Chapter 3. Installing FreeBSD 8.X

Restructured, reorganized, and parts rewritten by Jim Mock.
The sysinstall walkthrough, screenshots, and general copy by Randy Pratt.
Table of Contents
3.1. Synopsis
3.2. Hardware Requirements
3.3. Pre-installation Tasks
3.4. Starting the Installation
3.5. Introducing sysinstall(8)
3.6. Allocating Disk Space
3.7. Choosing What to Install
3.8. Choosing the Installation Media
3.9. Committing to the Installation
3.10. Post-installation
3.11. Troubleshooting
3.12. Advanced Installation Guide
3.13. Preparing Custom Installation Media

3.1. Synopsis

FreeBSD provides a text-based, easy to use installation program. FreeBSD 9.0-RELEASE and later use the installation program known as bsdinstall(8) while FreeBSD 8.X uses sysinstall(8). This chapter describes how to use sysinstall(8). The use of bsdinstall(8) is covered in Chapter 2, Installing FreeBSD 9.X and Later.

After reading this chapter, you will know:

  • How to create the FreeBSD installation media.

  • How FreeBSD refers to and subdivides hard disks.

  • How to start sysinstall(8).

  • The questions sysinstall(8) asks, 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 to install, and verify that the system's hardware is supported.


In general, these installation instructions are written for the i386™ and FreeBSD/amd64 architectures. Where applicable, instructions specific to other platforms will be listed. There may be minor differences between the installer and what is shown here. This chapter should be used as a general guide rather than a literal installation manual.

All FreeBSD documents are available for download at

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

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