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inst Guide -> wiki

    1: # Installing NetBSD: Preliminary considerations and preparations
    3: ## Preliminary considerations
    5: ### Dual booting
    7: It is possible to install NetBSD together with other operating systems on one 
    8: hard disk.
   10: If there is already an operating system on the hard disk, think about how you 
   11: can free some space for NetBSD; if NetBSD will share the disk with other 
   12: operating systems you will probably need to create a new partition (which you 
   13: will do with sysinst). Often times this will not be possible unless you resize 
   14: an existing partition.
   16: Unfortunately, it is not possible to resize an existing partition with sysinst, 
   17: but there are some commercial products (like Partition Magic) and some free 
   18: tools (GNU Parted, FIPS, pfdisk) available for this.
   20: You can also install NetBSD on a separate hard disk.
   22: *Advice*: Unless you are comfortable with setting up a partitioning scheme for 
   23: two or more operating systems, and unless you understand the risk of data loss 
   24: if you should make a mistake, it is recommended that you give NetBSD its own 
   25: hard disk. This removes the risk of damage to the existing operating system.
   27: ### NetBSD on emulation and virtualization
   29: It is possible to install and run NetBSD on top of other operating systems 
   30: without having to worry about partitioning. Emulators or virtualization 
   31: environments provide a quick and secure way to try out NetBSD. The host 
   32: operating system remains unchanged, and the risk of damaging important data is 
   33: minimized.
   35: Information about NetBSD as a Xen host and guest system is available on the 
   36: [NetBSD/xen web page](
   38: The [NetBSD on emulated hardware]( 
   39: web page provides detailed information about various emulators and the supported 
   40: NetBSD platforms. It should also be noted that NetBSD runs as a VMware guest.
   42: ## Install preparations
   44: ### The INSTALL document
   46: The first thing to do before installing NetBSD is to read the release 
   47: information and installation notes in one of the `INSTALL` files: this is the 
   48: official description of the installation procedure, with platform-specific 
   49: information and important details. It is available in HTML, PostScript, plain 
   50: text, and an enhanced text format to be used with more. These files can be found 
   51: in the root directory of the NetBSD release (on the install CD or on the FTP 
   52: server). For example (replacing `6.1` with your release number, and `port` with 
   53: your port):
   57: ### Partitions
   59: The terminology used by NetBSD for partitioning is different from the typical 
   60: DOS/Windows terminology; in fact, there are two partitioning schemes involved 
   61: when running NetBSD on a typical PC. NetBSD installs in one of the four primary 
   62: BIOS partitions (the partitions defined in the hard disk partition table).
   64: Within a BIOS partition (also called *slice*) NetBSD defines its BSD partitions 
   65: using a *disklabel*: these partitions can be seen only by NetBSD and are 
   66: identified by lowercase letters (starting with `a`). For example, wd0a refers to 
   67: the `a` partition of the first IDE disk (wd0) and sd0a refers to the `a` 
   68: partition of the first SCSI disk. In the following figure, there are two primary 
   69: BIOS partitions, one used by DOS and the other by NetBSD. NetBSD describes the 
   70: disk layout through the disklabel.
   72: ![Partitions](/guide/images/part.gif)
   74: *Note*: The meaning of partitions `c` and `d` is typical of the i386 port. On 
   75: most other ports, `c` represents the whole disk.
   77: *Note*: If NetBSD shares the hard disk with another operating system (like in 
   78: the previous example) you will want to install a *boot manager*, i.e., a program 
   79: which lets you choose which OS to start at boot time. sysinst can do this for 
   80: you and will ask if you want to install one. Unless you have specific reasons 
   81: not to, you should let sysinst perform this step.
   83: ### Hard disk space requirements
   85: The exact amount of space required for a given NetBSD installation varies 
   86: depending on the platform being used and which distribution sets are selected. 
   87: In general, if you have 1GB of free space on your hard drive, you will have more 
   88: than enough space for a full installation of the base system.
   90: ### Network settings
   92: If you plan to fetch distribution sets over the network (not necessary if you 
   93: downloaded a full-size install ISO) and do not use DHCP, write down your basic 
   94: network settings. You will need:
   96:  * Your IP address (example:
   97:  * the netmask (example:
   98:  * the IP address of your default gateway (example:
   99:  * the IP address of the DNS server you use (example:
  101: ### Backup your data and operating systems!
  103: Before you begin the installation, make sure that you have a reliable backup of 
  104: any operating systems and data on the used hard disk. Mistakes in partitioning 
  105: your hard disk can lead to data loss. Existing operating systems may become 
  106: unbootable. "Reliable backup" means that the backup and restore procedure is 
  107: tested and works flawlessly!
  109: ### Preparing the installation media
  111: The NetBSD installation system consists of two parts. The first part is the 
  112: installation kernel. This kernel contains the NetBSD install program sysinst and 
  113: it is booted from a CD (or DVD), memory card, USB flash drive, or floppy disk. 
  114: The sysinst program will prepare the disk: it separates the disk space into 
  115: partitions, makes the disk bootable and creates the necessary file systems.
  117: The second part of the install system is made up of the binary distribution 
  118: sets: the files of the NetBSD operating system. The installer needs to have 
  119: access to the distribution sets. sysinst will usually fetch these files from the 
  120: CD or DVD you burned, but it can also get them via FTP, NFS, or local 
  121: filesystem.
  123: The NetBSD Project provides complete install media for every supported hardware 
  124: architecture. This is usually in the form of bootable CD images (`.iso` files). 
  125: For example (replacing `6.1` with the release you want to install):
  129: *Note*: To improve net flow, and especially download speed, you should have a 
  130: look at the [list of mirrors]( and choose a local 
  131: server near you.
  133: #### Booting the install system from CD
  135: To use a bootable NetBSD install CD download the `iso` file for your hardware 
  136: architecture and burn it to a CD or DVD. You will need to handle this step 
  137: alone, as burning programs vary widely. Ensure that your computer is set up to 
  138: boot from CD-ROM before hard drives, insert the disc, and reboot the computer.
  140: #### Booting the install system from floppy
  142: If you need to create installation floppies, you need to copy floppy images to a 
  143: diskette. The floppy images are available on the NetBSD FTP servers or on a 
  144: NetBSD install CD. To perform this operation in DOS you can use the rawrite 
  145: program in the `i386/installation/misc` directory. For Windows, there's a 
  146: version in ``. The image files are `i386/installation/floppy/boot1.fs` 
  147: and `i386/installation/floppy/boot2.fs` for installation of a "normal" PC. The 
  148: other floppies that are available are described in more detail in the `INSTALL` 
  149: document.
  151: *Note*: Before you write the boot images to floppies, you should always check 
  152: that the floppies are good: this simple step is often overlooked, but can save 
  153: you a lot of trouble!
  155: The procedure to write floppies is:
  157:  1. Format the floppy.
  158:  2. Go to the `I386\INSTALLATION\FLOPPY` directory of the CD-ROM.
  159:  3. Run the **`..\MISC\RAWRITE`** program (or extract `..\MISC\RAWR32.ZIP` if 
  160:     you're on a Windows system, and run the RAWRITE32 program in that file). 
  161: 	Usually the `Source file`s are `BOOT1.FS` and `BOOT2.FS` and the 
  162: 	`Destination drive` is `A`:
  164: To create a boot floppy in a Unix environment, the
  165: [dd(1)](
  166: command can be used: For example:
  168:     # cd i386/installation/floppy
  169:     # dd if=boot.fs of=/dev/fd0a bs=36b
  171: *Note*: A 1440K floppy contains 1474560 bytes and is made up of 80 cylinders, 2 
  172: tracks, 18 sectors and 512 bytes per sector, i.e., 80 \* 2 \* 18 = 2880 blocks. 
  173: Thus `bs=36b` copies one cylinder (18 \* 2 blocks) at a time and repeats the 
  174: operation 80 times instead of 2880.
  176: ## Checklist
  178: This is the checklist about the things that should be clear and on-hand now:
  180:  * Available disk space
  181:  * Bootable medium with the install system
  182:  * CD/DVD or server with the distribution sets
  183:  * Your network information (only if you will be fetching distribution sets via 
  184:    the network and do not use DHCP)
  185:  * A working backup
  186:  * A printout of the INSTALL document

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