Problems booting from CF Card to SATA adapter

  • I am trying to switch my PFSense installation to run off of a CF card and it is giving me trouble. I downloaded the 512MB nanoBSD image with VGA and put it on my SanDisk CF card. I put the CF card on a CF to SATA adapter. The BIOS can find the adapter just fine and PFSense begins to boot. However once it gets to the initialization of PFsense, it starts getting Read-Only errors and suggests that the cf card disappeared before it could finish the IO process of starting up. I have searched through my BIOS for a setting to switch SATA to IDE mode and disable DMA but my BIOS is apparently too old to have those options. Any suggestions?

  • Netgate Administrator

    If you can't disable DMA in the BIOS you will have to set it as a loader option. Though I would expect to see some dma errors if that was the problem.
    Are there any BIOS updates available for your board? It suprises me that there are no DMA/IDE options.
    If you can use a serial console try the normal Nano image (without VGA) as it has DMA disabled by default. I don't know why the VGA version doesn't do this.

    To disable dma you need to add:


    to /boot/loader.conf.local, create the file if it doesn't exist. However you will probably need to boot correctly first in order to add that. See this doc for details:


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