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Old 12-05-2008, 02:17 PM
a302b a302b is offline
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Default PC-BSD on USB drive?
I am looking for an OS I can run off a flash pen drive and carry around with me, so that I have "my" computer wherever I go. Kind of like a liveCD but with my own configuration, files, encryption, etc.

Does anyone know if this is possible/has been done with PC-BSD?

Thanks for your help!
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Old 12-05-2008, 10:02 PM
Protagonist Protagonist is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Originally Posted by a302b
I am looking for an OS I can run off a flash pen drive and carry around with me, so that I have "my" computer wherever I go. Kind of like a liveCD but with my own configuration, files, encryption, etc.

Does anyone know if this is possible/has been done with PC-BSD?

Thanks for your help!
As a matter of fact I have a working installation of PC-BSD on a flash drive and it is very easy to do. But make sure you spend the money for one of the higher speed flash drives. I did my first installtion on a standard 8gb SanDisk Cruzer and it took about three hours to install and ran so slowly as to be almost unuseable.

My next attempt was using a 16gb SanDisk Cruzer Contour Extreme and the installation only took about thirty minutes. It runs at a very acceoptable speed and I have tried it in several friends computers. Just remember to select the video configuration item, #7, when you boot so you can set the display for the computer you are using.

Anyway, to install to a flash drive just plug it into the computer and put the normal install medium in the drive. When the installer runs up and you get to the drive list the flash drive should be listed as a drive you can install to. Select it and just do the normal install. Make sure and have the installer write the boot record to the flash drive.

One thing I don't remember, though, is if I went into the BIOS and moved the flash drive into the boot column before installing. You will have to make sure it is listed as a bootable device before running off it, though. Also, make sure the flash drive is listed as the first boot device. On my system at least it didn't boot until I put it to the top of the list. With the fkash drive removed it does not appear in the list at all but will reappear at the top when I insert it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-06-2008, 01:02 AM
Ian_Robinson Ian_Robinson is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Bill -- That is a very helpful post.
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Old 12-06-2008, 08:17 PM
TerryP TerryP is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
I'd personally suggest something like SLAX Linux or comparable; but that's just my pov.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:41 PM
bamdadkhan bamdadkhan is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
sorry for digging up this (fairly) old topic, but i'm trying to do the exact same thing, and i get an error message that tells me the kernel cannot be loaded. i've read somewhere that the freebsd kernel doesn't accept usb drives as a root device, but now i'm confused and would like to try again. i haven't modified the boot order in the bios, just selected the pendrive (sandisk cruzer micro) from the boot selector menu (F11 on my computer). could this be the problem?

btw, i'm on an msi wind and would like to try an installed version of pc-bsd before installing it as a main os.

anyway, from what i've seen, pc-bsd rocks. :) i still can't belive it's free. i've grown up in a proprietary closed-source unix world, and now i'm just a few steps away from having a copy of my own. so please help me a bit. :)
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:01 PM
Ian_Robinson Ian_Robinson is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Obviously from Bill's original instructions, FreeBSD is installable on a USB device. Perhaps that advice you read was from an earlier version of FreeBSD.

I would not think that selecting a boot order from F11 is the problem, but you can go ahead and reset the bios boot order just in case that was the problem. That should not disrupt your regular booting for the times when you do not have a USB drive plugged in. But let me ask you this first . . .

Have you gone ahead and installed PCBSD on the USB stick already? You would need to install it to the USB stick BEFORE you attempt to make USB the boot device. Therefore --

1. Insert USB Stick.
2. Insert PCBSD Install CD or DVD.
3. Boot computer to the PCBSD Install CD/DVD.
4. When the install reaches the point where the target partition is selected, choose the USB stick which probably is identified as "/dev/da0s1" or "/dev/da1s2" or something similar because FreeBSD and PCBSD treat the USB as a SCSI device.

After the install is completed is when you want the boot process priority to begin with USB.

Ian Robinson
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:13 PM
bamdadkhan bamdadkhan is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Originally Posted by Ian_Robinson
(...)
I would not think that selecting a boot order from F11 is the problem, but you can go ahead and reset the bios boot order just in case that was the problem. That should not disrupt your regular booting for the times when you do not have a USB drive plugged in. But let me ask you this first . . .

Have you gone ahead and installed PCBSD on the USB stick already? You would need to install it to the USB stick BEFORE you attempt to make USB the boot device. Therefore --

1. Insert USB Stick.
2. Insert PCBSD Install CD or DVD.
3. Boot computer to the PCBSD Install CD/DVD.
4. When the install reaches the point where the target partition is selected, choose the USB stick which probably is identified as "/dev/da0s1" or "/dev/da1s2" or something similar because FreeBSD and PCBSD treat the USB as a SCSI device.

After the install is completed is when you want the boot process priority to begin with USB.
hi, and thanks for the reply. of course i have installed the os on the usb stick before attempting to boot from it. lol. :)

the only thing that differs from your instructions is that i have no cd-rom drive, so i had to dd the downloaded .img to another usb stick previously, boot from that, and then install.
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Old 06-15-2009, 10:30 PM
Ian_Robinson Ian_Robinson is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Well ... good job. I notice that Protagonist's post identifies that he too had a few booting problems at first, and they did sound like the experience you are having:

Protagonist said:
Quote:
One thing I don't remember, though, is if I went into the BIOS and moved the flash drive into the boot column before installing. You will have to make sure it is listed as a bootable device before running off it, though. Also, make sure the flash drive is listed as the first boot device. On my system at least it didn't boot until I put it to the top of the list.
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:07 PM
bamdadkhan bamdadkhan is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
well, i'll keep on trying then. if all else fails, i'll install it anyway on my hard drive and take my chances. :)

thanks.
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Old 06-16-2009, 02:46 AM
Protagonist Protagonist is offline
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Default Re: PC-BSD on USB drive?
Originally Posted by bamdadkhan
well, i'll keep on trying then. if all else fails, i'll install it anyway on my hard drive and take my chances.

thanks.
If you plan on booting from the BIOS boot menu make sure you install the boot loader on the USB drive. I moved the Flash drive to the head of the list. That way when the drive is inserted it appears first but if it is not plugged in it does not show up. And remember if you are planning on using it on another system choose #7 on the boot menu so you can configure the video. :-) If you need any more info on my setup you can email me a protagonistatcharterdotnet....
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