The process of starting a computer and loading the operating system is referred to as “the bootstrap process”, or simply “booting”. FreeBSD's boot process provides a great deal of flexibility in customizing what happens when you start the system, allowing you to select from different operating systems installed on the same computer, or even different versions of the same operating system or installed kernel.
This chapter details the configuration options you can set and how to customize the FreeBSD boot process. This includes everything that happens until the FreeBSD kernel has started, probed for devices, and started init(8). If you are not quite sure when this happens, it occurs when the text color changes from bright white to grey.
After reading this chapter, you will know:
What the components of the FreeBSD bootstrap system are, and how they interact.
The options you can give to the components in the FreeBSD bootstrap to control the boot process.
The basics of device.hints(5).
x86 Only: This chapter only describes the boot process for FreeBSD running on Intel x86 systems.