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Installation Troubleshooting/9.2

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Installing PC-BSD is usually an easy process that "just works". However, sometimes you will run into a problem. This section will look at solutions to the most common installation problems.

Network Installation Fails

When installing over the network, the PC-BSD installer will try to configure your Ethernet NICs using DHCP. Occasionally the NIC will fail to get an IP address, meaning that it can't connect to the FTP mirror to get the files needed by the installer. You will know this is the case when the mirror list in Figure 4.2b remains greyed out.

You can manually retry getting an IP address from the terminal. To access a terminal, right-click an area on the desktop outside of the installation window and select xterm from the menu. Type ifconfig in the terminal to find out the FreeBSD names for your interfaces. You are looking for an entry that shows a status of active. In the example shown in Figure 3.13a, the interface em0 is active but does not have an IP address.

Figure 3.13a: Using ifconfig to Determine IP Address


Once you know the name of the interface, use it with the dhclient command as seen in Example 3.13a.

Example 3.13a: Using dhclient to Obtain an IP Address

dhclient em0
DHCPREQUEST on em0 to port 67
bound to -- renewal in 43200 seconds.

If you can obtain an IP address, you should be able to select a mirror to install from and continue with the installation.

Installation Fails

The PC-BSD installer creates a log which keeps a record of all the steps that completed as well as any errors. Should the installation fail, you can access this log to see what went wrong. To access a terminal, right-click an area on the desktop outside of the installation window and select xterm from the menu. You can read the log with this command:

more /tmp/pc-sysinstall.log

If you can't figure out how to fix the error or believe that you have discovered an installation bug, you can send this log to the Support mailing list. When an installation error occurs, the PC-BSD installer will ask if you would like to generate an error report. If you click Yes, a pop-up message will ask if you would like to save the error log to a USB stick. Type y and insert a FAT formatted USB thumb drive to copy the log.

System Doesn't Boot

If the installer doesn't make it to the boot screen, seen in Figure 3.13b, try unplugging as many devices as possible, such as webcams, scanners, printers, USB mice and keyboards. If this solves the problem, plug in one piece of hardware at a time, then reboot. This will help you pinpoint which device is causing the problem.

Figure 3.13b PC-BSD Welcome Screen


It could be that your BIOS is set to prefer your built-in graphics capability or a non-existent graphics card. On some systems this is determined by the order of the devices listed; in this case, make sure that the preferred device is listed first. If you cannot see your BIOS settings you may need to move a jumper or remove a battery to make it revert to the default of built-in graphics; check your manual or contact your manufacturer for details.

If your computer freezes after the installation boot menu (while probing hardware) and unplugging extra devices does not fix the problem, it is possible that the installation media is corrupt. If the MD5 on the file you downloaded was correct, try reburning the file and double-check that you are using your burning software correctly (e.g. are not choosing a burning speed faster than your DVD drive supports).

If the system freezes after the PC-BSD boot screen loads and you suspect that configuring the video card is causing the system to freeze, review your system's BIOS settings. If there is a setting for video memory, set it to its highest value.

If that change did not help, try rebooting and selecting option "7. Escape to loader prompt" from the boot menu. This will open the boot loader prompt where you can type the following commands:

disable-module vesa
set module_path=/boot/kernel;/boot/modules;CONSOLE

That will disable the vesa splash screen and boot the system to an emergency console. From there you can try vesa mode, or drop to a shell and modify /etc/X11/xorg.conf to change your display settings.

A not uncommon cause for problems is the LBA (Logical Block Addressing) setting in the BIOS. If your PC is not booting up before or after installation, check your BIOS and turn LBA off (don't leave it on automatic).

If the sata settings in your BIOS are set to "compatibility" mode, try changing this setting to "AHCI".

Getting Help

If none of the above has fixed your problem, search the PC-BSD forums to see if a solution exists, try a Google search, or check the section on Finding Help.

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