Many PC-BSD users successfully run PC-BSD on their laptops. To determine if the hardware on your laptop is supported, search the FreeBSD Laptop Compatibility List. Consider adding to this list if your model is not listed or the information for your model is out-of-date.
Depending upon the model of laptop, you may run across some issues. These typically deal with:
- sleep/suspend: unfortunately, ACPI is not an exact science, meaning that you may have to experiment with various sysctl variables in order to achieve successful sleep and suspend states on your particular laptop model. If your laptop is a ThinkPad, read man acpi_ibm. Thinkwiki is another excellent source. For other types of laptops, try reading the SYSCTL VARIABLES section of man 4 acpi. The Tuning with sysctl section of the FreeBSD Handbook demonstrates how to determine your current sysctl values, modify a value, and make a modified value persist after a reboot.
- internal wireless: some chipsets don't have a FreeBSD driver yet. If you would like to try converting a Windows driver into a FreeBSD module, use the instructions in this blog post.
- internal ATI or Radeon graphics: at this time, these chipsets will only support 2D graphics. This should be fixed by PC-BSD 9.1.
If you wish to test your laptop's hardware, consider using PC-BSD Live Mode before committing to an installation.
ThinkPad BIOS Versions with Known Bug
If you wish to install PC-BSD on an older IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad laptop, it is important to first check your ThinkPad model number to see if its BIOS has a known bug. This bug is rather nasty and will render the computer completely unbootable--even the BIOS will be inaccessible. This situation occurs as the BIOS thinks that the PC-BSD (FreeBSD) partition number represents the IBM repair partition. The only way to get the affected laptop to boot again is to physically remove the hard drive, insert it into another laptop, wipe the drive, and insert the drive back into the system. While the hard drive is in the other system, you'll note that PC-BSD boots just fine as the problem is with the BIOS, not the hard drive. Once the BIOS is accessible again, you should upgrade (or possibly downgrade) the BIOS to a version number that fixes this bug. See Table 2.4 for the models which are affected, the BIOS version number that fixes the bug, and links to the BIOS software should you need to upgrade your BIOS. The BIOS needs to incorporate the fix "The system cannot boot from a hard disk drive with partition ID of n5h where n is 1 or greater".
Table 2.4: ThinkPad BIOS Versions with Known Bug
|Model Number||BIOS Version That Fixes The Bug|
|A21m (except Sxx models)||1.02 (KXET24WW)|
|A22m (except Sxx models)||1.02 (KXET24WW)|
Acer Laptop with Known Bug
set hint.hpet.0.allowed_irqs="0x400000" boot
And once again in the loader to boot the install, then after install has finished, edit /boot/loader.conf to add the following:
Starting in PC-BSD 9.0-RC1, support has been added for installing directly to Mac OS X BootCamp partitions.
First, you can install an OS X boot manager, such as rEFIt. This step is optional as it requires either a dedicated partition or it installs into your OS X partition and takes over the boot process.
After creating the BootCamp partition, boot from the PC-BSD install media and proceed with a normal installation. When you get to the disk selection screen, be sure to select the ada0p3: linux-data partition for installation. After installation, reboot and select BSD from the rEFIt (or an alternate) boot menu to boot into the new PC-BSD installation.
Starting in PC-BSD 9.0, automatic detection of USB-based touch screen devices has been added. During the display wizard phase, if your touch-screen is auto-detected, the necessary flags will be added to /etc/X11/xorg.conf automatically. If your display is USB and is NOT auto-detected, please send the output of usbconfig and your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file to the PC-BSD testing mailing list.
Bug in incorrect reporting for some batteries: http://osdir.com/ml/freebsd-bugs/2011-09/msg00170.html
apropos acpi to get names of man pages specific to laptop vendors