Please help a newb: make a backup USB stick

  • Hello!  I recently learned about pfSense and saw right away that it would be perfect for my needs.

    Just last week I replaced our (my company's) old firewall with a pfSense firewall.  It is running on a small form factor Dell machine with the hard drive removed.  It is a Pentium D with 1GB of RAM.

    I have moved the config file to an external USB drive and it works perfectly.

    But what I want to do now is remove that USB drive and take it "off site" to keep in a safe place for disaster recovery purposes.

    How can I remove the USB stick and insert a different USB stick and resave the config file to that second USB stick?

    Or, do I just have to shut down the machine and take the USB stick to another computer and copy the file manually?


  • Anyone?

    keywords: "backup config"

    About the 10th entry.

    Or if you just want to backup/restore a config:
    Diagnostics –> "Backup/Restore"

  • @GruensFroeschli:

    About the 10th entry.

    Thank you for the reply! Do you mean this thread:,6998.msg54745.html#msg54745

    where the 2nd last post says

    Correct procedure:

    • format your USB-Stick with filesystem FAT/MSDOS
    • plug in your USB-Stick BEFORE you boot up with the livecd
    • the livecd will search on bootup on all available media for /conf/config.xml and use it if it finds one
    • as it doesn't find one on the empty stick it will bootup with a default config and offer option 98 (which only is there if a suitable media was found that could hold the config.xml)
    • run option 98 and assign your floppy or usbstick or cf-card in usb-reader or whatever you want to use
      - option 98 will disappear and you will never need it again! don't touch either the usb stick or that option again! all changes that you do in the webgui will be written to the config media instantly without the need to perform tasks from the console or whatever!
    • on next bootup the livecd will search on available media for /conf/config.xml and as it now finds one will use it. option 98 will remain hidden as you are already running from an external config media and changes will be written to it directly.

    which, in the part I bolded, says not to touch the USB stick.

    If that is the case then it sounds like shutdown and manual copy on another machine is the only way.  Or did I not find the post you were referencing?

  • You could just do the second thing he mentioned and go to Diagnostics > Backup/Restore and download the config to another USB key.

  • Well if you really want it on another USB-stick.

    1: I would download the config from an install with the 98 option.
    2: Shutdown, Remove the USB-stick and plug in the second USB-stick.
    3: Set up a dummy-install with the 98 option and restore on this install the downloaded config from before.

  • Thanks everyone.  I may not be asking my question very clearly. Essentially: is there a way to "mount" a second USB stick, backup the config from the first stick to the second stick, and then "umount" the second stick, all without shutting down the machine? (please forgive me, I am a complete *nix noob)

  • Yea, just go to the backup restore section on the web interface and download the configuration file. Once  you have that, just save that to a fat formatted usb key in a folder named conf with a filename of config.xml

    When pfSense is booting up, it will search for a config on removable media with that path and name (/conf/config.xml)

  • blak111 - :-[  I am so sorry - I did not understand that the first time you said it!  Thank you!  Apologies for being dense ;D

    Thanks everyone, for your answers and your patience!

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