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(Sorry for the inconvenience)

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[1]. Consider adding to this list if your model is not listed or the information for your model is out-of-date.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[2] 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. A BIOS setting of suspend state[3] S1 can lead to a system freeze. If your laptop is a ThinkPad, Thinkwiki[4] is an excellent source. For other types of laptops, try reading the SYSCTL VARIABLES section of man 4 acpi and check to see if there is an ACPI man page specific to your vendor by typing apropos acpi. The Tuning with sysctl(8)[5] 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. If the battery reading is incorrect, try the workaround in this PR[6].
  • Internal wireless: some chipsets do not have a FreeBSD driver yet. If you would like to try converting a Windows driver into a FreeBSD module, use the instructions in this Official PC-BSD® blog post[7].
  • Internal ATI or Radeon graphics: some chipsets will only support 2D graphics.
  • Synaptics: depending upon the hardware, you may or may not be able to disable the system's touchpad. This forum post[8] describes how to enable Synaptics and some of the sysctl options that this feature provides.
  • Optimus graphics: the current workaround is to disable Optimus in the BIOS, set the onboard Intel video to be dominant, or to change the graphics mode to discrete.

If you wish to test your laptop's hardware, use the Hardware Compatibility icon in the first screen of the installer before continuing with the installation.

If you would like to install PC-BSD® onto an Asus Eee, read the FreeBSD Eee page[9] first.

The FreeBSD Tuning Power Consumption page[10] has some tips for reducing power consumption.


ThinkPads with Known Bugs

The ThinkPad T420 may panic during install. If it does, go into the BIOS and set the video mode to "discrete" which should allow you to complete an installation.

Some Thinkpads have a BIOS bug that prevents them from booting from GPT labelled disks. If you are unable to boot into a new installation, restart the installer and go into Advanced Mode in the Disk Selection Screen. Make sure that the "Partition disk with GPT" box is unchecked. If it was checked previously, redo the installation with the box unchecked.

Acer Laptops with Known Bug

In models 2920z and 4920G, there is an issue with the BIOS settings for the HPET timer. The solution is to set a hardware hint[11].

Boot the installation media and select "7. Escape to the loader prompt" when you see the menu shown in Figure 2.2a.

Figure 2.2a: PC-BSD® Boot Menu

At the resulting prompt, type:

set hint.hpet.0.allowed_irqs="0x400000"                              

You should now be able to install PC-BSD®. Once the installer boots for the first time, you will need to repeat that command in order to boot into PC-BSD®. Once you are in PC-BSD®, you can make the hint permanent by carefully adding this line to /boot/loader.conf as the superuser:



Before starting, you should review the MacBook on FreeBSD Wiki[12].

Starting in PC-BSD® 9.0-RC1, support has been added for installing directly to Mac OS X BootCamp partitions. See details on how to create install media in Burning the Installation Media.

First, you can install an OS X boot manager, such as rEFIt[13]. 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.

Next you will need to make some free space to install into. You can use the MacBook's Boot Camp[14] utility to make a primary partition of at least 25 GB in size.

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.

Touch Screens

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 tusing the PC-BSD® Bug Reporting tool.


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