PC-BSD can be installed from the installation media directly onto a hard drive or it can be installed into a 'virtual computer' using virtualization software such as VmWare Hypervisor or Virtualbox. You can also try PC-BSD without installing it by selecting the Live option when you booth the DVD.
The PC-BSD installer has made installing a Unix-like operating system as easy as installing Microsoft Windows. When installing PC-BSD you don’t need to use the command line or text-based installers, neither do you have to manually edit configuration files.
The installation of PC-BSD is a fast, easy and straight-forward process with a pretty looking Installer. An easy-to-use wizard will take you step-by-step through the whole process by asking a few simple questions and after a few minutes you will have your system up and running. Though the installation process has been made as short and as easy as possible, there are still some advanced options available for power users.
Starting the PC-BSD Installation
This section will show you how to install PC-BSD.
Insert either the installation DVD into the computer's DVD drive or insert the USB drive containing the installation media into a USB port. Boot the system and the installation should begin. If the computer instead boots into an existing operating system, reboot and check your computer's BIOS program to ensure that the drive containing the installation media is listed first in the boot order. Save your BIOS changes and reboot.
After a couple of seconds, a series of lines of code will scroll down the screen, meaning that PC-BSD is being loaded. Soon after, you should see a screen similar to Figure X-XX:
There are 8 options to choose from:
- 1. Boot Installer [default] - Starts the installation program with all standard options enabled. This is the default if you don't select anything else within 10 seconds.
- 2. Boot Installer with ACPI disabled - This disables power management, which may be useful for certain BIOS's and laptops. If the installation program hangs while probing your hardware, restart the computer and see if selecting this option makes a difference.
- 3. Boot in Live Mode - Select this option if you want to test-drive PC-BSD without installing it.
- 4. Boot in Safe Mode - Select this option if installation still hangs when probing your hardware and option #2 did not help. 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) disables the use of ACPI and APICs.
- 5. Boot with 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 which piece of hardware is causing the installation to hang.
- 6. Boot to emergency console - Advanced users can use this option to fix critical system failures.
- 7. Run X in VESA mode - If the installation program is unable to load your video driver, restart the computer and select this option. The installer will default to VESA mode which will work on any system with a video card.
- 8. Escape to loader prompt - Advanced users can select this option to issue advanced commands, such as changing kernels or loading kernel modules.
Once you make a selection, the boot splash screen will load. If you'd like to save some time, press any key when prompted, then type in n and press enter when you see this message:
Check integrity of installer archive? This may take several minutes. [y]:
Language Selection Screen
The next screen, seen in Figure X-XX: indicates that the installer successfully loaded and is ready to present you with its options:
The installer is divided into three logical areas:
- The left panel which lists the screens the installer will step through. The current step is highlighted in red text.
- The main area in the centre where the installer expects user input.
- The bottom navigation bar where you can go forward, backward or Abort the installation.
This screen allows you to select your language. PC-BSD's menus have been translated to several different languages and you can see the status of your native language at the PC-BSD Translation Site. At this website, if your language does not show 100% translation, it means that not all of the menus have been translated yet and that the untranslated menus will instead display in English. You are welcome to join the PC-BSD Translators Mailing List if you would like to assist in translating menus to your native language.
By default, PC-BSD menus will display in English, unless you select another language in the drop down menu in this screen. When you are finished, click Next to go to the next installation screen.
Keyboard Selection Screen
The next screen, seen in Figure X-XX, allows you to change your keyboard model, keyboard layout, and preferred variant. If English is your native language and you are using a basic English keyboard, you can just press Next to accept the defaults.
Otherwise, use the menus to change the default selection(s) to match your keyboard type and language. You can test your changes by typing into the white area at the bottom of the screen, just below the message that indicates you can test your selected settings.
System Selection Screen
The next screen, seen in Figure X-XX, allows you to choose between a fresh install (overwrites everything on the install partition), an upgrade (keeps settings from an earlier version of PC-BSD), or to restore from a backup (requires you to have first made a backup using Life Preserver. The default is to do a fresh install.
NOTE: Regardless of which choice you make, make sure you have a backup of your important data as it is always possible for existing data to be overwritten. If you have not made a backup yet, press the Abort button to leave the installation program, make and verify your backup, then restart the installation program.
This screen also allows you to decide between installing PC-BSD (the default) or FreeBSD. As of version 8.x, the PC-BSD installer does not allow you to select which installation sets get installed with FreeBSD and only performs a base install. This functionality may change in future versions. If you decide to install FreeBSD using the PC-BSD installer and want additional distribution sets, type sysinstall -> Configure -> Distributions after you boot into your FreeBSD system.
Finally, this screen allows you decide whether the installer will copy the files it needs from the DVD/USB image you booted from or from a location over the network.
NOTE: If you are installing PC-BSD as the only operating system on your computer, the default settings are fine and you can click Next to continue. However, if this is not your intent, you will need to review the sections that apply to your situation:
- Upgrading PC-BSD
- Use PC-BSD Installer to Install FreeBSD
- Install PC-BSD Over a Network
- Install PC-BSD in its own Partition on a Multi-Boot System
Disk Selection Screen
The next screen, seen in Figure X-XX, is used to determine which hard drive and partition to install PC-BSD into.
NOTE: If you are installing PC-BSD as the only operating system on your computer, simply check the "Use Entire Disk" checkbox then click Next to continue. However, if this is not your intent, you will need to review the sections that apply to your situation:
If your computer contains multiple hard drives, use the drop down menu at the top of the screen to select the drive you wish to install into.
The check box at the bottom of the screen determines whether or not to Install the PC-BSD bootloader, which is currently the same as the FreeBSD boot loader. You should leave this box unchecked if:
- you have no plans to use PC-BSD with another operating system on the same computer
- you plan to use the Windows boot loader instead
However, if you plan to share the computer with a Linux distribution, you want to check this box. Even though you will probably use the Linux boot loader, this option will create the partition table info that other boot loader will need (CHECK THIS).
The PC-BSD/FreeBSD boot loader is extremely basic and wasn't designed to look fancy or to be customized. If you select to install it and decide later on to replace it with another boot loader, see the section on Dual Booting for other boot loader alternatives.
Users Creation Screen
The next screen, seen in Figure X-XX, requires you to set the administrative password and to create at least one user account.
The administrative password, also known as the root or superuser password, is required for system administration tasks such as installing software, setting up your printer, or changing settings that affect all users. You will need to remember this password for the times that you are prompted for it. Use this screen to type in the password you want to use; you are required to type it in twice to confirm the password.
For security reasons, PC-BSD will not let you login as the administrator; instead it will prompt you for the administrator password whenever it is needed to perform a system task. This means that you need to create a user account that you will use to login to your system. If you share your computer with other users, you should create an account for each user. That way, each user will have their own home directory where they can store their files and not interfere with the files created by other users.
To create a user, complete the following fields:
- Username: you need to remember this name as it is used to login. It is case-sensitive, meaning you have to remember if you use any capitalization. It cannot contain any spaces.
- Full name: this name can contain spaces and is used as a description to help you remember who uses this user account.
- Password: you will need to type this in twice. If you or another user forget their password, see the FAQ on Help, I Forgot My Password!
- Shell: can be left as-is. This option is used by advanced users to choose their default shell when using a command prompt. The shell is to PC-BSD what MS-DOS was to Microsoft Windows.
When you have filled in the information for the new user, click the +Add button and the user account should appear in the "User Accounts" field underneath. You can click a user name at any time and modify its details. If you change your mind about a user, highlight their entry and click the -Remove button to prevent the user account from being created by the installation.
If you are security conscious or if you share the PC with others and you don't want others to automatically login to your account in order to access your files, unmark the checkbox for "Auto-login User".
Click the Next button when you are finished.
Time Selection Screen
This screen, seen in Figure X-XX, allows you to select your time zone from a drop down menu.
There is also a check box that allows your PC-BSD system to automatically connect to a time server on the Internet to ensure it is keeping accurate time. Accurate time is sometimes needed by time-sensitive applications, such as logging into a server that uses Active Directory. You can uncheck this box if you don't think you need it or if your system isn't always connected to the Internet.
If your native language is English and you don't want to install other language support (which does take up disk space), check the box "Remove all other language support files". CHECK THIS
Components Selection Screen
This screen, seen in Figure X-XX, allows you to select which software components can be installed with the operating system.
Highlight the software you would like to install in the "Available Components" box and click the blue > button to add them to the "Selected Components" box. If you change your mind, highlight the item in the "Selected Components" box and click the blue < button. Whatever shows up in the "Selected Components" box when you click the Next button, will be installed for you.
The following software is available as components:
- Mozilla's popular web browser - (firefox)
- Powerful CD /DVD burning tool - (k3b)
- Full featured office suite - (openoffice)
- Web Browser with BitTorrent client - (opera)
- FreeBSD ports collection - (ports)
- FreeBSD system source - (src)
- Jail management and administration - (thewarden)
- Mozilla's popular E-mail client - (thunderbird)
Note: You can still install additional software after PC-BSD is installed. The components that show during installation came with the installation media, meaning they can be installed quickly and don't require a connection to the Internet.
Installation Summary Screen
This screen, seen in Figure X-XX, provides a summary of all of the options you selected in the previous screens.
You should review this information to make sure it is correct. If you would like to change anything, use the Back button to navigate to the options(s) you would like to change. When finished, click the Next button. A popup message will ask if you want to start the installation. If you're ready, click the Yes button.
Note: this is your very last chance to make sure you're ready. Once you click Yes, the selected hard drive or partition will be formatted and any data it contains will be lost.
Installation Progress Screen
This screen, seen in Figure X-XX, uses a progress bar and messages so you can watch the installation's progress.
How long the installation takes depends upon the speed of your hardware, the installation type you selected, and whether or not any additional software components will be installed. A typical installation takes between 15 and 30 minutes.
Installation Finished Screen
This screen, seen in Figure X-XX, appears once the installation is complete.
You can now remove your installation media and click the Finish button to boot into your PC-BSD installation. If you installed the PC-BSD bootloader, you will can choose "FreeBSD" from the list, in order to load PC-BSD. Otherwise, your computer should load PC-BSD directly without your intervention.