-loaded with Windows 95 towards the end of 1996. It converts the normal FAT filesystem and allows you to use smaller cluster sizes for larger hard drives. FAT32 also modifies the traditional FAT boot sector and allocation table, making it incompatible with some boot managers.

This, and other documents, can be downloaded from

For questions about FreeBSD, read the documentation before contacting <>.
For questions about this documentation, e-mail <>.

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