Installing Free BSD 5.0

Installing Operating Systems with gore

Free BSD 5.0


Free BSD has the same reputation as Slackware Linux does for not being an easy to install OS. Well, So far I've installed it 30 times, and I haven't used a manual yet.

This tutorial will be the same as my Slackware tutorial was, in that it will provide a step by step installation tutorial for Free BSD.

Free BSD is actually quite easy to install. Hopefully this will show that. For right now I'm only going to show the installation, but maybe in another tutorial, or paper, I'll show you how to configure it, but first things first right?

This will work on a number of machines. I've installed it this way on two machines, with very different hardware, and the install works fine, so you should be fine. Even if you have an integrated video card you can at least install it, but setting up XFree86 is different, and so for the time being, I won't be showing the configuration.

Mainly because the machine I usually use for free BSD is currently being used to type this with Slackware Linux 9.1. This tutorial is being typed on Emacs, the non X version, and the install should only take you a few minutes unless you have terribly slow hardware.


You have a CD-ROM drive

You won't be sharing the HD with another OS (If you are, when it comes time to partition, you're on your own I won't be showing you how to partition to use another OS with it, as I don't, and don't feel the need to, as there is enough documentation to get you through this anyway, and besides, you have to partition to use Free BSD anyway, so if you can do that, you can do it to allow another OS to reside on disk with Free BSD too.)

You will be setting up a network connection. (If you are not, then skip that section).


The GUI for free BSD is the same as Linux uses, but you do have to set it up by hand. If you plan on using X, I recommend that before you begin, you go into the current OS on your computer and get all the information about your hardware, you'll need it.

I've set up X a few times, and it's not hard, but you have to set it up to your own hardware configuration, and I'm NOT going to show you hwo to do this with every possible configuration, so that is why I'm not adding a section for X.

After you use it for a while and read books, you'll learn more by doing this yourself, than you will if I just tell you how. So I'm not skipping X configuration to be mean, but just because there are to many possible combinations of hardware.

The installation:

To start the installation, take the CD-ROM, and insert it into the CD-ROM drive of the computer you are installing on, and shut the machine down. Wait a few seconds, and then hit the power button. As the machine boots up you'll see text scrolling, and a little warning saying it will boot in 10 seconds, you can either watch the count down with excitement, or press "ENTER" on your keyboard.

After the count down, the text gets a brighter white color, scrolls, and then you see something that may remind you a little of Slackware Linux:

Sys Install:

The Free BSD installation is done by "SysInstall" which is a nice non GUI program that's fairly easy to use. After the machine has booted up you'll see it, and can begin the installation.

When Sys Install is loaded on your screen, press the DOWN arrow key once, and press "ENTER" to begin a standard installation. For the most part, the install of Free BSD looks the same as far back as 4.0 which was my first version. 5.1 and so on look a bit different, but besides a few screens, it's the same.

I'm using the Free BSD 5.0 disk that came with my book "Free BSD Unleashed, second edition". I highly recommend This book, and "the Complete Free BSD" for anyone using BSD.


After pressing "ENTER" to begin a standard install, you come to a screen saying you are going into Fdisk. Press "ENTER" to say "OK" and then you see the Fdisk screen.

Don't worry, this is simple!

Press the letter "A" on your keyboard, to alocate all of the disk to Free BSD, then, press the UP arrow key once to highlight the partition named "freebsd" and press "S" to set it as bootable.

You'll see a little "A" after pressing "S" to confirm it was set as bootable.

After you press "S" and have it set as bootable, press "Q" to quit.

Boot manager:

After you have pressed "Q" you come to the screen to select a boot manager. If you plan on dual booting, I recommend the Free BSD boot manager. If you have a partition and boot manager already installed that you need to keep, then you will want to leave the MBR alone!

To leave the MBR alone and use whatever boot manager you have installed:

Press the DOWN arrow key twice to highlight "NONE" and press the "ENTER" key.

If you're like me and don't have any other OS you need installed on the machine, then press the DOWN arrow key one time, to highlight "Standard" and then press "ENTER".

Back to Fdisk land:

After you have done this, you see a screen saying you are going to be playing with Fdisk again. Press "ENTER" to say "OK", and you are taken back to Fdisk for round 2.

Now, this part looks very intimidating to a newbie, but it's actually very easy. All you have to do here, is press "A" for auto defaults, then press "Q" to finish. Easy huh?

Back to Sys Install for software:

After you press "Q" you come back to the Sys Install screen to select software.

This screen is fairly straight forward for coders and Kernel Developers, but for newbies it's not.

The easiest way to get passed this screen, is to press the DOWN arrow key once, which will select all, and pressing "ENTER".

After you press "ENTER" you are taken to a new screen asking about the ports collection. There is no reason you should not install the ports unless you're installing on a VERY small disk.

The default highlight is "Yes", so go ahead and press "ENTER" on this window, and after doing so, you come back to the same screen you were just at asking for software to install.

At this screen, press the UP arrow key once, to highlight "EXIT" and then press "ENTER".

Where do you want to install from?

After you have done so, you come to a new screen that is asking where to install from.

It's already highlighting the CD/DVD method, so just press "ENTER".

After pressing "ENTER" you have to tell it which CD-ROM it's in. Usually if you have more than one CD drive in your machine, you pop it in the top one, so the already highlighted top "ATAPI/IDE CDROM" Option should work fine. If not pick the other

After you have pressed "ENTER" and selected the CD-ROM drive the Free BSD installation media is in, you come to a screen warning you that this is your last chance to turn back.

If you forgot to do something, this is the time to select "No".

If you took care of everything you may need, and are ready to finally actually begin the installation, then press "ENTER" as the "YES" option is already highlighted.

The installation begins:

After you select "YES" you see the screen go blue and showing you the current task it is performing. It's currently making File Systems on the HD, so relax for a minute while it does this.

After the File Systems are done, you see a new little window on the screen showing you a progress bar. It's now loading things from CD, so it can take a while on a slower system.

After a few minutes, you see it starts adding packages. This doesn't usually take that long, but again, just relax.

After a few minutes, you see a message saying how Free BSD is now installed. Don't stop yet though, you're not done.

Configuration of the network:

Press "ENTER" on the screen telling you the main install is done, and then it will ask you if you want to configure a network.

If you have no network, then don't select "Yes". But if you DO have a network and want to set it up now, press "ENTER" as "Yes" is already selected.

After pressing "ENTER" you see various options. Free BSD has picked up my integrated NIC, so I press "ENTER" as it's already selected on the screen.

After pressing "ENTER" You see a message pop up asking if you want to use IPV6 with this device....Unless you are sure you need this, then you will NOT need it. "No" is already preselected, so just press "ENTER".

After you press "ENTER" be careful not to just hit it again, as the same message window then asks if you want to use DHCP.

I'm on a LAN, so I press the LEFT arrow key once, and press "ENTER" on "Yes". It scans for DHCP servers, and it finds my DHCP servers, and now I can fill out information.

For host, you can type pretty much anything, and the domain is already filled out as my DHCP configuration on the router sent it to Free BSD already.

Type in a host name you want, and then press "TAB" to pop over to the next box. You may notice that pressing "TAB" made more information pop up, this is fine, so don't worry. Press "TAB" until you have "OK" selected at the bottom.

After you have "OK" slected, press "ENTER".

Network configuration continues as the next screen has another window asking you if you want to use Free BSD as a network gateway. If you are, then go ahead, but for me, I'm leaving the already selected "No" answer and just pressing "ENTER".

After you have pressed "ENTER" another window asks about InetD. For now, I'm just going to leave the answer "NO" that is already selected, and press "ENTER". You can always configure this later anwyay.

After you have pressed "ENTER" you have another window asking about FTP. If you're not setting up an FTP server, leave this screen alone, and just press "ENTER" as you can do this later if you need it, and "NO" is selected by default, so just press "ENTER".

After you have done so, you get asked about an NFS server. Just press "ENTER" here too.

After you hot "OK" on this screen, you come to another screen, which asks about an NFS client. If you are setting up Free BSD as a server or client on your network, you may want to set this up, but if it's just going to be on your LAN, then just keep hitting "No" for these, and as always, you can set these up later on.

After you have pressed "ENTER" you come to another screen asking for the security profile of the system.

This screen is your choice. If you're like me, you'll be pressing "ENTER" as the default selection is already on "No". This way I can configure the system myself.

After you made a choice and hit "ENTER" you are taken to the next screen telling you about the security selection. Just press "ENTER" after reading the message on the screen.

After you press "ENTER" you come to another screen asking to customize the console settings. Just press "ENTER" here for the already selected answer "No" as you don't need to do this unless you really want to.

After pressing "ENTER" you will come to another screen, asking for the time zone.

Press "ENTER" here as it is already on "Yes".

After pressing "ENTER" the next screen tries to confuse you, so just press "ENTER" again. Unless of course you're sure of the answer.

After pressing "ENTER" select your Country.

I'm in the US, so I press the DOWN arrow key until I have "America -- North and South" selected, and then I press "ENTER".

Now, after you have "ENTER" pressed, press the DOWN arrow key until the Country you're in is selected. I'm in the "United States" so I press the DOWN arrow jey until that is highlighted.

I then press "ENTER" and go to the time zone selection screen. I'm in "Michigan" so I press on the DOWN arrow key once to select "Eastern Time - Michigan - most locations" and press the "ENTER" key.

Installing Linux compatibility:

After pressing "ENTER" a little window pops up asking if an abbreciation looks OK. Just press "ENTER" here. The next question it asks is about Linux compatibility. Go ahead and say "Yes" here, as it can be nice to use Linux Applications on Free BSD.

After you press "ENTER" it adds the packages needed, and is also a great time to smoke. So I'm going to smoke while this is installing, and when I get back it will be done.

Setting up your mouse:

The Linux compatibility install finishes, and then you come to another screen asking you if you have a NON USB mouse attached. My mouse is not USB so I press the LEFT arrow key to highlight "Yes" and press "ENTER".

After pressing "ENTER" you come to a screen to set up the mouse.

Press the DOWN arrow key one time, and press "ENTER".

Move the mouse around and see if it shows up. This should work without problems, and if you see the cursor moving press "ENTER". Now press the DOWN arrow key to select the mouse protocol.

In this, "AUTO" is already selected, so just press "ENTER" unless you're sure of the mouseyou have and see it here.

After pressing "ENTER" press the DOWN arrow key and press "ENTER". This mouse is a PS/2 mouse, so I just press the little "ENTER" key, and then when I'm back on the original screen I press the UP arrow key until "EXIT" is highlighted, and press "ENTER" again.

Skipping X configuration:

The next window asks about configuraing X, but as I said already, I'm not walkign you through this because you have to set options for each video card. I don't have the same card as everyone else, so it wouldn't be all that helpful. So for this screen, just press the RIGHT arrow key to select "No" and press "ENTER". You can se this up at a later time, so don't worry.

More software to install :

After you finish that screen you come to another screen to install more software. "Yes" is already selected, so just press "ENTER".

After you have pressed "ENTER" the easiest thing is just pressing "ENTER" as "ALL" is already selected. This will install everything, and makes it easier than going through every package. You can do that when you have learned more about Free BSD.

After you have gotten to the next screen, you should see a software selection screen, and you can choose some things to install for X. You can select whatever you want here, and any dependencies will be added automatically.

After you have selected what you want, press "TAB" to select "OK" and then press "ENTER" on the keyboard. You now come back to the screen you were at earlier, and now you just press "TAB" to highlight on the button saying to "Install" and press "ENTER".

Setting up the first user accounts for Free BSD :

After pressing "ENTER" the packages you selected are installed, and then you come to a new screen some time later. this screen asks for setting up user accounts, so press "ENTER" as "YES" is already highlighted.

After pressing "ENTER" press the little "DOWN" arrow on your keyboard, and press "ENTER" to add a user.

It asks for a log in ID, so whatever you want to use to log in should be entered. I enter "GORE" then hit "TAB" 3 times to enter in a password, then hit "TAB" again to enter a full name.

After you have entered the name, press "TAB" until you are on "OK" and hit "ENTER". After pressing "ENTER" you go back to the screen to add users or groups. Enter as many users as you need to, and then, select "EXIT" and press "ENTER" when you finish adding users.

Setting the Root password :

Now it's time to set the Root password. Press enter at the screen telling you about it, and then enter in a Root password. You have to enter it in twice.

Finishing up the install :

Then you can read the window asking if want to go to the main window for any more options.

"No" is already highlighted here, so just press "ENTER". After you are done, you see the first screen again. Press "TAB" and that will highlight the "Exit" option. Press "ENTER" and a little screen asks if you're sure. Press the LEFT arrow key to highlight "YES" and press "ENTER".

Make sure you pop out the CD-ROM first, and if you can't for some reason, just wait until it's rebooting and pull it out then. The machine reboots, and boots up for the first time. Now, have fun.