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Installing Proxmox VE 3 from a USB Thumb Drive

I recently decided to venture into the Proxmox virtualization world. Being a VCP, i’ve always used VMWare based virtualization for just about everything. I have played around with Xen before, but most all of my virtualization endevours have been purely hypervisor “bare-metal” based. When I found out the Proxmox seems to be the best of both worlds, with hypervisor and container based virtualization in one package, I was intrigued. So, I looked for a quick how-to on creating a bootable thumbdrive to install Proxmox (I don’t have a CD drive on the server, nor any of my servers now that I think about it). I’m using OSX as my primary OS, so I was happy to find that the .ISO could be copied to a USB thumbdrive with one simple command (works on OSX and Linux):

dd if=pve-cd.iso of=/dev/XYZ bs=1M

I plugged in an 8GB USB thumbdrive and needed to figure out what the /dev/ device name was, so I could format the command properly. So, google search it was. I felt pretty stupid when I found out that running this single command, would give me the info I needed:

$ mount

I ran mount and was given a nice output of all the drives mounted on my Macbook Pro.

Macbook:~ mike$ mount
/dev/disk0s2 on / (hfs, local, journaled)
/dev/disk4s1 on /UNTITLED (msdos, local)
devfs on /dev (devfs, local, nobrowse)
map -hosts on /net (autofs, nosuid, automounted, nobrowse)
map auto_home on /home (autofs, automounted, nobrowse)
/dev/disk3 on /Volumes/LaCie 1TB ThunderBolt (hfs, local, nodev, nosuid, journaled)

It was pretty obvious that the drive I was looking for was /dev/disk4s1, since it was the only FAT formatted drive I had. So I made a quick edit to the dd command and entered this into the terminal:

$ dd if=pve-cd.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1M

…and I was faced with:

$ dd if=pve-cd.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1M
dd: bs: illegal numeric value

What on earth? I thought to myself. After a google search, I found that OSX likes the bs=1M option at the end to look more like bs=1m (lower case m). So, I corrected the command and ran it again.

$ dd if=pve-cd.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1m

Bingo, that error was gone… But, only to be replaced by another…

$ dd if=pve-cd.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1m
dd: /dev/disk4s1: Permission denied

Then I thought, “hmmm, maybe I need to be root to do this.” It makes sense, right? So I ran this:

$ sudo dd if=proxmox-ve_3.4-3f2d890e-1.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1m
dd: /dev/disk4s1: Resource busy

And……. another error. So, back to Google I went. Come to find out, the partition needs to be unmounted before the drive can be written to. Being a total cheater, I opened Disk Utility and did a right click on the partition and select Unmount. Then, I ran the command again.

$ sudo dd if=proxmox-ve_3.4-3f2d890e-1.iso of=/dev/disk4s1 bs=1m
634+1 records in
634+1 records out
664866816 bytes transferred in 1581.492706 secs (420405 bytes/sec)

SUCCESS!!!!!!! So, if you are on OSX and want to install Proxmox from a thumb drive, use the command directly above, just change the /dev to the correct device on your system and make sure the correct ISO is specified. If you’re on linux, you can use the same command, just capitalize the “m” at the end.

You can download Proxmox here:

You can see Proxmox’s official wiki page on installing from thumb drive here:

And, finally, if you want to check out the Proxmox Wiki, which is loaded with great info, head over to:


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