Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm searching for an OpenBSD bootable image that I can install on SSD to run pf on. I've found these images for m0n0wall and pfSense but not for OpenBSD alone.

Can somebody link me to an image with instructions on how to install it directly to a SSD?

Thanks in advance.

share|improve this question
What does the fact that you're installing on an SSD have to do with this question? – EEAA Jul 5 '11 at 16:40
Did you mean install to flash drive rather than install to SSD? – Michael Lowman Jul 5 '11 at 16:50
PXEBoot seems like a good way to do it. – Tom O'Connor Jul 5 '11 at 17:16
Well there are multiple downloads, and I am not sure which one to grab. I believe that the only way to install to an SSD is by downloading an image file, but not sure which one to install that is bootable, since I do not have a CD Drive, or any other method of installing onto this box. This might be a dumb question, but im a router guy, and not used to working with Server software, or hardware. – Zen Master Jul 5 '11 at 17:18
From my limited understanding, I believe that this is a SATADOM 4GB SSD flash drive – Zen Master Jul 5 '11 at 17:24

This web page at looks to be offering what you're looking for. You'll need to write the image to a USB drive, boot from USB, then install to your DOM (ssd). Use method 2 if you don't have another BSD box laying around.

share|improve this answer

First go to the download area of openbsd (example : you'll need two files :

  • pxeboot
  • bsd.rd (rd stands for ramdisk)

With these two files,you need to setup a pxe boot environment.

Next you need to set up a DHCP server that recognize the MAC address of the card and set the option filename and next-server.

Here is a example for a linux dhcpd :

host soekris {

          hardware ethernet 00:00:AB:CD:EF:1c;
          filename "pxeboot";


Where your nextserver is a tftp server serving the files /pxeboot and /bsd.rd

On Windows I use the excellent tftpd32d (

You need to activate only the TFTP option and set the directory to the one containing both of your files and start it.

Now boot your machine with PXE enabled. Make sure your dhcp daemon is serving the right address and the right information (check for DHCPACK in the logs)

The filename option will instructs your machine to load and run the pxeboot which is the first stage (somewhat equivalent to grub). Then, at the prompt, you may wait or just enter bsd.rd. This file will be downloaded from the TFTP server also and will starts the installation procedure.

You may also consult the official documentation at

and look for the section "Creating a PXE network bootable setup using OpenBSD or other Un*x-like system:"

share|improve this answer

if your doing this multiple times, pxe booting is easiest.

if its only a couple times, just mount your flash drive on another machine as the root in a virtual machine. for example, if your using qemu/kvm on linux and the flash drive shows up as /dev/sdc

kvm -drive file=/dev/sdc,if=virtio,cache=none -cdrom /path/to/install55.iso -boot d

youll have to do this as root for raw access to /dev/sdc. also, dont worry about virtio. it works fine in openbsd and the install will still work if the drive is ide, sata, scsi or whatever. ive even done it with drives that boot from usb on soekris.

share|improve this answer

The Atom processor is supported according to the OpenBSD i386 platform web page. You will have to verify the rest of the devices on the board.

I recommend trying a regular install of OpenBSD for both testing as well as ongoing operation. Avoid the other "image" options out there if you want support from the OpenBSD developers and user community.

Installation to SSD should not be any different from installation to a hard drive. Read the installation guide within the FAQ for detailed instructions. The trick for you is getting the board to boot. Provided the BIOS supports it, you could try booting and installing from an external USB CD-ROM using the install media (Installation Guide section 4.3) you've purchased or downloaded. The cd49.iso file is what you want to download from the i386 directory of any official mirror server.

If an external CD-ROM is absolutely not an option, PXE booting is your best alternative. However, this one takes a little leg work to setup DHCP, TFTP, etc.

Best regards!

share|improve this answer

Most of the ready-baked bootable OpenBSD images that I'm familiar with are (or were) geared towards embedded single board computers such as the Soekris and Alix devices. The primary objective was to pare down the operating system to fit onto smaller flash cards.

These days, now that flash storage devices have gotten larger, most people just install the entire OpenBSD operating system directly onto the flash media.

I can think of two main installation options for your situation:

  1. PXE-boot network install.
  2. Direct install to the flash/SSD drive from another computer.

The least complicated by far is the direct install method.

Here's what I would suggest. Connect the SSD to an internet connected computer. Boot that computer with the OpenBSD installer cd-rom. Install OpenBSD onto the recently connected SSD drive.

After the installation, modify the /etc/fstab file as necessary. You can do this manually at the end of the install before rebooting. Or you can boot to the install disk again and select shell, mount the newly installed filesystem, and modify with the sed command. Usually this means changing all the /dev/wd1x entries to /dev/wd0x for example.

Remove the SSD drive and insert into the destination machine. Try to boot it up. If there are problems booting, it's usually because the /etc/fstab entries are incorrect. Check the dmesg output as the kernel boots to see what the destination machines hard drive devices are detected as. They should be either sd0 or wd0.

Good luck!

share|improve this answer

PXE boot an OpenBSD kernel is simple; PXE installing OpenBSD is a bit more complex.

You can PXE install the last OpenBSD install55.iso with Serva (I'm related to Serva development) or with some other PXE server following Serva instructions

See here for full details and requirements:

When the environment is set you can see here the step-by-step procedure from the PXE client boot until the install is finished.

OpenBSD amd64 install step-by-step considering OpenBSD_55_amd64 as head directory:  
From Serva repository ( IP ) i.e.

(I)nstall, (U)pgrade, (A)utoinstall or (S)hell? I
Choose your keyboard layout ('?' or 'L' for list) [default]     
System hostname? (short form, e.g. 'foo') foo
Available network interfaces are: vic0 vlan0.
Which network interface do you wish to configure? (or 'done') [vic0]    
IPv4 address for vic0? (or 'dhcp' or 'none') [dhcp]
IPv6 address for vic0? (or 'rtsol' or 'none') [none]
Available network interfaces are: vic0 vlan0.
Which network interface do you wish to configure? (or 'done') [done]
Password for root account? (will not echo) ****
Password for root account? (again) ****
Start sshd(8) by default? [yes]
Start ntpd(8) by default? [no]
Do you expect to run the X Window System? [yes]
Do you want the X Window System to be started by xdm(1)? [no]
Change the default console to com0? [no]
Setup a user? (enter a lower-case loginname, or 'no') [no]
What timezone are you in? ('?' for list) [Europe/London]
Available disks are: sd0.
Which disk is the root disk? ('?' for details) [sd0]
Use DUIDs rather than device names in fstab? [yes]
Use (W)hole disk, use the (O)penBSD area, or (E)dit the MBR? [Whole]
Use (A)uto layout, (E)dit auto layout, or create (C)ustom layout? [a]

Let's install the sets!
Location of sets? (cd disk ftp http or 'done') [http]
HTTP/FTP proxy URL? (e.g. 'http://proxy:8080', or 'none') [none]
Server? (hostname, list#, 'done' or '?') []
Server directory? [pub/OpenBSD/5.5/i386] OpenBSD_55_amd64/5.5/amd64
Select sets by entering a setname ... 
                                  ... [done]
Directory does not contain SHA256.sig. Continue without verification? [no] yes
Installing ...
Installing ...
Location of sets? (cd disk ftp http or 'done') [done]
CONGRATULATIONS! your OpenBSD install has been successfully completed!
To boot the new system, enter 'reboot' at the command prompt.
share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.