How to Install FreeBSD on the Vault

Last Updated On May 17, 2019
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FreeBSD is an open source Linux operating system that has been successfully installed on all of the Vault platforms. The FreeBSD home page is at This article will describe installation of a recent version.

To install a fresh instance of FreeBSD onto the Vault, there is a relatively straight forward process that is very similar to installing any operating system onto any computer.

  1. Obtain the installation image
  2. Download software to transfer the installation image to a USB drive
  3. Install the new image

There are a few steps along the way that I’ll highlight so as to make sure that the process is very clear

Note: If using the Vault FW1x, FW2x, or FW4x, be sure to use a USB stick and the USB keyboard with a plug that is relatively skinny.  The 2 USB ports on the Vault are very close to each other and if either the USB stick or the USB keyboard plug is too wide, you will not be able to plug both in at the same time, which will prevent you from doing the installation.

Obtain the Installation Image

The FreeBSD installation image can be downloaded from The same image can be used to install FreeBSD on any of the Vault platforms. It is important to choose the correct options when downloading the image.

Select “Download” from the FreeBSD main page.

Select “amd64” from the download page.

Select “memstick.img” from the list of images.

Your download should begin immediately and when it is completed you should have an image file (an example file name is: FreeBSD-11.1-RELEASE-amd64-memstick.img) downloaded that is ~800MB in size.

Download software to transfer the installation image to a USB drive

There are multiple applications to transfer the installation image to a USB drive. Protectli recommends “Rufus” for Windows and “Etcher” for the Mac. See this link for  detailed instructions on how to create a bootable USB drive using Rufus or Etcher.

Install the new image

Once the FreeBSD installation image is properly copied to the USB drive, it is ready to be installed on the Vault.

  • Verify that the Vault is powered down.
  • Verify that the VGA monitor or serial console is connected.
  • Verify that the USB keyboard is plugged in.
  • Verify an Ethernet connection is in the “WAN” port that is connected to a DHCP server.
  • Insert the USB install drive into the other USB port on the Vault.
  • While powering up the Vault, press “F11” key and hold it down until it boots to the BIOS and you see the boot options screen.
  • Select the USB drive to boot from.
  • Verify that the Vault boots to the FreeBSD installation
  • Select “Install” and answer prompts for “Keyboard Mapping” and “Hostname”
  • When prompted for system options, recommend selecting “base system debugging”, “additional documentation”, and “test suite”. Select options by pressing the space bar.
  • Configure networking to get files from the internet. Recommend “em0”, “IPv4”, and “DHCP”.
  • Select FreeBSD site for download
  • Select ZFS (Auto) for the filesystem
  • Select “Install”, “Stripe”, “ada0” (with space bar).
  • Continue the installation and when prompted set “Password”, “Timezone”, “Date”, and “Time”.
  • When prompted for “Services” and “Security”, recommend the defaults.
  • When prompted for “Users”, add additional users if desired.
  • Continue the installation and verify that it completes successfully.
  • Reboot the system and verify the it boots to FreeBSD

A good installation tutorial with screenshots can be found at