Reinstall pfSense with backed up .xml



  • Hi there,

    I used to run pfsense on a USB attached to a computer.
    This USB flash stick has failed so I have to reinstall pfsense on a new one.

    I have a backup .xml file that I took a while back in WebGUI.
    Instead of reinstalling pfSense and then restoring, I understand I can feed config.xml file during installation as per this Wiki: https://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Automatically_Restore_During_Install
    So if I understand correctly, I plug 3 USBs into my computer:

    USB1: pfSense image
    USB2: exFAT formatted. contains folder: \conf\config.xml. as per the Wiki above, this config.xml should be magically copied over to the new pfSense install.
    USB3: new USB where pfSense will live

    Do I have this right?

    Thanks,



  • Looks like it, but you might want to stick to FAT32 instead of exFAT just to be safe.  It may not matter at all but the doc does explicitly say DOS/FAT.


  • Netgate

    I don't know that I would go through that trouble for a one-off restore. If I had a custom baseline for 10+ units maybe.

    Why not just install, connect a laptop to LAN, http to 192.168.1.1, and restore the config?



  • @KOM:

    Looks like it, but you might want to stick to FAT32 instead of exFAT just to be safe.  It may not matter at all but the doc does explicitly say DOS/FAT.

    My USB stick is 64GB, i didnt get an option to format as FAT. And perhaps of this, this method did not work.

    @Derelict:

    I don't know that I would go through that trouble for a one-off restore. If I had a custom baseline for 10+ units maybe.

    Why not just install, connect a laptop to LAN, http to 192.168.1.1, and restore the config?

    I ended up doing exactly what you described. I would agree that one would need 3 USB devices and that is not always feasible. Perhaps this process could be refined further with the ability to place that config.xml file on the same installer USB stick.


  • Moderator

    "Perhaps this process could be refined further with the ability to place that config.xml file on the same installer USB stick."

    That would be nice, but would also require to mount the FreeBSD filesystem in your currently running OS where you create said stick. If I'm not mistaken, even the installer stick is partitioned with the freebsd filesystem & slices and e.g. Windows (and some linuxes) have a bit of a problem with reading and writing to that :)