This describes how to install NetBSD (i386/amd64) using a Memory Stick instead of a CD-ROM Drive.

Contents

  1. With an downloaded image
    1. Downloading the installation image
    2. Copying the installation image to the memory stick
    3. Installation process
  2. Build your own image
  3. Manual method
    1. Make the Memory Stick bootable
    2. Copy the installation sets to the Memory Stick
    3. The installation process
    4. Alternative Method

With an downloaded image

From NetBSD 5.1.2 on for the i386 and amd64 ports it is possible to download a memory stick image for installing instead of downloading and transforming a CD image.

This section describes in detail how to use this method. If you want to create an image yourself, please see below.

Downloading the installation image

Installation images are available on the NetBSD mirrors under the images/ directory, their filenames match the *install.img.gz pattern.

For example if we want to download NetBSD 6.0 for i386:

# ftp ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-6.0/images/NetBSD-6.0-i386-install.img.gz

Copying the installation image to the memory stick

To prepare the memory stick under a Unix system you can just use dd(1) . For example if the memory stick is recognized as sd0 (Warning: this will overwrite all the contents on your memory stick):

# gunzip NetBSD-6.0-i386-install.img.gz
# dd if=NetBSD-6.0-i386-install.img of=/dev/rsd0d

Whenever using dd(1), remember to set the blocksize by specifying the bs parameter, at least with a value of 4K, i.e. the call would end up with:

# dd if=NetBSD-6.0-i386-install.img of=/dev/rsd0d bs=4K

Installation process

After NetBSD is booted from the memory stick the installation process is usual (you can find an example in The NetBSD Guide). Just pay attention when choosing the installation media: if you want to install using the installation sets on the memory stick when choosing the installation media select g: local directory and then clear the base (by default it points to release/).

Build your own image

Use build.sh -U release install-image with your usual build settings from your src directory.

Carry on with the instructions after download above.

Manual method

Make the Memory Stick bootable

First, install the Master Boot Record (MBR):

# fdisk -i /dev/rsd0d

Then, create an fdisk partition for NetBSD:

# fdisk -u /dev/rsd0d
Disk: /dev/rsd0d
NetBSD disklabel disk geometry:
cylinders: 974, heads: 128, sectors/track: 8 (1024 sectors/cylinder)
total sectors: 997375
BIOS disk geometry:
cylinders: 974, heads: 128, sectors/track: 8 (1024 sectors/cylinder)
total sectors: 997375
Do you want to change our idea of what BIOS thinks? [n] n
Partition table:
0: Primary DOS with 32 bit FAT (sysid 11)
   start 8, size 997367 (487 MB, Cyls 0-973/127/8)
1: <UNUSED>
2: <UNUSED>
3: <UNUSED>
Bootselector disabled.
Which partition do you want to change?: [none] 0
The data for partition 0 is:
Primary DOS with 32 bit FAT (sysid 11)
   start 8, size 997367 (487 MB, Cyls 0-973/127/8)
sysid: [0..255 default: 11] 169
start: [0..974cyl default: 8, 0cyl, 0MB] (RETURN)
size: [0..974cyl default: 997367, 974cyl, 487MB]
bootmenu: [] (RETURN)
Partition table:
0: NetBSD (sysid 169)
   start 8, size 997367 (487 MB, Cyls 0-973/127/8)
1: <UNUSED>
2 :<UNUSED>
3: <UNUSED>
Bootselector disabled.
Which partition do you want to change?: [none] (RETURN)
We haven't written the MBR back to disk yet.  This is your last chance.
Partition table:
0: NetBSD (sysid 169)
   start 8, size 997367 (487 MB, Cyls 0-973/127/8)
1: <UNUSED>
2: <UNUSED>
3: <UNUSED>
Bootselector disabled.
Should we write new partition table? [n] y

After that, set the NetBSD partition active (it's partition Number 0):

# fdisk -a /dev/rsd0d
Disk: /dev/rsd0d
NetBSD disklabel disk geometry:
cylinders: 974, heads: 128, sectors/track: 8 (1024 sectors/cylinder)
total sectors: 997375
BIOS disk geometry:
cylinders: 974, heads: 128, sectors/track: 8 (1024 sectors/cylinder)
total sectors: 997375
Partition table:
0: NetBSD (sysid 169)
   start 8, size 997367 (487 MB, Cyls 0-973/127/8)
1: <UNUSED>
2: <UNUSED>
3: <UNUSED>
Bootselector disabled.
Do you want to change the active partition? [n] y
Choosing 4 will make no partition active.
active partition: [0..4 default: 4] 0
Are you happy with this choice? [n] y

Then, create the NetBSD disklabel and add the partitions "a" and "d":

# disklabel -i -I sd0
partition> a
Filesystem type [?] [MSDOS]: 4.2BSD
Start offset ('x' to start after partition 'x') [0.0078125c, 8s, 0.00390625M]: 63
Partition size ('$' for all remaining) [973.991c, 997367s, 486.996M]: $
partition> d
Filesystem type [?] [unused]: (RETURN)
Start offset ('x' to start after partition 'x') [0c, 0s, 0M]: (RETURN)
Partition size ('$' for all remaining) [973.999c, 997375s, 487M]: (RETURN)
partition> W
Label disk [n]? y
Label written
We haven't written the MBR back to disk yet.  This is your last chance.
Should we write new partition table? [n] y

Next, create a new NetBSD filesystem on partition sd0a:

# newfs /dev/rsd0a

Now, make the partition sd0a bootable:

# mkdir /stick
# mount /dev/sd0a /stick
# cp /usr/mdec/boot /stick
# umount /stick
# installboot -v -o timeout=1 /dev/rsd0a /usr/mdec/bootxx_ffsv1

Copy the installation sets to the Memory Stick

For the installation you need an installation kernel and the installation sets. To get them, fetch for example a NetBSD CD-image file from a local FTP-Mirror 1:

$ cd /home/mark
$ ftp -a ftp://ftp.netbsd.org/pub/NetBSD/iso/4.0.1/i386cd-4.0.1.iso

Now mount the CD-image file:

$ su
# mkdir /image
# vnconfig -c vnd0 /home/mark/i386cd-4.0.1.iso
# mount_cd9660 /dev/vnd0d /image

And then, mount the Memory Stick and copy the Install kernel and sets:

# mount /dev/sd0a /stick
# cp /image/i386/binary/kernel/netbsd-INSTALL.gz /stick/netbsd.gz
# cp -R /image/i386/binary/sets /stick/sets
# umount /stick
# rmdir /stick

Now you can unmount the CD-image:

# umount /image
# vnconfig -u vnd0
# rmdir /image

The Memory Stick is now ready to boot the NetBSD-Install system. Just reboot and change your BIOS to boot the USB Memory Stick.

The installation process

If the Memory Stick boots fine, proceed with the Installation as usual, but the selection of the Install-sets is not quite intuitive:

"Your disk is now ready for installing the kernel and the distributions sets [...]"
[...]
Install from
f: Unmounted fs

Press RETURN and the following screen appears:

"Enter the unmounted local device and directory on that device where the distribution is located. [...]"

Choose the following options:

a: Device             sd0a
b: File system        ffs
c: Base directory       
d: Set directory      /sets

Yes, "c: Base directory" is left empty, because we had copied the distribution .tgz files to the /sets directory on the Memory Stick (9.)

Now continue with the installation as usual. Good luck!

Alternative Method

An alternative setup method saves space on the Stick at the expense of sysinst automation and is therefore more advanced. This method skips the sysinst tool by copying the sets and the normal GENERIC Kernel instead of the install-Kernel.

Extract the sets from the harddisk directly on to the Memory stick (/mnt):

# tar xvfzp sets.tgz -C /mnt 

Extract the Kernel to the target root:

# tar xvfzp GENERIC-kernel.tgz -C /mnt

All you need to do is now to create a valid /etc/fstab and modify /etc/rc.conf to RC_CONFIGURED=yes on the target root (/mnt) and reboot. All fine tuning can be done, when you're logged in.

There is an error which I picked up on last year and has not been corrected yet. So I thought I should inform you in the setting "/sets" is not correct needs "/i386/binary/sets".

Comment by Michael in the wee hours of Sunday night, June 4th, 2012
If you prepare the memory stick with the sets copied to /sets (as is done in the "manual" section), they will be in /sets.
Comment by spz late Tuesday morning, December 18th, 2012

When booting 6.0.1 amd image on hp6300 the usb boots fine until it attempts to find the root partition. It apparently sees the usb on scsibus1 at umass1 and if I unplug it and plug it in it shows up as sd5.

I'll try to unplug the devices on scsibus0 - looks like sd plugins.

johnh...

Comment by John in the wee hours of Tuesday night, February 13th, 2013
Add a comment