Booting Into PC-BSD®/9.2

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(Sorry for the inconvenience)

After installation, PC-BSD will reboot and you will be prompted to configure your display settings and to login to a desktop.


PC-BSD Graphical Boot Loader

ADD NOTE ABOUT FASTBOOT: rcfastgui="YES" in /etc/rc.conf and log file /var/log/rc_delay.log to see what was started in delayed mode

Assuming the installation media has been removed, you should see the screen shown in Figure 3.12a when you reboot.

Figure 3.12a: PC-BSD Boot Screen


If you press any key, this screen will pause, allowing you to read and select the desired options. Otherwise, it will pause for a few seconds then continue to load PC-BSD with the default options.

There are 6 boot options and 4 actions to choose from:

1 Disable ACPI: ACPI controls power management but may be problematic on some hardware. Select this option if you are unable to boot into PC-BSD.

2 Enable Safe Mode: select this option if the installation hangs when probing your hardware. It will boot with a forced PIO mode (disabling the use of DMA), disable write caching for all IDE hard drives and CD ROM drives, disable the probing of EISA slots (as very few systems have them), and (on i386 systems) disable the use of ACPI and APICs.

3 Enter single user mode: advanced users can use this option to fix critical system failures.

4 Enable verbose logging: select this option if you would like to see more detailed messages during the boot process. This can be useful if you are troubleshooting a piece of hardware.

5 Run X in VESA mode: select this option if PC-BSD is unable to load your video driver. PC-BSD will default to VESA mode which should work on any system with a video card.

6 Run the Display Wizard: if you are unable to access the GUI due to a display setting, enable this option to boot into the display settings wizard.

Press the number of an option to select that option. As you make a selection, the FreeBSD bobble-head icon will be filled in, indicating that that option has been selected. To de-select an option, press its number again. Once you have made your selection(s), you can choose from the following actions:

B Boot PC-BSD with above options: starts PC-BSD with the selected options enabled.

D Restore default options: clears your selections.

L Escape to loader prompt: advanced users can select this option to perform advanced operations, such as changing kernels or loading kernel modules. This prompt provides a limited set of commands which are described here.

R Reboot: reboots the computer.

Creating a Custom Boot Theme

If you would like to change the image in the graphical boot loader, create a PCX image file. It is important that the file is saved in .pcx format as that is the only image format that the boot loader understands. Additionally, the image must be 640 x 480 pixels and 16 colors. The RGB colors that will be available in the menu text will be taken from the image's palette.

The default PC-BSD graphical boot theme is found in /boot/themes/default/. To create your own theme, create a new directory in /boot/themes/ (e.g. mkdir /boot/themes/mytheme) and copy your PCX file to that new subdirectory.

Next, copy /boot/themes/default/theme.conf to your new subdirectory. Open the copied file and edit this line to point to the location of your PCX file:


You can change the theme's colors by editing the RGB values in this file. You can also change the font by modifying the theme_font path to point to the font to use. Finally, you can change the location of the list of options and the actions menu. These are defined with the *_xy settings in the configuration file. The value must be two numbers which specify the X and Y coordinates in pixels, relative to the upper left corner.

To enable your theme, modify this line in /boot/loader.conf to point to the location of your theme.conf file:


Configuring Display Settings

During the first boot, the installer will attempt to set the optimal display settings. If this occurs, you will see a pop-up menu asking if you would like to accept these settings. Simply click Yes to continue to boot into the post-installation configuration screens.

If for some reason the installer is unable to find optimal display settings, you will instead see the Display Settings screen shown in Figure 3.12b:

Figure 3.12b: Display Settings Wizard


Here you can select your desired screen resolution, color depth, and video driver. By default, PC-BSD should list the name of your video card. However, it will select the "vesa" driver which should always work but will provide sub-optimal performance. Click the drop down menu and change "vesa" to the driver that most closely matches your video card's name.

NOTE: until DRI/GEM/KMS is fully supported in PC-BSD, certain video drivers will not take full advantage of the hardware feature set. This typically affects 3d effects on ATI and Radeon cards. If the screen goes blank or otherwise doesn't work when you select the HD version of the driver, selecting the non-HD version should allow you to use the card.

You can also use the drop down menus to change the screen resolution and color depth values. If the value you desire is not listed, it may be that the selected driver does not support that resolution or depth.

Advanced users can select their monitor's horizontal sync and vertical refresh rate in the Advanced tab, seen in Figure 3.12c:

Figure 3.12c: Advanced Tab of Display Settings


Use caution and refer to your monitor's documentation if you make any changes here. If you're not sure what you're doing, leave the default values as-is.

If your computer is connected to two monitors, check the box "Enable Dual-Head support".

When you are finished, click the "Apply" button for your settings to be saved and tested. If anything goes wrong during testing, you should be taken back to the Display Settings screen so that you can try another setting. Once you are happy with the tested setting, click the Yes button to save the setting and to proceed to the login screen.

NOTE: if you wish to return to the display wizard at a later time, go to Control Panel ➜ Display.

Logging In

Once you have finished configuring your display settings, you will be presented with the login screen seen in Figure 3.12d:

Figure 3.12d: PC-BSD Login Screen


Any user accounts that you created during installation will be listed. If you click the Universal Access button in the task bar (round icon with a stick figure), you can set the accessibiity options shown in Figure 3.12e:

Figure 3.12e: Universal Access Preferences


If you installed PC-BSD on a laptop, the taskbar will also show the current battery charge level when you hover your mouse over the power icon. The taskbar includes a clock followed by a Shutdown Options icon. If you click that icon, you can choose to restart or shutdown the system.

If you highlight a user account, some more options will be added to the left side of the taskbar as shown in Figure 3.12f:

Figure 3.12f: Login Menu with User Selected


These options allow you to select your language, keyboard layout, and desktop to use for the login session. Once you have made your selections, input the password associated with the selected user and press enter.

NOTE: PC-BSD will not let you login as the root user account for security reasons. If you just get the login prompt after typing the password, the password was incorrect. Double-check that caplocks is not on and try typing the password again.

If you wish to add or delete any desktops, use the System Packages tab of System Manager.


For security reasons, PC-BSD defaults to a login screen. If you are the only user on the PC-BSD computer, always use the same window manager, and don't consider it a security risk for the system to automatically boot into that window manager, you can enable auto-login as follows.

Become the superuser and edit the file /usr/local/etc/gdm/custom.conf. Add the following 2 lines to the [daemon] section, substituting the name of your user account for username:


The next time you boot into PC-BSD, it will automatically login as the user you specified.

If you wish to test your changes before a reboot, close all of your applications as the following command will end your X session and should automatically log you back into the same desktop. You need to be the superuser in order to run this command:

/usr/local/etc/rc.d/gdm restart

Welcome & Getting Started

The first time you log in, the PC-BSD Getting Started screen will load as seen in Figure 3.12g.

Figure 3.12g: PC-BSD Getting Started Screen


If you click the Next button, you can read an overview of the utilities that are used to configure your network connection, install applications, configure your system, make a backup, and keep the system updated, as well as how to get involved with the PC-BSD community. Check the box “Don't show this greeting on next startup” if you do not want to see this screen the next time you log in. To re-open the screen after checking that box, type pc-welcome.

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