This document explains how to install MINIX 3.1.2.
A complete MINIX 3 installation requires a Pentium (or compatible) with at least
16-MB of RAM, 1 GB of free disk space, an IDE or USB CD-ROM,
and an IDE hard disk. A minimal installation (without the commands sources) requires
8 MB RAM and 50 MB of disk.
SCSI disks are not supported at present.
You can read the installation instructions on this Web page, but it is recommended that
you print them out and go through them step-by-step when doing an actual installation.
The instructions are available in both
If you already have the CD-ROM (e.g., from the book), you can skip steps 1 and
2 directly below, but it is wise to check the
to see if a newer version
If you want to run
on a simulator instead of native, see Part V first.
- Download the MINIX 3 CD-ROM image
Download the MINIX 3 CD-ROM image from the DOWNLOAD page.
If you do not have an IDE CD-ROM, be sure to get the USB CD-ROM image or the USB memory stick image.
- Create a bootable MINIX 3 CD-ROM
Decompress the downloaded file.
You will get a CD-ROM image file with extension .iso and this manual.
The .iso file is a bit-for-bit CD-ROM image.
Burn it to a CD-ROM to make a bootable CD-ROM.
If you are using Easy CD Creator 5, select "Record CD from CD image" from the File
menu and change the file type from .cif to .iso in the dialog box that
appears. Select the image file and click "Open." Then click "Start Recording."
If you are using Nero Express 5, choose "Disc Image or Saved Project" and
change the type to "Image Files," select the image file and click "Open."
Select your CD recorder and click on "Next."
If you are running Windows XP and do not have a CD-ROM burning program, take a look at
- Determine which Ethernet Chip you have
MINIX 3 supports several Ethernet chips for networking over LAN, ADSL, and
cable. These include Intel Pro/100, RealTek 8029 and 8139, AMD LANCE,
and several 3Com chips.
you will be asked which Ethernet chip you have, if any. Determine that now by
looking at your documentation. Alternatively, if you are using Windows, go to
the device manager as follows:
Windows 2000: Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager
Windows XP: Start > Control Panel > System > Hardware > Device Manager
System requires double clicking; the rest are single. Expand the + next to
"Network adapters" to see what you have. Write it down. If you do not have
a supported chip, you can still run MINIX 3, but without Ethernet.
- Partition your hard disk
You can boot the computer from your CD-ROM if
you like and
will start, but to do anything useful, you have to create a
partition for it on your hard disk.
But before partitioning, be sure to back up your data to an external medium
like CD-ROM or DVD as a safety precaution, just in case something goes wrong.
Your files are valuable; protect them.
Unless you are sure you are an expert on disk partitioning with much experience, it is strongly suggested that you
read the online tutorial on disk partitioning.
If you already know how to manage partitions, create a contiguous chunk of free
disk space of at least 200 MB, or if you want the sources, 1 GB.
If you do not know how to manage partitions but have a partitioning program
like Partition Magic, use it to create a region of free disk space.
Also make sure there is at least one primary partition (i.e.,
Master Boot Record slot) free.
The MINIX 3 setup script will guide you through creating a MINIX partition in the
free space, which can be on either the first or second IDE disk.
If you are running Windows 95, 98, ME, or 2000 and your disk consists of a single
FAT partition, you can use the
to reduce its size to leave room for MINIX.
In all other cases, please read the online tutorial cited above.
If your disk is larger than 128 GB, the
partition must fall entirely in the first 128 GB (due to the way
disk blocks are addressed).
WARNING: If you make a mistake during disk partitioning, you can lose all the data
on the disk, so be sure to back it up to CD-ROM or DVD before starting.
Disk partitioning requires great care, so proceed with caution.
By now you should have allocated some free space on your disk.
If you have not done so yet, please do it now unless there is an existing
partition you are willing to convert to MINIX 3.
- Boot from the CD-ROM
Insert the CD-ROM into your CD-ROM drive and boot the computer from it.
If you have 16 MB of RAM or more, choose "Regular;" if you have only 8 MB choose "small."
If the computer boots from the hard disk instead of the CD-ROM, boot again
and enter the BIOS setup program to change the order of boot devices,
putting the CD-ROM before the hard disk.
- Login as root
When the login prompt appears, login as root.
After a successful login as root, you will see the shell prompt (#).
At this point you are running fully-operational MINIX 3. If you type:
ls /usr/bin | more
you can see what software is available.
Hit space to scroll the list.
To see what program foo does, type:
The manual pages are also available at
- Start the setup script
To start the installation of MINIX 3 on the hard disk, type
After this and all other commands, be sure to type ENTER (RETURN).
When the installation script ends a screen with a colon, hit ENTER to
continue. If the screen suddenly goes blank, press CTRL-F3 to select
software scrolling (should only be needed on very old computers).
Note that CTRL-key means depress the CTRL key and while holding it down,
3. Installing to the Hard Disk
These steps correspond to the steps on the screen.
- Select keyboard type
When you are asked to select your national keyboard, do so.
This and other steps have a default choice, in square brackets.
If you agree with it, just hit ENTER. In most steps, the default is generally
a good choice for beginners.
The us-swap keyboard interchanges the CAPS LOCK and CTRL keys, as is conventional
on UNIX systems.
- Select your Ethernet chip
You will now be asked which of the available Ethernet drivers you want
installed (or none). Please choose one of the options.
- Basic minimal or full distribution?
If you are tight on disk space, select M for a minimal installation,
which includes all the binaries but only the system sources installed.
The minimal option does not install the sources of the commands.
50 MB is enough for a bare-bones system.
If you have 1 GB or more,
choose F for a full installation.
- Create or select a partition for MINIX 3
You will first be asked if you are an expert in MINIX 3 disk partitioning.
If so, you will be placed in the part program to give you full power to
edit the Master Boot Record (and enough rope to hang yourself).
If you are not an expert, press ENTER for the default action, which is an
automated step-by-step guide to formatting a disk partition for MINIX 3.
4.1: Select a disk to install MINIX 3
An IDE controller may have up to four disks. The setup script will now
look for each one. Just ignore any error messages.
When the drives are listed, select one. and confirm your choice.
If you have two hard disks and you decide to install
MINIX 3 to the second one and have trouble booting from it, please see
for the solution.
4.2: Select a disk region
Now choose a region to install MINIX 3 into. You have three choices:
(1) Select a free region
(2) Select a partition to overwrite
(3) Delete a partition to free up space and merge with adjacent free space
For choices (1) and (2), type the region number. For (3) type
then give the region number when asked.
This region will be overwritten and its previous contents lost forever.
4.3: Confirm your choices
You have now reached the point of no return. You will be asked if you want to
continue. If you do, the data in the selected region will be lost forever.
If you are sure, type:
and then ENTER. To exit the setup script without changing the
partition table, hit CTRL-C.
- Reinstall choice
If you chose an existing MINIX 3 partition, in this step you will be
offered a choice between a Full install, which erases everything in the
partition, and a Reinstall, which does not affect your existing /home
partition. This design means that you can put your personal files on
/home and reinstall a newer version of MINIX 3 when it is available
without losing your personal files.
- Select the size of /home
The selected partition will be divided into three subpartitions: root, /usr,
and /home. The latter is for your own personal files. Specify how much of the
partition should be set aside for your files.
You will be asked to confirm your choice.
- Select a block size
Disk block sizes of 1-KB, 2-KB, 4-KB, and 8-KB are supported, but
to use a size larger than 4-KB you have to change a constant and recompile
the system. If your memory is 16 MB or more, use the default (4 KB);
otherwise, use 1 KB.
- Wait for bad block detection
The setup script will now scan each partition for bad disk blocks. This will take
several minutes, possibly 10 minutes or more on a large partition.
Please be patient.
If you are absolutely certain there are no bad blocks, you can kill each scan
by hitting CTRL-C.
- Wait for files to be copied
When the scan finishes, files will be automatically copied from the CD-ROM to
the hard disk. Every file will be announced as it is copied.
When the copying is complete, MINIX 3 is installed.
Shut the system down by typing
Always stop MINIX 3
this way to avoid data loss as MINIX 3 keeps some files on
the RAM disk and only copies them back to the hard disk at shutdown time.
- Install packages
To start, boot your new MINIX 3 system.
For example, if you used controller 0, disk 0, partition 3, type
and log in as root. Under very rare conditions the drive number seen by the
BIOS (and used by the boot monitor) may not agree with the one used by
MINIX 3. Try the one announced by the setup script first.
The MINIX 3 distribution comes with a large number of software packages.
To install them, type
and choose one of the options, depending on whether you want to install
all the binaries, all the binaries and sources, or select the packages you want.
When you have finished installing packages, exit packman by choosing option 5.
If you have installed the X Windows package, you can start it now by typing
This section tells you how to test your installation, rebuild the system after
modifying it, and boot it later.
This is a good time to create a root password.
- Compile the test suite
To test MINIX 3, at the command prompt (#) type
and wait until it completes all 40 compilations.
Log out by typing CTRL-D,
- Run the test suite
To test the system, log in as bin (required) and type
to run the test programs. They should all run correctly but they can take
20 min on a fast machine and over an hour on a slow one.
Note: It is necessary to compile the test suite when running as root
but execute it as bin in order to see if the setuid bit works correctly.
- Rebuild the entire operating system
If all the tests work correctly, you can now rebuild the system.
Doing so is not necessary since it comes prebuilt, but
if you plan to modify the system, you will need to know how to rebuild it.
Besides, rebuilding the system is a good test to see if it works. Type:
to see the various options available. Now make a new bootable image by typing
time make image
You just rebuilt the operating system, including all the kernel and user-mode
parts. That did not take very long, did it?
If you have a legacy floppy disk drive, you can make a
bootable floppy for use later by inserting a formatted floppy and typing
When you are asked to complete the path, type:
This approach does not currently work with USB floppies since there is no
MINIX 3 USB floppy disk driver yet.
To update the boot image currently installed on the hard disk, type
- Shut down and reboot the new system
To boot the new system, first shut down by typing:
This command saves certain files and returns you to the
To get a summary of what the boot monitor can do, while in it, type:
For more details, see
You can now remove any CD-ROM or floppy disk and turn off the computer.
- Booting Tomorrow
If you have a legacy floppy disk drive, the simplest way to boot
inserting your new boot floppy and turning on the power. It takes only a few seconds.
Alternatively, boot from the MINIX 3 CD-ROM, login as bin and type:
to get back to the MINIX 3 boot monitor. Now type:
to boot from the operating system image file on
controller 0, driver 0, partition 0.
Of course, if you put
on drive 0 partition 1, use:
and so on.
A third possibility for booting is to make the
MINIX 3 partition the active one, and use the MINIX 3
boot monitor to start MINIX 3 or any other operating system.
Finally, a fourth option is for you to install a multiboot loader such as
LILO or GRUB (www.gnu.org/software/grub).
Then you can boot any of your operating systems easily.
Discussion of multiboot loaders is beyond the scope of this guide, but there
is some information on the subject at www.minix3.org/doc.
5. Using a Simulator
A completely different approach to running
is to run it
on top of another operating system instead of native on the bare
metal. Various virtual machines, simulators, and emulators are
available for this purpose. Some of the most popular ones are:
See the documentation for each of them. Running a program on a
simulator is similar to running it on the actual machine, so you
should go back to Part I and acquire the latest CD-ROM and continue