Enable VGA on Serial Memstick install

  • I have multiple WatchGuard XTM 850 that I want to run pfsense on.

    I can successfully install pfsense on a separate machine, then place the hard disk back in the WatchGuard appliance and everything works great! However since I used a VGA memstick installer, the console access enabled from the System > Advanced in the web GUI settings do not survive a factory default.

    Can someone help me with getting the VGA console to start on a Serial Memstick install?

  • @fibrewire said in Enable VGA on Serial Memstick install:

    However since I used a VGA memstick installer, the console access enabled from the System > Advanced in the web GUI settings do not survive a factory default.

    How many times do you factory default your firewall? Lot of other stuff doesn't survive that- like interface assignment. etc. I don't think it's possible to enable a VGA console on the serial image.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Not sure why you need the VGA console at all on that device. Been a while but I'm pretty sure you can just access the BIOS directly on those.
    But, yeah, why are you trying to factory default it? Just leave the serial console enabled, restore to that base config if you have to.


  • @dotdash there are many reasons to default a box. I’m sure that even yourself have defaulted or used a new piece of hardware (that had been defaulted before you got it). It’s a good “clean slate” start for any repeatable process. Even windows 10 has a similar function integrated into the operating system now, and Microsoft is huge! The same reason we don’t recompile and roll our own distributions every time we make a change - it saves time 😃

  • @stephenw10 that’s the strange part. I get no console output until either the cf card boots Watchguard OS or until I see the bsd console options after the memstick has loaded. Unfortunately memstick won’t load unless the hard disk and/or CF card is disconnected from the box.

  • I try and keep my firewalls up for as long as possible without interruption. If I do a refresh, I generally back up the config, reinstall from the latest installer, and restore the config. The only firewalls I ever use 'reset to factory defaults' on are test units in the lab.

  • Netgate Administrator

    Ah, yes it's coming back to me now. Must have redacted that memory....



    You can try setting the enable serial tags in /conf.default/config.xml


  • @stephenw10 yep, I found a vga header cable but the pin block is too big, gonna clip wires and slide them over the pins on the board at some point, and record the keystrokes necessary to enable console redirection for bios if im able to. In the mean time...

    I pulled the CF cards out of all the 850 boxes, and pulled the hard disks as well. I booted the memstick install on a bench box and installed using the console. After i reinstalled the hard disk in the XTM 850 I reset to factory default and everything is working great over console connection.

    Would have been a lot easier had I just done that from the start. Had to rig the serial port on the bench box to a server accross the room, but it was worth it. I'll try the enable serial tags asap. Thank you for your help!

  • Netgate Administrator

    Yeah the header is 2mm pitch which is common for VGA but not the 2.54mm pitch most other headers are. Hence I'm using some random front-panel connectors jammed in the plug! 🙄


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