+===================== Installing FreeBSD =====================+
| Table of Contents:
| 0.0 Quick Start:
| 0.1 Installing FreeBSD from CDROM or the Internet.
1.0 Detail on various installation types:
| 1.1 Installing from a network CDROM
| 1.2 Installing from Floppies
| 1.3 Installing from a DOS partition
| 1.4 Installing from QIC/SCSI tape
| 1.5 Installing over a network using NFS or FTP
| 1.5.1 NFS Installation tips
| 1.5.2 FTP Installation tips
| 1.6 Tips for Serial COnsole Users
| 2.0 DOS User's Q&A section.
| 2.1 How do I make space for FreeBSD?
| 2.2 Can I use compressed DOS filesystems from FreeBSD?
| 2.3 Can I use DOS extended partitions?
| 2.4 Can I run DOS executables under FreeBSD?
Author: Jordan K. Hubbard
Last updated: Tue May 4 16:05:41 PST 1999
0.0 Quick Start
This manual documents the process of making a new installation of
FreeBSD on your machine. If you are upgrading from a previous
release of FreeBSD, please see the file UPGRADE.TXT for important
information on upgrading. If you are not familiar with configuring
PC hardware for FreeBSD, you should also read the HARDWARE.TXT file -
it contains important information which may save you a lot of grief.
If you're new to FreeBSD then you should also read EVERYTHING listed
in the Documentation menu of the installer. It may seem like a lot
to read, but the time you spend now reading the documents will be made
up many times over because you were adequately prepared. Also, you will
know the types of information available should you get stuck later.
Once the system is installed, you can also revisit this menu and use a
WEB browser to read the installed FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and
Handbook HTML documentation sets for FreeBSD. You can also use the
browser to visit other WEB sites on the net (like http://www.freebsd.org)
if you have an Internet connection. See ABOUT.TXT for more information
on the resources available to you.
The best laid plans sometimes go awry, so if you run into trouble take a
look at TROUBLE.TXT which contains valuable troubleshooting information.
You should also read ERRATA.TXT before installing and follow the pointers
there carefully since this will stop you from falling over any problems
which have reported in the interim for your particular release.
DISCLAIMER: While FreeBSD does its best to safeguard against
accidental loss of data, it's still more than possible to WIPE OUT
YOUR ENTIRE DISK with this installation if you make a mistake! Please
do not proceed to the final FreeBSD installation menu unless you've
adequately backed up any important data first! We really mean it!
FreeBSD requires a 386 or better processor to run (sorry, there is no
support for '286 processors) and at least 5 megs of RAM to install
and 4 megs of RAM to run. You will need at least 100MB of free hard
drive space for the most minimal installation. See below for ways of
shrinking existing DOS partitions in order to install FreeBSD.
0.1 Installing FreeBSD from CDROM or the Internet
The easiest type of installation is from CD. If you have a supported
CDROM drive and a FreeBSD installation CD from Walnut Creek CDROM,
there are 2 ways of starting the installation from it:
1. If your system supports bootable CDROM media (usually an option
which can be selectively enabled in the controller's setup menu
or in the PC BIOS for some systems) and you have it enabled,
FreeBSD supports the "El Torrito" bootable CD standard. Simply
put the installation CD in your CDROM drive and boot the system
to begin installation.
2. Build a set of FreeBSD boot floppies from the floppies/
directory in every FreeBSD distribution. Either simply use the
``makeflp.bat'' script from DOS or read floppies/README.TXT
for more information on creating the bootable floppies under
different operating systems. Then you simply boot from the
first floppy and you should soon be in the FreeBSD installation.
If you don't have a CDROM and would like to simply install over the
net using PPP, slip or a dedicated connection, simply fetch the
<FreeBSD-release>/floppies/boot.flp file from:
or one of its many mirrors (http://www.freebsd.org/handbook/mirrors.html)
and follow step 3 above. You should also read the floppies/README.TXT
file as it contains important information for downloaders.
Once you have your boot floppies made, please go to section 1.5 of this
document for additional tips on installing via FTP or NFS.
1.0 Detail on various installation types
Once you've gotten yourself to the initial installation screen somehow,
you should be able to follow the various menu prompts and go from there.
If you've never used the FreeBSD installation before, you are also
encouraged to read some of the documentation in the the Documentation
submenu as well as the general "Usage" instructions on the first menu.
NOTE: If you get stuck at a screen, hit the F1 key for online
documentation relevant to that specific section.
If you've never installed FreeBSD before, or even if you have, the
"Novice" installation mode is the most recommended since it makes sure
that you'll visit all the various important checklist items along the
way. If you're much more comfortable with the FreeBSD installation
process and know _exactly_ what you want to do, use the Express or
Custom installation options. If you're upgrading an existing system,
use the Upgrade option.
The FreeBSD installer supports the direct use of floppy, DOS, tape,
CDROM, FTP, NFS and UFS partitions as installation media, further tips
on installing from each type of media listed below.
1.1 Installing from a network CDROM
If you simply wish to install from a local CDROM drive then see the
Quick Start section. If you don't have a CDROM drive on your system
and wish to use a FreeBSD distribution CD in the CDROM drive of
another system to which you have network connectivity, there are also
several ways of going about it:
1. If you would be able to FTP install FreeBSD directly from the CDROM
drive in some FreeBSD machine, it's quite easy: You simply add the
following line to the password file (using the vipw command):
And anyone else on your network will now be able to chose a Media
type of FTP and type in: ``ftp://<machine with CDROM drive>'' after
picking "URL" in the ftp sites menu.
2. If you would rather use NFS to export the CDROM directly to the
machine(s) you'll be installing from, you need to first add an
entry to the /etc/exports file (on the machine with the CDROM drive)
which looks something like this:
/cdrom -ro ziggy.foo.com
To allow the machine "ziggy.foo.com" to mount the CDROM directly
via NFS during installation. The machine with the CDROM must also
be configured as an NFS server, of course, and if you're not sure how
to do that then an NFS installation is probably not the best choice
for you unless you're willing to read up on rc.conf(5) and configure
things appropriately. Assuming that this part goes smoothly, you
should be able to enter: cdrom-host:/cdrom as the path for an NFS
installation when the target machine is installed, e.g. wiggy:/cdrom
1.2 Installing from Floppies
If you must install from floppy disks, either due to unsupported
hardware or just because you enjoy doing things the hard way, you must
first prepare some floppies for the install.
First, make your boot floppies as described in floppies/README.TXT
Second, read the file LAYOUT.TXT and pay special attention to the
"Distribution format" section since it describes which files you're
going to need to put onto floppy and which you can safely skip.
Next you will need, at minimum, as many 1.44MB floppies as it takes to
hold all files in the bin (binary distribution) directory. If you're
preparing these floppies under DOS, then THESE floppies *must* be
formatted using the MS-DOS FORMAT command. If you're using Windows,
use the Windows File Manager format command.
Don't trust Factory Preformatted floppies! Format them again
yourself, just to make sure. Many problems reported by our users in
the past have resulted from the use of improperly formatted media,
which is why I'm taking such special care to mention it here!
If you're creating the floppies from another FreeBSD machine, a format
is still not a bad idea though you don't need to put a DOS filesystem
on each floppy. You can use the `disklabel' and `newfs' commands to
put a UFS filesystem on a floppy, as the following sequence of
fdformat -f 1440 fd0.1440
disklabel -w -r fd0.1440 floppy3
newfs -t 2 -u 18 -l 1 -i 65536 /dev/rfd0
After you've formatted the floppies for DOS or UFS, you'll need to
copy the files onto them. The distribution files are split into
chunks conveniently sized so that 5 of them will fit on a conventional
1.44MB floppy. Go through all your floppies, packing as many files as
will fit on each one, until you've got all the distributions you want
packed up in this fashion. Each distribution should go into its own
subdirectory on the floppy, e.g.: a:\bin\bin.inf, a:\bin\bin.aa,
IMPORTANT NOTE: The bin.inf file also needs to go on the first floppy
of the bin set since it is read by the installation program in order
to figure out how many additional pieces to look for when fetching and
concatenating the distribution. When putting distributions onto
floppies, the <distname>.inf file MUST occupy the first floppy of each
distribution set! This is also covered in ABOUT.TXT
Once you come to the Media screen of the install, select "Floppy" and
you'll be prompted for the rest.
1.3 Installing from a DOS partition
To prepare for installation from an MS-DOS partition you should simply
copy the files from the distribution into a directory called
"FREEBSD" on the Primary DOS partition ("Drive C:"). For example, to do
a minimal installation of FreeBSD from DOS using files copied from the
CDROM, you might do something like this:
C:\> MD C:\FREEBSD
C:\> XCOPY /S E:\BIN C:\FREEBSD\BIN
Assuming that `E:' was where your CD was mounted.
For as many `DISTS' as you wish to install from DOS (and you have free
space for), install each one in a directory under `C:\FREEBSD' - the
BIN dist is only the minimal requirement.
Once you've copied the directories, you can simply launch the installation
from floppies as normal and select "DOS" as your media type when the time
1.4 Installing from QIC/SCSI Tape
When installing from tape, the installation program expects the files
to be simply tar'ed onto it, so after fetching all of the files for
the distributions you're interested in, simply tar them onto the tape
with a command something like this:
tar cvf /dev/rwt0 (or /dev/rsa0) dist1 .. dist2
When you go to do the installation, you should also make sure that you
leave enough room in some temporary directory (which you'll be allowed
to choose) to accommodate the FULL contents of the tape you've
created. Due to the non-random access nature of tapes, this method of
installation requires quite a bit of temporary storage! You should
expect to require as much temporary storage as you have stuff written
SPECIAL NOTE: When going to do the installation, the tape must be in
the drive *before* booting from the boot floppies. The installation
"probe" may otherwise fail to find it.
Now create a boot floppy as described in section 0.1 and proceed with
1.5 Installing over a network using FTP or NFS
After making the boot floppies as described in the first section, you can
load the rest of the installation over a network using one of 3 types
Serial port: SLIP / PPP
Parallel port: PLIP (using ``laplink'' style cable)
Ethernet: A standard Ethernet controller (including
certain PCCARD devices).
SLIP support is rather primitive, and is limited primarily to
hard-wired links, such as a serial cable running between two
computers. The link must be hard-wired because the SLIP installation
doesn't currently offer a dialing capability. If you need to dial out
with a modem or otherwise dialog with the link before connecting to
it, then I recommend that the PPP utility be used instead.
If you're using PPP, make sure that you have your Internet Service
Provider's IP address and DNS information handy as you'll need to know
it fairly early in the installation process. You may also need to
know your own IP address, though PPP supports dynamic address
negotiation and may be able to pick up this information directly from
your ISP if they support it.
You will also need to know how to use the various "AT commands" for
dialing out with your particular brand of modem as the PPP dialer
provides only a very simple terminal emulator.
If a hard-wired connection to another FreeBSD or Linux machine is
available, you might also consider installing over a "laplink" style
parallel port cable. The data rate over the parallel port is much
higher than what is typically possible over a serial line (up to
50k/sec), thus resulting in a quicker installation. It's not
typically necessary to use "real" IP addresses when using a
point-to-point parallel cable in this way and you can generally just
use RFC 1918 style addresses for the ends of the link (e.g. 10.0.0.1,
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you use a Linux machine rather than a FreeBSD
machine as your PLIP peer, you will also have to specify "link0" in
the TCP/IP setup screen's ``extra options for ifconfig'' field in
order to be compatible with Linux's slightly different PLIP protocol.
FreeBSD supports most common PC Ethernet cards, a table of supported
cards (and their required settings) being provided as part of the
FreeBSD Hardware Guide (see the Documentation menu on the boot floppy
or the top level directory of the CDROM). If you are using one of the
supported PCMCIA Ethernet cards, also be sure that it's plugged in
_before_ the laptop is powered on! FreeBSD does not, unfortunately,
currently support "hot insertion" of PCMCIA cards during installation.
You will also need to know your IP address on the network, the
"netmask" value for your address class and the name of your machine.
Your system administrator can tell you which values are appropriate to
your particular network setup. If you will be referring to other
hosts by name rather than IP address, you'll also need a name server
and possibly the address of a gateway (if you're using PPP, it's your
provider's IP address) to use in talking to it.
If you do not know the answers to these questions then you should
really probably talk to your system administrator _first_ before
trying this type of installation! Using a randomly chosen IP address
or netmask on a live network will almost certainly get you shot at
Once you have a network connection of some sort working, the
installation can continue over NFS or FTP.
1.5.1 NFS installation tips
NFS installation is fairly straight-forward: Simply copy the
FreeBSD distribution files you want onto a server somewhere
and then point the NFS media selection at it.
If this server supports only "privileged port" access (as is
generally the default for Sun and Linux workstations), you
will need to set this option in the Options menu before
installation can proceed.
If you have a poor quality Ethernet card which suffers from very
slow transfer rates, you may also wish to toggle the appropriate
In order for NFS installation to work, the server must also support
"subdir mounts", e.g. if your FreeBSD distribution directory lives
Then wiggy will have to allow the direct mounting of
/usr/archive/stuff/FreeBSD, not just /usr or /usr/archive/stuff.
In FreeBSD's /etc/exports file this is controlled by the
``-alldirs'' option. Other NFS servers may have different
conventions. If you are getting `Permission Denied' messages
from the server then it's likely that you don't have this
1.5.2 FTP Installation tips
FTP installation may be done from any mirror site containing a
reasonably up-to-date version of FreeBSD. A full menu of
reasonable choices for almost any location in the world is
provided in the FTP site menu during installation.
If you are installing from some other FTP site not listed in
this menu, or you are having troubles getting your name server
configured properly, you can also specify your own URL by
selecting the ``URL'' choice in that menu. A URL can
contain a hostname or an IP address, so the following would
work in the absence of a name server:
There are two FTP installation modes you can use:
For all FTP transfers, use the standard "Active" mode for
transfers. This will not work through most firewalls but
will often work best with older ftp servers that do not
support passive mode. If your connection hangs with
passive mode, try this one!
o FTP Passive:
For all FTP transfers, use "Passive" mode. This allows
the user to pass through firewalls that do not allow
incoming connections on random port addresses.
NOTE: ACTIVE AND PASSIVE MODES ARE NOT THE SAME AS A `PROXY'
CONNECTIONS, WHERE A PROXY FTP SERVER IS LISTENING ON A
In such instances, you should specify the URL as something like:
Where "1234" is the port number of the proxy ftp server.
1.6 Tips for Serial Console Users
If you'd like to install FreeBSD on a machine using just a serial
port (e.g. you don't have or wish to use a VGA card), please follow
1. Connect some sort of ANSI (vt100) compatible terminal or terminal
emulation program to the COM1 port of the PC you are installing
2. Unplug the keyboard (yes, that's correct!) and then try to boot
from floppy or the installation CDROM, depending on the type of
installation media you have, with the keyboard unplugged.
3. If you don't get any output on your serial console, plug
the keyboard in again and wait for some beeps. If you are
booting from the CDROM, proceed to Step 5 as soon as you hear
4. For a floppy boot, the first beep means to remove the
kern.flp floppy and insert the mfsroot.flp floppy, after
which you should press enter and wait for another beep.
5. Hit the space bar, then enter
and you should now definitely be seeing everything on the
serial port. If that still doesn't work, check your serial
cabling as well as the settings on your terminal emulation
program or actual terminal device. It should be set for
9600 baud, 8 bits, no parity.
2.0 DOS user's Question and Answer section
2.1 Help! I have no space! Do I need to delete everything first?
If your machine is already running DOS and has little or no free space
available for FreeBSD's installation, all is not lost! You may find
the "FIPS" utility, provided in the tools/ subdirectory on the FreeBSD
CDROM or on the various FreeBSD ftp sites, to be quite useful.
FIPS allows you to split an existing DOS partition into two pieces,
preserving the original partition and allowing you to install onto the
second free piece. You first "defrag" your DOS partition, using the
DOS 6.xx "DEFRAG" utility or the Norton Disk tools, then run FIPS. It
will prompt you for the rest of the information it needs. Afterwards,
you can reboot and install FreeBSD on the new partition. Also note
that FIPS will create the second partition as a "clone" of the first,
so you'll actually see that you now have two DOS Primary partitions
where you formerly had one. Don't be alarmed! You can simply delete
the extra DOS Primary partition (making sure it's the right one by
examining its size! :)
NOTE: FIPS does NOT currently work with FAT32 or VFAT style partitions
as used by newer versions of Windows 95. To split up such a partition,
you will need a commercial product such as Partition Magic 3.0. Sorry,
but this is just the breaks if you've got a Windows partition hogging
your whole disk and you don't want to reinstall from scratch.
2.2 Can I use compressed DOS filesystems from FreeBSD?
No. If you are using a utility such as Stacker(tm) or
DoubleSpace(tm), FreeBSD will only be able to use whatever portion of
the filesystem you leave uncompressed. The rest of the filesystem
will show up as one large file (the stacked/dblspaced file!). DO NOT
REMOVE THAT FILE as you will probably regret it greatly!
It is probably better to create another uncompressed DOS extended
partition and use this for communications between DOS and FreeBSD if
such is your desire.
2.3 Can I mount my DOS extended partitions?
Yes. DOS extended partitions are mapped in at the end of the other
``slices'' in FreeBSD, e.g. your D: drive might be /dev/sd0s5, your E:
drive /dev/sd0s6, and so on. This example assumes, of course, that
your extended partition is on SCSI drive 0. For IDE drives, substitute
``wd'' for ``sd'' appropriately. You otherwise mount extended
partitions exactly like you would mount any other DOS drive, e.g.:
mount -t msdos /dev/sd0s5 /dos_d
2.4 Can I run DOS binaries under FreeBSD?
Ongoing work with BSDI's doscmd utility is bringing this much closer to
being a reality in FreeBSD 3.0, though it still has some rough edges.
If you're interested in working on this, please send mail to
emulation@FreeBSD.org and indicate that you're interested in joining
this ongoing effort!
There is also a neat utility called "pcemu" in the ports collection
which emulates an 8088 and enough BIOS services to run DOS text mode
applications. It requires the X Window System (XFree86) to operate.
---- End of Installation Guide ---