To install FreeSurfer from tar files

1. Obtain a license key from or from a previous installation. If you are using a previous installation, the license file should be freesurfer/.license.

2. cd to the directory just above where you want FreeSurfer to be installed (the ParentDir). You will need about 1G of space on this disk partition.

3. Enter the command:

This will create a directory called freesurfer, in which will be the following files:

4. The default subjects directory (the directory in which your subjects' data will be placed) is freesurfer/subjects. You may wish set to up your installation differently, e.g. if you have a large external hard drive you want to use for subject data. See the [wiki:SetupConfiguration 'Setup and Configuration'] section for details. Regardless, cd into your subjects directory (the default is called 'subjects', located within the freesurfer installation directory) and enter the commands:

This will populate your subjects directory with 'average7', the sample data set 'bert', and the MINC atlas subject 'talairach'.

MINC installation

FreeSurfer uses some of the tools developed at the Montreal Neurological Institue (MNI) ( to align antomical volumes (using minctracc) and to compute the Talairach transform (using mritotal). You must have the MNI tools installed to be able to access this functionality through FreeSurfer.

Refer to the file for more information on building the MINC toolkit from the source code.