HOWTO: Create FreeBSD USB bootable disk from a Mac

Al Naqba

New Member

Messages: 2

HOWTO: Create FreeBSD USB bootable disk from Mac
The purpose of this HOWTO is to teach inexperienced users on how to create a USB bootable disk from a Apple Macintosh computer.

You are running OSX Mountain Lion

Step 1:
We must download the distro. we are looking to install. Go to the following link:

Step 2:
Select 'i386' if the computer you are setting up FreeBSD on cannot support x64 bits, else it's recommended to select the 'amd64' distro. Once you have decided, select "ISO". If you don't know which one to choose, read up more here

Step 3:
Login in as 'Guest'

Step 4:
Copy the file with the 'memstick' keyword to your desktop. I will select the "FreeBSD-10.0-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img" and will use it throughout this demonstration.

Step 5:
Load up your terminal. If you don't know where it is, go to:
Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal

Step 6:
Insert the USB stick that you want to use. Note: All data on the disk will be deleted!

Step 7:
Type in the following in the terminal and look for the name of the USB device:
df -h
Step 8:
Once you found the device in the list, make a note of it because the next step we are going to unmount it (note: disk1s1 is the id of my USB, yours will vary, so make a note of what yours is):
sudo diskutil umount /dev/disk1s1
Step 9:
Now, I'm assuming you copied your "FreeBSD-10.0-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img" file to your desktop. In the terminal write the following:
Step 10:
Now we will be mounting the bootable disk to our USB stick:
sudo dd if="FreeBSD"-10.0-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img of="/dev/disk1s1" bs="10240"
You are now done! The terminal will look like it's hanged but don't worry! The USB is being written and will become available when the writing is done. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Good luck and best wishes with your FreeBSD journey! :beer
You have a type in step 9.
sudo dd if="FreeBSD-10.3-RELEASE-i386-memstick.img of="/dev/disk3s1" bs="10240"
Unmatched ".

You're missing a "
The line should look like:
sudo dd if="FreeBSD-10.3-RELEASE-i386-memstick.img" of="/dev/disk3s1" bs="10240"

Note the " after .img


New Member

Messages: 1

Hello and Happy Holidays to all. I am writing as a newbie to those interested in this HOWTO, with a small update [FreeBSD 11.1] if you are perhaps running macOS Sierra and would like to use amd64.

Make sure that you know which files you need and what your hardware requirements are before you get this far, you can find this info in the handbook. Please read it carefully, it can save you a lot of redundant search engine scrambling. Patience is key[: It took a bit of digging but here is what I came up with...

  1. Download file "FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img"
  2. Make sure the "FreeBSD..." file is located on your desktop
  3. Pop open your Terminal. If you don't know where it is: [Applications -> Utilities -> Terminal]
  4. Insert USB into slot; Preferably blank/previously backed up beforehand
  5. Look for USB on Terminal:
    diskutil list
    Run. Looks Like:
  6. Unmount the disk:
    diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk123
    Run. Something Like: Volumes Successfully Unmounted
  7. Find the path where your "FreeBSD" file is located
    find . -name 'FreeBSD'
    Looks Like:
  8. At this point you know the names of your USB and FreeBSD file and how to access them in the Terminal so that you are able to refer to them properly.
  9. Transfer and convert the file to the USB like so:
    sudo dd if=./Desktop/FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img of=/dev/disk123 bs=10240
  10. Terminal should ask for password. Enter password. Run.
At this point my USB started flashing! Success? So, wait about 10 minutes or so and you will get a Terminal response Looks Like:
75410+1 records in 75410+1 records out
bytes transferred and how many seconds it took.
Mine took 1054.705874 secs/17 mins. Once I got the response and nothing else popped up, I removed my USB from port.

*Query? is there a faster way to do this Perhaps compressed file transfer? Please let me know. Trying to resuscitate 6 "dead" laptops with alt OS.

This is what worked in my case. Let me know if it works out well for anyone else or if there is anything I can do to improve this mini update. GLHF!