Writing an IMG File to Flash media

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Writing the Image on a Linux or BSD System

If you selected to download a "Boot only USB for network & internet installs" .img file, you can write the image file to a flash card or removable USB drive using the built-in dd command line utility on a BSD or Linux command system. On a FreeBSD system, the superuser can use this command to write the specified image in the current directory to the first plugged in USB device:

dd if=PCBSD8.1-x86-USB-bootonly.img of=/dev/da0 bs=5k
81920+0 records in
81920+0 records out
419430400 bytes transferred in 194.226042 secs (2159496 bytes/sec)

Note that a full image will take much longer to transfer:

dd if=PCBSD8.2-RC2-x86-USB.img of=/dev/da1 bs=5k
778240+0 records in
778240+0 records out
3984588800 bytes transferred in 2106.545470 secs (1891528 bytes/sec)

When using the dd command:

  • if= refers to the input file; in our case, the name of the file to be written
  • of= refers to the output file; in our case, the device name of the flash card or removable USB drive. You may have to increment the number in the name if it is not the first USB device. On Linux, use "/dev/sda" to refer to the first USB device. On a MAC OSX system, insert the USB device, use df to see the name of the device, unmount it, and use the raw name of the device. For example, if it shows as /dev/disk1s1, refer to /dev/rdisk1".
  • bs= refers to the block size

Writing the Image on a Windows System


To burn the .img file on a Windows system, you can use dd for windows, NB: in Vista/Win7 you may have to run the dd commands in administrator mode to access the device. Or alternatively win32-image-writer.

Once the image is written, you can boot from the removable device and proceed with the installation. If you are using the boot-only img file, you will also need to refer to the section on Installing PC-BSD Over a Network as this image requires an Internet connection to download the rest of the files needed to complete the installation of PC-BSD.

Note: if the system does not boot from the removable device, check the boot order in your system BIOS.