FreeBSD 11 Development Desktop on Dell XPS13


With one exception the installation runs as normal, the one exception is when setting up the wireless interface. When the installation gets to the network configuration step, it will not find any interfaces. To make the interface available follow these steps:

You may need to press enter a few times to cycle through the network configuration steps to get "back" to the interface selection menu, where you should now have iwm as an option and can complete the installation normally.

When the installation is finished, just before rebooting, you will be given the choice to open a console in the new environment, say Yes to this and complete the following:

It is important that the commands contain TWO '>' signs! Adding only one will overwrite the loader.conf file and your system is likely to fail to boot.

Reboot the system and remember to remove the installation media.

Post-Installation Configuration

FreeBSD comes with sane defaults, but a number of improvements can be made to improve language and hardware support.

Language and Character Set Support

The default locale in FreeBSD is 'C', to change that to English language with UTF-8 encoding do the following:

To make English language with UTF-8 encoding the default, without changing default accounts in the system, change the standard login class. Find the following part of the file.


Insert TWO lines to make the text snippet look like this:


Close the editor and run the following command to create the precompiled version of the login.conf settings, which will be read by the system on startup.

Boot Options

There are a number of drivers for hardware in the XPS13 which are not loaded by default, adding these to /boot/loader.conf will load them at boot time. There are also a number of tweaks to kernel settings which can be added. Note that some drivers (modules) and tweaks which will be added elsewhere.

Edit /boot/loader.conf to match the content below. Be aware that the first four lines only apply if running on ZFS.

# Setup ZFS

# Load Wireless Interface Driver

# Set console

# Added userspace character device.

# Load AESNI (cryptography) support.

# Enable power save for the GPU

# Enable hardware performance monitor

# Disable power throttling to reduce heat at the expense of power.

# Temperature monitor

# Turn off terminal bell

Mail Aliases

Set an alias for system email.

Locate the below line.


Replace with your email address, save and close the file. Now run the following command to update the alias database.

Software Update

With the basic settings done it's time to make sure our operating system is up-to-date as well as bootstrapping the software manager pkg. These steps require a working internet connection.