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Back Up Important Data
Before installing any operating system, <emphasis>always</emphasis> backup all important data first. Do not store the backup on the system being installed. Instead, save the data to a removable disk such as a <acronym>USB</acronym> drive, another system on the network, or an online backup service. Test the backup before starting the installation to make sure it contains all of the needed files. Once the installer formats the system's disk, all data stored on that disk will be lost.
Decide Where to Install FreeBSD
If FreeBSD will be the only operating system installed, this step can be skipped. But if FreeBSD will share the disk with another operating system, decide which disk or partition will be used for FreeBSD.
In the i386 and amd64 architectures, disks can be divided into multiple partitions using one of two partitioning schemes. A traditional <firstterm>Master Boot Record</firstterm> (<acronym>MBR</acronym>) holds a partition table defining up to four <firstterm>primary partitions</firstterm>. For historical reasons, FreeBSD calls these primary partition <firstterm>slices</firstterm>. One of these primary partitions can be made into an <firstterm>extended partition</firstterm> containing multiple <firstterm>logical partitions</firstterm>. The <firstterm>GUID Partition Table</firstterm> (<acronym>GPT</acronym>) is a newer and simpler method of partitioning a disk. Common <acronym>GPT</acronym> implementations allow up to 128 partitions per disk, eliminating the need for logical partitions.
The FreeBSD boot loader requires either a primary or <acronym>GPT</acronym> partition. If all of the primary or <acronym>GPT</acronym> partitions are already in use, one must be freed for FreeBSD. To create a partition without deleting existing data, use a partition resizing tool to shrink an existing partition and create a new partition using the freed space.
A variety of free and commercial partition resizing tools are listed at <link xlink:href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_disk_partitioning_software">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_disk_partitioning_software</link>. <application>GParted Live</application> (<link xlink:href="http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php">http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php</link>) is a free live <acronym>CD</acronym> which includes the <application>GParted</application> partition editor. <application>GParted</application> is also included with many other Linux live <acronym>CD</acronym> distributions.
When used properly, disk shrinking utilities can safely create space for creating a new partition. Since the possibility of selecting the wrong partition exists, always backup any important data and verify the integrity of the backup before modifying disk partitions.
Disk partitions containing different operating systems make it possible to install multiple operating systems on one computer. An alternative is to use virtualization (<xref linkend="virtualization"/>) which allows multiple operating systems to run at the same time without modifying any disk partitions.
Collect Network Information
Some FreeBSD installation methods require a network connection in order to download the installation files. After any installation, the installer will offer to setup the system's network interfaces.
If the network has a <acronym>DHCP</acronym> server, it can be used to provide automatic network configuration. If <acronym>DHCP</acronym> is not available, the following network information for the system must be obtained from the local network administrator or Internet service provider:
Required Network Information
<acronym>IP</acronym> address
Subnet mask
<acronym>IP</acronym> address of default gateway
Domain name of the network
<acronym>IP</acronym> addresses of the network's <acronym>DNS</acronym> servers
Check for FreeBSD Errata
Although the FreeBSD Project strives to ensure that each release of FreeBSD is as stable as possible, bugs occasionally creep into the process. On very rare occasions those bugs affect the installation process. As these problems are discovered and fixed, they are noted in the FreeBSD Errata (<link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/releases/12.1R/errata.html">https://www.freebsd.org/releases/12.1R/errata.html</link>) on the FreeBSD web site. Check the errata before installing to make sure that there are no problems that might affect the installation.
Information and errata for all the releases can be found on the release information section of the FreeBSD web site (<link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/releases/index.html">https://www.freebsd.org/releases/index.html</link>).
Prepare the Installation Media
The FreeBSD installer is not an application that can be run from within another operating system. Instead, download a FreeBSD installation file, burn it to the media associated with its file type and size (<acronym>CD</acronym>, <acronym>DVD</acronym>, or <acronym>USB</acronym>), and boot the system to install from the inserted media.
FreeBSD installation files are available at <link xlink:href="@@URL_RELPREFIX@@/where.html#download">www.freebsd.org/where.html#download</link>. Each installation file's name includes the release version of FreeBSD, the architecture, and the type of file. For example, to install FreeBSD 12.1 on an amd64 system from a <acronym>DVD</acronym>, download <filename>FreeBSD-12.1-RELEASE-amd64-dvd1.iso</filename>, burn this file to a <acronym>DVD</acronym>, and boot the system with the <acronym>DVD</acronym> inserted.
Installation files are available in several formats. The formats vary depending on computer architecture and media type.
Additional installation files are included for computers that boot with <acronym>UEFI</acronym> (Unified Extensible Firmware Interface). The names of these files include the string <filename>uefi</filename>.
File types:
<literal>-bootonly.iso</literal>: This is the smallest installation file as it only contains the installer. A working Internet connection is required during installation as the installer will download the files it needs to complete the FreeBSD installation. This file should be burned to a <acronym>CD</acronym> using a <acronym>CD</acronym> burning application.
<literal>-disc1.iso</literal>: This file contains all of the files needed to install FreeBSD, its source, and the Ports Collection. It should be burned to a <acronym>CD</acronym> using a <acronym>CD</acronym> burning application.
<literal>-dvd1.iso</literal>: This file contains all of the files needed to install FreeBSD, its source, and the Ports Collection. It also contains a set of popular binary packages for installing a window manager and some applications so that a complete system can be installed from media without requiring a connection to the Internet. This file should be burned to a <acronym>DVD</acronym> using a <acronym>DVD</acronym> burning application.
<literal>-memstick.img</literal>: This file contains all of the files needed to install FreeBSD, its source, and the Ports Collection. It should be burned to a <acronym>USB</acronym> stick using the instructions below.

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Source string comment
(itstool) path: listitem/para
Flags
read-only
Source string location
book.translate.xml:3171
String age
a year ago
Source string age
a year ago
Translation file
books/handbook.pot, string 403