September 1st, 2004, 14:18
Has anyone here booted a *BSD system (especially FreeBSD) from an external USB Flash dongle/key/card? I have a small system that has the BIOS ability to boot from a USB device, but of course I have no specs. Before I go waste time it'd be real nice to know if this is (a) like falling off a log, or (b) like walking on water. :-)

Thanks*1E6 !

September 1st, 2004, 14:32
The closest thing I've done to this is booting a freebsd system off of a compact flash card attached to the computer via a USB compact flash reader. I got that to work just about a year ago, I'll scour my notebook and see if I can remember what I did. I do remember it was more like falling off of a log. Though this was also FBSD 4.7 or 4.8 if I remember correctly and not the 5.x branch.

I should also say that I boot OpenBSD firewalls from compact flash devices all the time though I don't think that's what you're talking about (as I use soekris hardware).

You're talking about booting a pc off of a flashcard right.

September 1st, 2004, 14:48
You're talking about booting a pc off of a flashcard right.
Correct. Those little memory stick thingies that plug right into the USB port. They are usually formatted with DOS FAT16, like a floppy.

I did find this web page just now ...

so I'm encouraged. Seems that some BIOSes recognize them like a floppy for booting, while others will accept a full hard-drive style layout with fdisk partitions etc.

September 1st, 2004, 16:01
Is there any software to make the system boot to the USB, like an app the size of a floppy? It would be nice to boot to Open or Free via jump drive for file recovery.

October 6th, 2004, 22:47
It seem like there a lot of people who want to do this, but noone can seem to manage it. Im working on booting linux (ug) off one at the moment, but it can only be done off a linux box, and one needs root to do it. And Im definitally not about to install linux to get this shit working. Anyone else had any luck? (btw, thanks bmw, that link was helpfull.)

October 7th, 2004, 02:14
Ok I redefined what I want a bit more. Id like a BSD distro thats able to boot directly from USB that can also boot of FAT. tricky huh? I dont think Im gonna be able to find it :-\