How to install PC-BSD 7 in VMware Fusion

This tutorial will guide you every step of the way through installing PC-BSD 7 in VMware Fusion (version 2.0).

Note: Yes, I put this in the Linux category on Simple Help. PC-BSD is not a Linux distribution, but I don’t have a BSD/Unix category, and I’m not sure I’ll be doing enough BSD/Unix tutorials to justify one. Please accept my apologies in advance if this offends you.

  1. First, make sure you have VMware Fusion 2.0 installed on your Mac. You can download a 30 day trial if you don’t already own a copy.
  2. Second, download PC-BSD. I opted for the DVD “Complete Install + Optional Components”, so that’s the version used in this tutorial.
  3. Once you’ve downloaded PC-BSD, burn the .iso to a DVD. Alternately, you can just boot from the .iso in VMware, so you don’t need to ‘waste’ a DVD if you decide PC-BSD isn’t for you. This tutorial will show you how to start PC-BSD using both methods.
  4. Now, startup VMware Fusion. Click the New button to create a new Virtual Machine.
  5. If you’ve burned PC-BSD to a DVD, make sure the DVD is inserted into your DVD drive. If VMware doesn’t immediately recognize that you have a DVD in the drive (or you’re going to boot from the .iso), don’t worry. On the initial screen, click Continue, or if that’s unavailable, click Continue without disk.

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  7. Now VMware should recognize that the PCBSD DVD is in your DVD drive. If that’s the method you opted for (you’ve burned the image to a DVD) make sure Use operating system installation disk: is selected, and click Next. If you’re using the .iso file (didn’t burn it to DVD) select Use operating system installation disk image file:, select Other from the drop-down list, navigate to the PC-BSD .iso file, select it and click Open. Then click Next to continue.

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  9. Select Other as the Operating System and then FreeBSD as the Version. Click Next.

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  11. At this point, if you’re happy with the virtual hard drive size (8GB) and amount of memory allocated to PC-BSD (256MB by default), you’re done setting up VMware. You may want to remove the check mark from the Always open this virtual machine when VMware Fusion starts, particularly if you use VMware Fusion to run multiple operating systems. Click Finish and skip down to step #x below.

    If you’d like to change the default hard drive and/or memory sizes, click the Customize Settings button.

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  13. You’ll save the settings for this virtual machine, so give it a name (I left mine as the default, FreeBSD, but something like PC-BSD 7 would have been more accurate). Click Save.
  14. From here you can customize a number of the settings for this virtual machine.

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  16. Click the Processors & RAM button. I opted to increase the amount of RAM dedicated to PC-BSD from 256MB to 512MB. This change is entirely up to your personal preference. If you only have 1GB of RAM in your Mac, you may want to keep the default of 256. If you have 4GB+, you might want to go as high as 1GB. Click the Show All button to return to the main settings.

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  18. Click the Hard Disks button if you want to allocate more than 8GB of disk space to PC-BSD. When you’re done, close out of the settings window. From the Virtual Machine Library screen, click the “play” (start) button next to your PC-BSD entry.

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  20. PC-BSD will boot up.

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  22. On the Welcome to PC-BSD! screen, hit the 1 key on your keyboard, or just wait for the countdown to finish.

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  24. A bunch of text will fly by, and PC-BSD will set up a ramdisk and copy the setup image to it. This can take a minute or two.

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  26. Once the setup image has been copied, PC-BSD will run a check on your installer archive. Though you can skip this step, it’s not recommended. Again, this process can take a couple of minutes.

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  28. Finally, you’ll be presented with the first PC-BSD Installation screen. Select your System Language, Keyboard Layout and Timezone. Click Next.

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  30. Review the License Agreement and assuming you agree, place a check in the I agree box. Click Next.

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  32. On the Select installation choice screen, leave the defaults (Fresh Install, Desktop Edition and Install from CD/DVD/USB) selected. Yet again, click Next.

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  34. Now you’ll need to set the Administrative (root) password for PC-BSD. Enter it in the provided fields. You’ll also want to add your first user to PC-BSD. Enter the required info in each box, and then click the Add button.

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  36. You can add additional users here if you’d like (you can always add more once PC-BSD has been installed as well). If you want to auto-login with the user you just created, place a check in the Auto-login User (The first user listed will be logged on automatically) box. Click Next.

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  38. Select your virtual hard drive from the Detected Hard Drives list, place a check both the Use entire disk and Install the PC-BSD bootloader boxes. Remember – you’re installing PC-BSD to a virtual environment. This won’t erase or alter your OS X files in any way at all. And now, you guessed it, click Next.

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  40. Now select the not-required System Components you want to include with your PC-BSD installation. Just highlight the one(s) you want to include, and click the “down arrow” to move the software into the Selected Components box. Anything you don’t install now can always be added later. Click Next to continue.

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  42. Finally! It’s time for the installation. For the very last time, click Next.

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  44. Go grab yourself a cup of coffee or the beverage of your choice. PC-BSD doesn’t take that long to install, but it’s about as much fun to watch as paint drying.

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  46. After the installation has completed, VMware will eject your DVD (unless you installed from the .iso file directly) and reboot PC-BSD.

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  48. Again you’ll see a similar Welcome to PC-BSD! screen, and again, click the 1 key or just wait for the countdown to finish.

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  50. Before everything starts up, you’ll be asked what screen resolution, color depth and video driver ou want to use. Leave the defaults (they can be changed later) and click Apply.

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  52. Click Yes when asked if you want to keep the resolution.

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  54. PC-BSD will start up, and you’re done! Assuming your Mac is connected to the Internet, PC-BSD should be as well. Click around, explore for a while, and have fun!

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  56. While you’re using PC-BSD, or when you suspend/exit, you’ll probably be prompted to install VMware Tools. Though it’s not necessary, it does make working with PC-BSD and OS X a bit easier (you can seamlessly move your cursor from one OS to the other without having to click CMD + Apple Key etc).

  • Thanks for the tutorial, worked fine on my iMac with Leopard.

  • Bruce A

    You can now download a VMWare image with PC-BSD pre-installed directly from the PC-BSD website. It’s big (~2gb), and I wish they’d made a torrent of it, but it’s there and it’s free. Pretty sweet.

  • Gary Pengelly

    Thank you, what a great website.
    Some good info on how to get started on VM.

    I am going to try and learn BSD, and running it in VM on my mac is great.

    Best regards

  • diego

    hola soy nuevo en mac y creia que con vmware fusion podia ver mi particion de winxp que ya tengo hecha y trabajar sobre ellae n mi mac pero por lo que me da la impresion es que lo que hace es crear otro winxp mas es decir
    me quedaria con mac winxp y un winxp virtual esto es así verdad ? me gustaria que me comentaras si me equivoco porque estoy un poco perdido muchas gracias y magnifico trabajo