Installing 8.1-RELEASE from the memstick

Ian Smith smithi at
Mon Aug 2 17:07:27 UTC 2010

In freebsd-questions Digest, Vol 322, Issue 1, Message: 16
On Sun, 01 Aug 2010 17:29:37 -0400 bdsfbsd at wrote:

 > On Sat, 31 Jul 2010 05:03:07 -0400, <perryh at> wrote:
 > > When installing from the 8.1-RELEASE memstick, what is the correct
 > > selection for Installation Media?  I'm not finding any mention of
 > > memstick in the Handbook.

It could use a mention.  And the problem shown below could use a FAQ 
entry if it proves too hard to easily fix - it'll keep on coming up.

 > You want USB (assuming you did put the image on an actual memstick and not  
 > a CD or some other such oddity), but you may have tried that and had the  
 > some problem I was.
 > I just did a memstick install yesterday and it wouldn't let me select USB  
 > as the install media, it said not found or something, but stumbled on the  
 > simple fix:

It actually says, in sysinstall/media.c:

-		msgConfirm("No USB devices found!");

I think it might be helpful to those that this happens to, if it said:

+		msgConfirm("No USB devices found!\n"
+			"(try Options menu: Rescan devices)");

or did a once-off auto rescan if it fails the first time, but I haven't 
delved into the code deeply enough to know how hard that might be.

 > When it comes time to select the media, go to the 'View/Set various  
 > installation options' screen instead. Press up-arrow a couple times to get  
 > to 'Re-scan devices' and press the space bar. In my case, it happens so  
 > quick that it doesn't look like anything actually happens, but it did  
 > really do something. Press Q to go back to the install menu, and go ahead  
 > to 'Media' and pick USB. It should then say 'Using USB device: da0a'.

Indeed, or you can just up-arrow a bit further to the Media selection 
from there, straight after doing the Rescan devices.

You'll see the same issue if you boot from USB memstick and boot into 
sysinstall to run the Fixit shell; with some non-latest hardware and/or 
reportedly some brands of USB stick, sysinstall's initial device scan 
timing misses the da0 device that it just booted off, and this forced 
rescan becomes necessary.  My T23 only does USB 1.1, maybe a factor.

Randi said last year that this rescan could take a long time on older 
hardware, but on my '02 Thinkpad T23 (1133MHz P3-M) it takes less than a 
second; people with much slower machines are used to waiting a bit :)

My first 8.1 install from memstick (last night) actually failed to do 
anything useful, after slicing, labeling and choosing distributions it 
missed doing the newfs'ing .. maybe the device rescan reset something?

I'm not quite sure what happened, but on the second boot I visited the 
Options screen, Rescanned devices and selected USB Media first thing;
then the install went smoothly from there.

What I'd really like to see is a working recipe for making a bootable 
USB stick, 4GB or more, that sysinstall could use but with the full 
contents of the release DVD on it.  Preferably on a _sliced_ da0 so we
could install say 8.1 or 7.3, and/or i386 or amd64 ..

 > HTH,
 > Brian

cheers, Ian

[PS Randi: sorry, I meant to test and report on this when RC1 arrived, 
but my T23's charging circuit blew up (smelly smoke) and I've only just 
bought two more on ebay, one working well, so I'll help/test if I can]

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