Chapter 13. The FreeBSD Booting Process

Table of Contents
13.1. Synopsis
13.2. FreeBSD Boot Process
13.3. Configuring Boot Time Splash Screens
13.4. Device Hints
13.5. Shutdown Sequence

13.1. Synopsis

The process of starting a computer and loading the operating system is referred to as the bootstrap process, or booting. FreeBSD's boot process provides a great deal of flexibility in customizing what happens when the system starts, including the ability to select from different operating systems installed on the same computer, different versions of the same operating system, or a different installed kernel.

This chapter details the configuration options that can be set. It demonstrates how to customize the FreeBSD boot process, including everything that happens until the FreeBSD kernel has started, probed for devices, and started init(8). This occurs when the text color of the boot messages changes from bright white to grey.

After reading this chapter, you will recognize:

  • The components of the FreeBSD bootstrap system and how they interact.

  • The options that can be passed to the components in the FreeBSD bootstrap in order to control the boot process.

  • How to configure a customized boot splash screen.

  • The basics of setting device hints.

  • How to boot into single- and multi-user mode and how to properly shut down a FreeBSD system.


This chapter only describes the boot process for FreeBSD running on x86 and amd64 systems.

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