Chapter2.Installing FreeBSD

Restructured, reorganized, and parts rewritten by Jim Mock.
Updated for bsdinstall by Gavin Atkinson and Warren Block.
Updated for root-on-ZFS by Allan Jude.


Beginning with FreeBSD9.0-RELEASE, FreeBSD provides an easy to use, text-based installation program named bsdinstall. This chapter describes how to install FreeBSD using bsdinstall.

In general, the installation instructions in this chapter are written for the i386™ and AMD64 architectures. Where applicable, instructions specific to other platforms will be listed. There may be minor differences between the installer and what is shown here, so use this chapter as a general guide rather than as a set of literal instructions.


Users who prefer to install FreeBSD using a graphical installer may be interested in pc-sysinstall, the installer used by the TrueOS Project. It can be used to install either a graphical desktop (TrueOS) or a command line version of FreeBSD. Refer to the TrueOS Users Handbook for details (

After reading this chapter, you will know:

  • The minimum hardware requirements and FreeBSD supported architectures.

  • How to create the FreeBSD installation media.

  • How to start bsdinstall.

  • The questions bsdinstall will ask, what they mean, and how to answer them.

  • How to troubleshoot a failed installation.

  • How to access a live version of FreeBSD before committing to an installation.

Before reading this chapter, you should:

  • Read the supported hardware list that shipped with the version of FreeBSD to be installed and verify that the system's hardware is supported.