Complete and utter noob

  • I know my way around a computer. And a network is not foreign to me. But I am not sure where to start with PF Sense. I would like to secure my home computer. I only have one system, and it is currently hooked up to my ISP modem via wireless NIC.

    Can I use PF Sense to setup a firewall ON my current computer? Or do I need to have separate hardware? How does this work? I am so confused. Does PF Sense install to my actual computer HDD? Does I need to install PF Sense, then re-install my Windows OS? Do I need to install PF Sense to a separate hard drive from my Windows OS?

    I have been watching all videos on YouTube in regards to PFS. But I am still lost. I need a 'speak to me as if I am a child' explanation. Please someone, take a second and outline PFS in just a few steps.

    1. Make bootable flash drive with supplied PFS download.
    2. Boot off USB and install PFS to new, empty HDD.
    3. …...

    I am well aware that I am waaaaay over my head on this one. But once I get into it, I'll be able to figure it out. I just need a kick start.

    Thank you.

  • pfSense is an alternative OS on any x64 PC hardware. It's based on FreeBSD and will be the only install using that system. You could use it virtualized but that would completely outpace you for now.

    Get an older PC and install pfSense to it. Then make that your router.

    The rest is reading manuals and docs and testing it for yourself. It's less watching someone else doing something on YouTube (forget about that, that's not learning. It's just watching TV. Have you ever heard of someone becoming a moderate cook by watching someone else cooking something on TV? Me neither.)


    I need a 'speak to me as if I am a child' explanation.

    Better try it yourself! The learning curve might be steep but well worth it.

  • It runs on a separate computer, don't try and load it on your workstation.
    It's also an issue if you are connected wireless, because you would need an access point in addition.
    ISP Modem–--pfSense---AP---Workstation
    You are probably better off just sticking with the ISP modem at this point, IMO.

  • …which flattens the learning curve down to zero ... but a valid, different approach none the less.  ;)

  • Ok ok, I'm starting to get it. Thanks for taking the time to help out everyone. I know its annoying to deal with people like me. :)

    So in theory, my physical machine could access a virtual machine (installed on my physical machine) as the router? The virtual machine would use my physical NIC as its WAN port, and pass data to my Windows OS through a virtual network connection (LAN port)? If I in fact got that correct, how does Windows connect to a virtual network on a virtual machine?

    The only other computer I have right now is an old laptop. But it only has one wireless NIC. And its not a good idea to do any of this through wireless connections in the first place.  I'm planning to eliminate the wireless connections all together from my home network.

    I'll be removing my hard drive with my Windows OS and installing a new SSD to test and learn the setup and configuration. So no worries if I completely destroy things.

  • I've been researching all night long. I think I will install a Intel nic with two ports. In pfsense on virtual box, I'll set wan port to bridged and on lan set to host only. I can then plug my wireless access point into my lan port. Configure it with my lan settings. And I should be good. Well see. Thanks again for the help :)

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