I'm new to this list, and I'm not a Free-BSD wizard by any means, but for some time we've been using FreeBSD to burning new systems and to test systems for stability issues. Below is the procedure we've been using. One problem we seem to be having now is that if we run top while the various makes are running, we don't appear to be filling the RAM, so I'm looking for a way to stress the RAM more completely. If people would like to take a look at the procedure below and comment on it, I'd really appreciate it. Using this system has allowed be to find problems quickly that other diagnostic procedures take days to find.


1)Download FreeBSD 5.1 (I don't know if this is the best version, since 4.8 is the current "stable" release, but that's what I'm using. I downloaded the large first CD, but I've been told I only need the mini, so I'm downloading that now and am switching to that. You will need more than one computer to test this on, because I have gotten corrupted ISOs a couple of times on FreeBSD downloads, so you need more than one computer to check to see if it's an ISO issue, a bad CD, or a probem with the computer.)
2)Install FreeBSD - this part is simple:
a)Boot with the CD in the drive.
b)Choose Custom
c)Choose Partition (if it gives you a warning about Geometry, hit Ok - I haven't seen this cause a problem, and it appears to be something about some hard drives that FreeBSD doesn't like.)
d)Press (A)ll
e)Press (Q)uit
f)Hit Enter on BootMgr
g)Choose Label
h)Press (A)ll
i)Press (Q)uit
j)Choose Distributions
k)Press Space on All
l)Hit Yes on ports
n)Choose Media
o)Choose CD/DVD
p)Choose Commit
q)Hit Yes to start

Depending on the speed of the system, this can take awhile. If it fails in this step, then the hard drive is bad, the CD Drive is bad, the CD is bad, or there is a cable or connection problem. I keep two CDs with known good ISO burns so I can check if it's a CD issue.

When it's done, say No to going back and checking setup.

Let the machine reboot (remember to remove the CD - I find FreeBSD won't let the drive door open until the system has started the reboot, so timings an issue.)
2)Configure FreeBSD
a)Login as root (no password)
b)Connect your NIC to your router.
c)Type sysinstall to configure DHCP
d)Go to configure
e)Choose Network
f)Select the NIC
g)Say No to IPV6
h)Say Yes to DHCP
i)Give a host and domain name, tab to OK and hit enter.
j)Exit Sysinstall

At this point, you should be able to ping a site.

3)Get cvsup
a)Type sysinstall (perhaps you can do this step without exiting sysinstall in the above step, but I like to go out and do a ping to be sure things are working.)
b)Choose Configure
c)Choose Packages
d)Choose FTP
e)Choose Site (I use Primary)
f)Click Yes to the Network question
g)Choose Net
h)Choose cvs-without-gui
i)Choose Install
j)Choose Ok
m)type shutdown -h now to restart

4)Running cvsup
a)Login as root
b)cd /usr/local/bin
c)cvsup -h cvsup5.freebsd.org /usr/share/examples/cvsup/ports-supfile
Let that run (about 10-15 minutes in my experience.)
d)type shutdown -h now to restart (I've no idea if this is necessary, but coming from the Windows world, I reboot after most installs.) :)

5)Running the makes
a)cd /usr/src
b)make world; make world; make world; make world; make world (my idea here is to run make world and make on XFree86 concurrently, thus stressing the system further - I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not, but I'm sure someone will correct me.)
c)cd /usr/ports/x11-servers/XFree86-4-Servers
d)make (it will tell you it doesn't have all the files, and will download the ones it needs - this takes less than five minutes on my system. Then the make will run - this is a long make, and will probably take four or five hours.)
d)cd /usr/ports/x11/kde3
e)make (it will tell you it doesn't have all the files, and will download the ones it needs - this takes less than five minutes on my system. Then the make will run - this is a long make, and will probably take four or five hours.)

At this point, you have run makes on the world, XFree86, and kde3. Assuming you have gotten no signal [number] errors, you're hardware is probably fine. If it fails with a code 1 or code 2, then it's probably software, and you need to either reinstall or redownload, or use a different version or something. :)

If you want to test the system under more stress, I believe you can do the following:
1)login as root
2)cd /usr/src
3)make world; make world; make world; make world; make world; make world; make world; make world (I recommend multiple make worlds, as I have seen failures on the second or third make world, even after the first passed. You can run as many of these as you like, they take less time than the makes below, and the idea is to have the both running simultaneously - so you probably want four make worlds for the XFree86, and another 4 for the kde3.)
3)Press Alt-F2 (takes you to console 2)
4)login as root
5)cd /usr/ports/x11-servers/XFree86-4-Servers
6)make; cd /usr/ports/x11/kde3; make (this should run a make of XFree86, then change dirs, and run a make of KD3. My idea here is to run the XFree86 make and follow it immediately with the kde3 make without needing me. The make worlds will hopefully add to the system stress level.

At this point, the system has now survived simultaneous makes of the world, XFree86, and kde3. It should be stable. But I do a second step. Now that I know the system is stable at the proper speed, I overclock the FSB by 5% and move the RAM into more agressive timings, and then rerun the above tests. If these pass, I reset the system to normal settings and figure I have a stable system.

This tests the power supply, motherboard, CPU, RAM, hard drive (not completely of course), CDROM, and NIC. So any failures that crop up after this are probably due to video or the windows software issues.

Please feel free to critique these steps and point out what I'm doing wrong - I'm sure it could be improved a lot.

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