Below you can find instructions for installing OpenBSD on a personal computer.

The example below covers installing OpendBSD 7.5 on a X220 ThinkPad laptop.


  • USB device
  • Ethernet connection (with active internet)
  • A cup of coffee

Before the Install

Make sure you have the latest OpenBSD image formatted on your USB device and that your computer/laptop is set to boot from USB via the BIOS.


  1. Boot from USB
  2. Choose Install
  3. Keyboard layout: us
  4. Hostname: x220 (or whatever you choose)
  5. Network: em0
  6. IPv4: autoconf
  7. IPv6: none
  8. Network interface: done
  9. Password for root
  10. Start sshd by default? yes
  11. X Window System start with xenodm? no
  12. Setup user? username (follow setup user steps)
  13. Allow root ssh login? no
  14. Timezone
  15. Which disk? Use internal (sd0 etc.)
  16. Encrypt root disk? no
  17. Use WHOLE disk
  18. Use AUTO layout
  19. Which disk to initialize: done
  20. Location of sets: http
  21. HTTP Proxy URL? none
  22. HTTP Server? 1 (Toronto)
  23. Confirm again
  24. Server directory? pub/OpenBSD/7.5/amd64
  25. Set names? done
  26. Drink some coffee while it verifies (depends on network speed)
  27. Location of sets? done
  28. Congrats!
  29. Reboot and remove USB device

First Boot Tweaks

User Permissions

Before we do anything, we should give our main user full access via doas. Login as root and run the following:

echo "permit nopass :wheel" >> /etc/doas.conf

Now you can logout or reboot the machine.

Running any of the commands might present you with a permissions error. If that happens, simply add doas to the start of every command.


Once your machine reboots, login as your created user. The next steps will help you ensure you have the latest firmware.

Simply run the command: fw_update


To enable wifi on your device, run the following command (filling in the proper details where need be)

ifconfig iwn0 up
ifconfig iwn0 scan
echo "join WIFI-NAME wpakey PASSPHRASE" >> /etc/hostname.iwn0
echo "dhcp" >> /etc/hostname.iwn0
echo "inet6 autoconf" >> /etc/hostname.iwn0
echo "up powersave" >> /etc/hostname.iwn0
dhclient iwn0

Take note of the iwn0, as this might differ on your machine. (You can check this by running ifconfig)

You might also need to run doas sh /etc/netstart after.

Performance Boost

This step is optional and targeted towards devices with batteries (obviously). Properly setup apmd:

rcctl enable apmd
rcctl set apmd flags -A
rcctl start apmd

Next Steps

Now that the base system is up and running, it is time to setup our desktop environment:

Setting up a Desktop Environment for OpenBSD →