Odd bootup problem with pfSense 2.0

  • Hi there, let me explain my setup and what's happening.

    I used a USB key to install pfSense onto a USB connected hard drive. This might not be a supported configuration but I wanted to ask anyway.

    If all I have connected to the machine is my USB hard drive where pfSense sits I can't reboot the machine back into pfSense. When the mounting part happens "Trying to mount root from ufs:/dev/da0s1a" the system fails saying it can't mount and that's that.

    At first I reinstalled pfSense thinking I broke it but the same issue occurred. Then I decided to stick the installation usb key back in after reboot and sure enough the system booted. The strangest part is that I removed the key and just plugged in USB keyboard and the bootup still worked! So now to do a reboot I have to have a USB device of some sort plugged in otherwise mounting da0s1a fails.

    I am a BSD noob so this might be something trivial but is there any way for me to fix this so that I don't have to have keyboard always connected to my box?

    Thank you.

  • I have seen this issue, I thought it was my 2003 vintage motherboard wonkiness.

    What I had to do to make my computer headless and keyboardless, is plug in 2 USB keys both formatted for BSD.  Once I did that, each time the system correctly boots to the USB and the USB key correctly mounts. I setup the BIOS to boot the correct key and both keys have pfSense 2.0 on it - I guess I can use the other one as a backup.

    I don't recall seeing this behavior with 1.2.3 - but 2.0 definitely has it.

  • The USB stack in pfSense 2.0 is different from the USB stack in pfSense 1.2.3. Changed behaviour is likely.

    vladk: Do you see evidence in your startup output that FreeBSD sees your USB hard drive before it attempts to mount the root filesystem?

    There has been another thread in this forum that recently discussed what appears to be the same issue: USB drive not seenn at attempt to mount the root file system. There might be a useful suggestion or two in there.

  • I believe it does see the hard drive just fine. That mounting part is the last part of the bootup process before pfsense starts kicking in and all the drives have been detected by that point.

    I really don't want to have a usb key or keyboard plugged in just so I can reboot pfsense :)

  • @vladk:

    I believe it does see the hard drive just fine.


  • If I follow the bootup log it detects the drive just like it normally would.

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Press the boot menu option that indicates it is for booting from a USB device.

    If that works, look at http://doc.pfsense.org/index.php/Boot_Troubleshooting and follow the directions for setting kern.cam.boot_delay=10000 in loader.conf.local

  • I believe that did the trick, I was able to reboot with keyboard disconnected and the router booted just fine. I hope it does the same on next reboot.

    Thank you!

  • Did what what suggested to the loader.conf file on the USB key and it boots fine all the time for me now.

Log in to reply