FreeBSD upgrade to 11.2 unexpected reboots

If you’re upgrading your FreeBSD installation to 11.2-RELEASE please ensure that you disable custom kernel modules first. The usual suspects are the nvidia driver and the virtualbox kernel module.

In detail this means that you may have something like the following lines in your /boot/loader.conf:

vboxdrv_load="YES"
nvidia-modeset_load="YES"

During the upgrade process via freebsd-update you’ll be required to reboot and if you haven’t commented out these entries you won’t be able to boot your system again.

If this has already happened to you then don’t panic. Simply boot into the old release by switching to the old kernel in the boot loader (Usually by pressing 5 in the boot loader menu.).

Boot into the old release and disable the kernel modules. Afterwards reboot and continue the upgrade process. After it is finished rebuild the ports which provide the kernel modules (x11/nvidia-driver, emulators/virtualbox-ose-kmod).

Now you can enable the line in /boot/loader.conf again and reboot.

Please note that you may also need to disable entries in rc.conf which start the xorg server to prevent loading the kernel module during the upgrade process.

Jens Grassel Written by:

Solving problems and burning chrome for fun and profit.