Installing from USB drive

knowtree at knowtree at
Sat Oct 4 01:09:45 UTC 2008

In general, is it possible to install FreeBSD from CD-ROM using a USB
plug-in drive?

More specifically, I am thinking about picking up a Fujitsu LifeBook P1620
convertable tablet PC. It does not have a built-in optical drive, but
Fujitsu does list two external USB drives, one a Dual-Layer DVD Writer, the
other a DVD/CD-RW combo drive. I submitted my question to their tech
support and am awaiting an answer, but in the meantime I thought I should
ask here, too.

Besides the obvious question of whether or not the P1620 will boot from a
USB optical drive, I wonder if the FreeBSD boot loader knows how to load
the installation kernal from a USB drive. Then there is the issue of making
this a dual boot system.

By the way, the T1010 has a built-in optical drive, and the T2010 has it in
the docking station. This makes the T1010 the best choice in terms of
compatibility, but I like the smaller size of the P1620 and rarely use an
optical drive. Too bad the P1620 is not like the Apple Air, which can use
an optical drive in another computer on the network to install OS X and

Gary Dunn
Open Slate Project
mailto:osp at

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