Installing on a USB Flash drive?

Installing and upgrading FreeBSD.

Installing on a USB Flash drive?

Postby diskman » 16 Jun 2009, 01:43

Am thinking of installing FreeBSD 7.2 on a spare 4GB flash drive I have rolling around here to make a diskless BSD box. However, the BIOS on the PC does not support boot to USB. Is there a way I could load the kernel from a floppy/CD then finish booting to USB? Has this ever been done with FBSD?

Any ideas? Input?
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Postby SirDice » 16 Jun 2009, 07:18

Yes, you should be able to boot from a floppy and load the rest off a usb stick. I've done a similar thing in the past where the BIOS refused to boot of a relatively big harddisk (big for the BIOS standard of that time).
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Postby Oko » 16 Jun 2009, 18:11

That is a very interesting question. Even on OpenBSD which can be boot from the single floppy unlike FreeBSD it would be tricky. There are three different boot floppies for OpenBSD depending what kind of lets say i386 you want to boot. (there is a regular PC floppy, laptop floppy, and RAID floppy).

I would actually try something else. I am not sure if that can be done on FreeBSD though. OpenBSD provides something called cdbr which is the code for the first part of the boot process. It is only 2Kb. I would try to load that onto the floppy. cdbr will try to load bsd.rd (ram disk kernel) which contains about 5Mb of drivers necessary for honest boot. If you can actually specify that bsd.rd is on USB stick you will be in business.

As I said I am not sure if that can be done on FreeBSD but I am really curious to hear about your experience.
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Postby jenaniston » 04 Jan 2010, 16:13

diskman wrote: However, the BIOS on the PC does not support boot to USB. Is there a way I could load the kernel from a floppy/CD then finish booting to USB? Has this ever been done with FBSD?

Any ideas? Input?


try ploplinux on a CD iso -
it will then let you boot from USB even without bios support
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Postby jenaniston » 04 Jan 2010, 16:18

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