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Old 10-30-2007, 08:12 PM   #1
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 41

Rep: Reputation: 15
freebsd usb thumb drive install

I'm trying to install freebsd from a usb thumb drive(no cdrom floppy etc on the box). I can't seem to find an image online that I can just dd to my usb stick. Everything I come across says you can't just take a cd iso image because of the filesystem the cd uses. I found a script to convert iso images into images bootable from usb, but the script is for bsd and I don't have access to a freebsd box. Does anyone have an image I can dd to my usb drive, so I can install freebsd 6.2?

I also tried using pxe, but I don't have access to nfs(only ftp). I tried chaining the bsd pxeboot through pxelinux, but this hasn't worked out too well. I was hoping that using usb would be much simpler. All the documentation I find seems rather dated, and I'm new to freebsd.

Thanks in advance for any help.
Old 10-31-2007, 01:33 AM   #2
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: FL, Delray Beach
Distribution: Slackware11, LFS
Posts: 67

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well, i am not sure why it wont work, i assume you have iso image of yoru freebsd, and that can be mounted as a cd, i think it was mount -o loop -t iso9660 freebsd.iso /mnt/anything

now you can dd /mnt/anything to your usb drive, i dont see any reason why it will not work, computer doesnt care if it is a cd, usb or whatever, it is just looking for boot files
Old 10-31-2007, 03:30 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 41

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
You can't just dd the directory because
# dd if=test/ of=usb
dd: reading `test/': Is a directory
0+0 records in
0+0 records out
0 bytes (0 B) copied, 0.00168597 seconds, 0.0 kB/s
If you copy the files from the iso onto the usb drive
# cp -r iso_mount/* usb_mount/
Then the bios complains about an invalid image when you try to boot from it. You are correct in that the bios doesn't care if it is a cd/usb/whatever, but the bios isn't simply looking for files since it has no concept of a filesystem(although you might have meant files in the more general sense including the boot sector in which you are correct). I know on hard drives the bios generally grabs the first sector where a boot loader is generally placed. I don't know how a usb stick is treated. That is why I was hoping someone had an image created or a script to create such an image that runs on linux. However, it might be faster for me just to port the freebsd one.
Old 02-28-2008, 07:53 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2008
Posts: 3

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Same problem here

I'm also trying to install FreeBSD from a USB flash drive. Any help will be appreciated.
Old 02-29-2008, 01:20 AM   #5
Registered: Jun 2004
Posts: 41

Original Poster
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I never got it working. I eventually just managed to plug a cdrom in the box and installed from there.

That script I posted should work, but you already need a bsd box to run it from. Maybe try a livecd and run the script from there. Freebsd 7.0 just came out so maybe they have an easier way.
Old 03-01-2008, 03:22 AM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 2

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You might want to check out this thread in the OLPC help forums.

It shows how to install Ubuntu onto a raw image via Qemu, dd it onto a USB disk or SD card and then boot the OLPC laptop from that image. Similar results. I'd try it myself, and might do so later, however its 2AM right now and I'm looking to go to bed.

Here is the original tutorial that FAQ was based on:

I have succeeded with the Ubuntu to OLPC conversion and the only bit of advice I can give is Partitioning. Single partition. No swap. One giant partition. Everything may seem to go perfectly fine all through the dd process, but it wont boot. It corrupts the partition table.

I'll check back either tomorrow or monday and post my results on making a USB install of FreeBSD.
Old 03-08-2008, 12:13 AM   #7
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu, Debian Sarge, Mac OS X, FreeBSD
Posts: 45

Rep: Reputation: 16
A quick forum search shows this asked only a few weeks ago.

The links I put in that thread work for me for what you want.


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