Chapter 2. Installing FreeBSD 9.X and Later

Restructured, reorganized, and parts rewritten by Jim Mock.
The sysinstall walkthrough, screenshots, and general copy by Randy Pratt.
Updated for bsdinstall by Gavin Atkinson and Warren Block.
Table of Contents
2.1. Synopsis
2.2. Hardware Requirements
2.3. Pre-Installation Tasks
2.4. Starting the Installation
2.5. Introducing bsdinstall
2.6. Installing from the Network
2.7. Allocating Disk Space
2.8. Committing to the Installation
2.9. Post-Installation
2.10. Troubleshooting
2.11. Using the Live CD

2.1. Synopsis

FreeBSD comes with a text-based, easy to use installation program. FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE and later use an installation program called bsdinstall, while releases prior to FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE using sysinstall for installation. This chapter describes the use of bsdinstall. The use of sysinstall is covered in Chapter 3, Installing FreeBSD 8.X.

After reading this chapter, you will know:

  • How to create the FreeBSD installation media.

  • How FreeBSD subdivides and refers to hard disks.

  • How to start bsdinstall.

  • The questions bsdinstall will ask you, what they mean, and how to answer them.

Before reading this chapter, you should:

  • Read the supported hardware list that shipped with the version of FreeBSD you are installing, and verify that your hardware is supported.


In general, these installation instructions are written for i386™ (PC compatible) architecture computers. Where applicable, instructions specific to other platforms will be listed. There may be minor differences between the installer and what is shown here, so use this chapter as a general guide rather than as exact literal instructions.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at

Questions that are not answered by the documentation may be sent to <>.

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