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This page describes the most standard manual installation of OpenIndiana using the interactive installer. For specific use-cases there are other advanced installation methods, described on other pages of this Wiki and blog posts around the Internet.

Table of Contents

Installing OpenIndiana

OpenIndiana runs on a PC (32 or 64-bit) with at least 768 megabytes (MB) of RAM (1 gigabyte (GB) recommended), and 4 gigabytes of available disk space (2 gigabytes for the server install). You can also use virtual machine software such as VirtualBox, Parallels or VMware.

To create a bootable USB device, you must use a USB storage device exactly 1 gigabyte (GB) or larger.
To create a live USB with Windows, use the OpenSolaris Live USB Creator.
To create a live USB with illumos, Solaris or OpenSolaris, you may use the usbcopy tool. (part of install/distribution-constructor  package)
To create a live USB on any Unix-like system (including OS X):

  1. Download both the standard live USB file
    1. For OpenIndiana images before OpenIndiana Hipster 2016.10 snapshot you should have used special header file:
      1. For USB images of 1GB or less (e.g. the Text Installer), use the 1G.header file.
      2. For USB images exceeding 1GB (e.g. the Live Installer), be sure to use the 2G.header file.
  2. Locate the path to your USB storage device.
    • This will typically be /dev/rdsk/c*t*d0p0 on illumos/Solaris (rmformat -l), /dev/sd* on Linux (fdisk -l), /dev/da* on FreeBSD (camcontrol devlist), or /dev/disk* on OS X (diskutil list).
    • Use the whole device, not including a partition or slice number (sda, not sda1; c0t0d0p0, not c0t0d0p1).
      • In illumos, the whole disk device name is depending on partition type; on x86, the whole disk name ends with p0, in case the GPT (EFI) partition, the whole disk device name ends with dX, on sparc, the disk has usually VTOC partition and whole disk device name usually ends with s2. Note, if on x86 MBR+VTOC is used, then the s2 device is addressing Solaris2 MBR partition, not whole disk.
    • Make sure you identify the correct storage device, as any data on the device will be erased.
  3. Desktops may automatically mount removable devices. Make sure no filesystems located on the device are mounted prior to the next step.
    • Select any desktop icons for the USB device and issue an Eject or Unmount command.
    • Use the mount command to list mounted filesystems. If any filesystems are located on the USB storage device, they must be unmounted.
    • Use umount <path> to unmount a filesystem, or rmumount <path> on illumos/Solaris, and diskutil unmountDisk <path> on OS X.
  4. Run the following command (as root or with appropriate privileges): dd if=<live USB image file> of=<path to raw USB storage device>
    1. Note, that for OpenIndiana images before 2016.10 you should have used special header file: cat <1G or 2G header> <live USB image file> | dd bs=1024k of=<path to raw USB storage device>
  • Boot your computer with the medium inserted. You may have to change the boot device order in your BIOS configuration.

    In VirtualBox 3.2 or later, "Use host I/O cache" must be enabled in the emulated storage controller used by the virtual machine to successfully boot OpenIndiana.

  • When you see a menu, press Enter to start OpenIndiana on your computer. As it runs, you will be prompted with a few questions.
  • You should eventually be presented with a desktop. You can use the Device Driver Utility to check if your hardware requires additional drivers.
  • Click on Install OpenIndiana to permanently install OpenIndiana on your computer.

If you do not see a menu after booting your computer with the DVD or USB device, and instead see some text and a "grub>" prompt, there may be an error in your copy of the installer, or it was created incorrectly.

If you see a "login:" prompt after selecting your keyboard and language and no desktop appears after several seconds, there may be a problem with the drivers for your graphics hardware. Please let us know if this happens. Include error messages you see on the console, and the output of the command svcs -xv and the contents of the file /var/log/Xorg.0.log if possible.

The login for the text session is username jack, password jack. The installer is graphical and requires X11, although it is possible to use it over a network with SSH X forwarding if you enable SSH. For administrative access, prepend your commands with pfexec.

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  1. Anonymous

    The OpenSolaris Live USB Creator is not working for me, it just doesn't write anything to my USB. Im using the oi-dev-151a-x86-20110912-1.usb file and Osol Live USB Creator 0.03

  2. Anonymous

    my usb stick was formatted with FAT32. i had to delete the partition for the USB utility to correctly image the stick.

  3. Anonymous


    wheres the sparc port of it? or openindiana is now a "intel (amd) only os?"?

  4. Anonymous

    works for me
    with fdisk delete all partition , leave empty space unlabeled.
    this cerate all >
    cat 1G.header <USB image file> | dd bs=1024k of=<path to raw USB storage device>
    on grub screen have very strange font

  5. Anonymous

    thanks, I just ran into the same thing, if you don't have fdisk (because you're on win 7)
    you can use diskpart

    type diskpart
    list disks
    select disk #
    list partition
    select partition #
    delete partition override

    should cover you.

    1. Anonymous

      I did

      select disk #
      clean (all)

      it wasn't letting me select a partition

  6. Anonymous

    I event deleted the partition on mys USB stick but no luck. Can someone help?

  7. Anonymous

    The usbcopy does not work with Solaris 10 - it is not able to detect the USB device. Looking at the source code it is not clear how it could ever detect a USB device. It uses the output from rmformat -l command, which looks like (vold disabled):
    rmformat -l
    1. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c0t1d0s2
    Physical Node: /pci@1f,0/ide@d/sd@1,0
    Connected Device: LITEON DVD-ROM LTD163 G3HA
    Device Type: <Unknown>
    2. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c6t0d0s2
    Physical Node: /pci@1f,0/usb@c,3/storage@2/disk@0,0
    Connected Device: SanDisk Cruzer Blade 1.00
    Device Type: Removable

    In order to parse the USB device from that data, the following nawk inline code is used inside the usbcopy script:

    #nawk script to o/p the details of plugged in USB drives
    rmformat 2>/dev/null | nawk 'BEGIN {
    FS = ":";
    node = "";
    devname = "";
    bus = "";
    size = 0;
    bustype = "USB";
    } {
    if (lnode == 1 && match($1, "Logical Node"))

    Unknown macro: { if (match(bus, bustype)) printf("%st%st%st%sn", physdev, node, size, devname); node = $2; }

    else {
    if (match($1, "Logical Node"))

    Unknown macro: { lnode = 1; node = $2; }

    else if (match($1, "Bus"))

    Unknown macro: { bus=$2 }

    else if (match($1, "Connected Device"))

    Unknown macro: { devname = $2; }

    else if (match($1, "Size"))

    Unknown macro: { size = $2; }

    else if (match($1, "Physical Node"))

    Unknown macro: { physdev=$2 }

    } END {
    if (lnode == 1)

    Unknown macro: { if (match(bus, bustype)) printf("%st%st%st%sn", physdev, node, size, devname); }

    }' >/tmp/ulst

    ==> the code looks for upper case USB, which does not exist in the data
    ==> the code tries to match the string 'Bus' which does not exist in the data
    ==> the "if (match(bus, bustype))" will always fail because bus will always be "", therefore the nawk script will never produce output ...

    Need to find time to change the usbcopy ... or missing something ?

    1. The script just wasn't intended for Solaris 10, where the USB architecture is different. In OI or Solaris 11 the rmformat -l output should look like:

      1. Logical Node: /dev/rdsk/c2t0d0p0
      Physical Node: /pci@0,0/pci1025,460@1a/hub@1/storage@6/disk@0,0
      Connected Device: Generic- Multi-Card 1.00
      Device Type: <Unknown>
      Bus: USB
      Size: <Unknown>
      Label: <Unknown>
      Access permissions: <Unknown>

      If you get it to work, you're welcome to submit a patch to the oi-dev mailing list though.

  8. Anonymous

    I was able to use usbcopy with Solaris 11 Express to create a USB based installer using oi-dev-151a-text-x86.usb. The installer ran fine going through all the install steps right through the end. However, the system does not boot off freshly installed hard disk. I either get a blank screen with the word 'GRUB' on the upper right hand corner of the screen. Or I get a disk boot failure error. I've tried to run the install multiple times. I know my hardware is good as I was able to install Solaris Express just fine on this system. Can someone please help me understand how to figure out what's going on ?

  9. Anonymous

    Useless utility does nothing...
    Boot just displays a GRUB ...
    get some life people and do something professional work!

  10. Anonymous

    lol .. Boot just displays a Grub .. you select to run (x86 or x64) Version of your choice and hit enter .. and there it goes ....

  11. Anonymous

    Okay, so after a lot of trouble it finally installed on a usb disk. Now it won't boot into 64-bit mode thus doesn't detect my 2 TB drives. How does this auto-pick work.

      1. Anonymous

        the post is gone

  12. Anonymous

    I tried to install as a dual boot system along XP. I chose to install on 212Gb of free unformatted space after the XP partition. it gave me a totally crazy solution, moving solaris to the front and resizing and moving my windows partitions.
    wish I had kept the osol 10 CD. this thing is way too buggy.

  13. Anonymous

    Hello I'm r3N0oV4.
    This post is to know if it is possible to installa OI server from Desktop DVD.

    Thank you for the great work done guys.


    1. Anonymous

      i think that only difference between Desktop and Server distributions is GUI on Desktop.
      So, if you install Desktop, you will have already Server installed (OK, maybe some more packages has to be added later, depending what function/role your server has to have/play).

      Basically, if you switch OFF X server, you will get Server.

      If i am wrong, i would like to know.
      Best regards
      Predrag Zecevic

      1. Anonymous

        Maybe you are right, but I prefer to start from a minimal installation when it is for servers.
        Is there a way to install server sets from the Desktop DVD?

        Thank you

        1. Anonymous

          Read here:

          Well, then download and install Server distro (text install).

          This is exactly why Server distro is separated.

          Best regards.
          Predrag ZEcevic

  14. Anonymous

    Try ultraiso for windows it is very reliable for writing to usb as compared to unetbootin or dd
    run with admin rights

  15. Anonymous

    On OSX try untetbootin.It works with fat32 only though.

  16. I tried the dvd with a usb disk drive with no success (the dvd works fine in an ide disk drive).

    The usbcopy script did not work straight away for me in solaris 11 (oracle), but some interpretation yielded partial success (though not a bootable usb stick).

    The concatenation of the "1G.header" file with the (dot)usb image, piped into dd produced a bootable usb for the atom netbook.

    Thanks for the pointers.

  17. The diskpart commands in comment #5 for Windows 7 worked for me - thanks.