Step 1 - Printing Some Helpful Documentation

Welcome to the MINIX 3 community. This page will help get you started. First, you will need either a PC or a virtual machine to run MINIX 3. While most of the installation procedure is the same, there are some diferences. If you are planning to install MINIX 3 on a hypervisor, please make a note of this page on virtual machines.

Before starting, print the installation guide. It will make the installation go more smoothly. The discussion below is just a brief summary so you have the big picture, but all the details are in the guide.

After completing the installation, you are going to have to administer your system, so it would be a good idea to get and print the short administrator's guide so you will have it when you need it.

Finally, only a small number of packages are installed in the base system, so you will surely want to install some packages after setting up. Consequently, you should also print the page about installing binary packages in advance. If you are planning to use X11, also print the Introduction to X page. Each of these is only one-page long. With these four printouts, you are set to go.

Step 2 - Preparing Your Disk

If you are going to run MINIX 3 on the bare hardware, you will need to free up a partition on one of your hard disks where MINIX 3 will be installed. If you don't have a free partition, you will have repartition your disk. Here a a tutorial on disk partitioning.

Step 3 - Getting the CD-ROM Image

Next, for installation either on the bare hardware or on a hypervisor, you will have to download the CD-ROM image file. The DOWNLOAD link above will give you a choice of versions. If this is your first time using MINIX 3, choose the most recent stable version rather than the developer snapshot. However, if you are a UNIX expert and want the latest and greatest version, the developer snapshot is for you although you are more likely to encounter some bugs.

The image files are all compressed using the bzip2 algorithm. Once you have the image file, you need to decompress it wih the bzip2, or 7-Zip, or similar program to get a .iso file.

Once you have the .iso file, the next step depends on whether you are using a hypervisor or not. If not, you need to burn the .iso image to a CD-ROM. If you are using a hypervisor, this step is optional. Note that CD-ROM burning programs always have an option for burning a saved image file rather than using a standard ISO 9660 file system. You must burn the .iso file as an image file. It is a bit-for-bit copy of what has to be on the CD-ROM.

Step 4 - Installing MINIX 3

Now you are ready to start the installation procedure. When installing to the bare computer, put the CD-ROM in the drive, close the door and shut the computer down. Now reboot it from the CD-ROM. You may have to hit F8 or some other key during the boot sequence to tell the BIOS that you want to boot from CD-ROM rather than from hard disk. When installing on a hypervisor, you can also insert the CD-ROM and boot from it but most hypervisors have an option to boot from an image file instead. If yours has this option, you can use the decompressed .iso file.

At this point, just follow the instructions on the screen. You will be asked several questions about your setup, Just answer them. It should go pretty smoothly. The whole installation can be completed in under 15 minutes.

Step 5 - Setting Up Your New System

After you have installed MINIX 3 and rebooted, as instructed, you now have a stripped-down, but working MINIX 3 system. At this point, it only works from the command line. One of the printouts you hopefully made in advance tells you what to do next. These steps include setting the root password, entering your time zone, and so on. Most likely you will want to install X Windows, compilers, and a lot of other software as the CD-ROM is not big enough to contain much software. Fortunately, installing packages is easy in MINIX 3 as it supports the NetBSD pkgsrc program. The printout you made earlier will tell you how to do this.

Step 6 - Learning More

At some point you may have questions about MINIX 3. If your questions are frequently asked, they might be in the FAQ. If your questions are not in the FAQ, look in the MINIX 3 wiki. If you still don't have answers, try asking your questions on the MINIX3 Google Newsgroup.

Step 7 - Joining the MINIX 3 Community

As you get more experienced, you may want to join the MINIX 3 community. Click on the COMMUNITY link above to learn more about it. Your help in writing or porting software is most welcome. Porting NetBSD software is the easiest route generally because the MINIX 3 user interface is closely patterned on NetBSD and the MINIX 3 package manager, pkgsrc, was ported from NetBSD. At some point you may have acquired enough knowledge to help other people. That would be the time to start contributing to the wiki.

Once you get really good, you may want to start browsing the git repository to track current developments.

Finally, we have some MINIX 3 merchandise (T-shirts, etc.) you might be interested in.

Good luck and have fun!