Installing 2.4.3 in mini pc using flashdisk into flashdisk in UEFI mode



  • Hi all,

    I’m new to pfsense. I just bought mini PC (like qotom but from a different manufacturer) and I want to use this as a router. I have downloaded pfsense 2.3.4 and put it into a flash disk. I bought the mini PC without harddisk, so I want to install pfsense into another flash disk.

    Yesterday I successfully boot the installer, choose auto, and installation run smoothly without any error. But when I try to boot the flash disk, the mini PC tell me that there is no OS in the boot media. I spend time yesterday try various way, even I try manual partition since I see that the auto partition didn’t create freebsd-boot (I thought this is might be the cause). Looks like doing partitioning the flash disk over and over in short amount of time breaking the flash cell, so now the flash disk is read-only …

    I also search this forum but can’t find any hint of the cause and solution.

    Today I curious and try again with another spare flash disk. I do manual partition, creating 512K freebsd-boot, and use the rest for freebsd-ufs. After installation, again the flash disk cannot boot.

    I choose EFI shell, and in it, I see that EFI partition in this flash disk is empty. So, I experimenting by copying EFI folder from installation flash disk to the flash disk with empty EFI partition. Guess what, the flash disk boot normally.

    So, I guess that the installation script in 2.4.3 didn’t fill the EFI partition with the EFI boot files. Is this a bug, or only happened if the installation target is also flash disk?

    Right now I’m just powering off the minipc. I will try again with the other flash disk, using auto, to see if the installer indeed didn’t copy EFI files into EFI partition.



  • Update:

    I have installed pfsense 2.4.3 into another flash drive.
    First, I choose auto installation. After reboot, as before disk is not bootable. I enter UEFI shell, but it cannot map the EFI partition. I boot again using installation flash drive. In installation screen, I choose the manual partition. In the partition list, it shows that auto script creates the first partition with type MBR, instead of EFI.

    I unplug the installation target flash drive, plug it into my MacBook, erase the partition and create a FAT partition with GPT schema. I try to reinstall pfsense again, now choosing the manual partition, modify the big FAT partition and change it into freebsd-ufs, mount it as /.

    After reboot, UEFI Shell now can map the EFI partition, that created by macOS partition earlier. I then copy the EFI/ folder from installer flash drive into the install target flash drive that has nothing inside the EFI partition.

    Now, the installation target flash drive can boot pfsense 2.4.3 happily, and I don’t have to put HDD or SSD into this mini pc router.

    I hope this helps you that struggle with flash drive installation but had PC that cannot boot into BIOS, only UEFI.


  • Netgate Administrator

    For reference if you have enough RAM to use it you can choose the guided ZFS install from the menu and then select the GPT(uefi) or GPT(BIOS+UEFI) partition scheme to get a bootable drive directly.

    Steve



  • @stephenw10 said in Installing 2.4.3 in mini pc using flash disk into the flash disk in UEFI mode:

    For reference if you have enough RAM to use it you can choose the guided ZFS install from the menu and then select the GPT(UEFI) or GPT(BIOS+UEFI) partition scheme to get a bootable drive directly.

    Steve

    Hi @stephenw10, how much minimal RAM to use ZFS? I only install 2GB RAM in the only slot on this mini PC. Right now I only use space “7% of 14GiB - ufs”

    Why the option of UEFI and BIOS+UEFI only exist in ZFS install? Isn’t it a little overkill to use ZFS for a router that meant to be small and fast?


 

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