Doc edit request: Booting from USB

  • On the page:

    In section:
    Booting from USB

    Revise lead to discuss CD/DVD drives, and USB flash media.

    There are two additional boot options that should be included, discussed in this thread:,32017.15.html

    Also, flash memory USB devices need the filesystem set to read/write to make changes, so add a link to that article.

    I don't know how much linux experts think should be documented in articles. The learning curve of CLI linux is very steep. How much is the end-user expected to know, to accomplish what an article recommends?

    (It doesn't look like nano/pico is available so there's "echo foo >> bar" or vi.  Ack, thppt.)

    Revised text:

    If the boot stops with a mountroot error while booting off the live CD (usually with USB CD/DVD drives) or when using a USB flash memory device, escape to the loader prompt and run the following:

      set hw.mca.enabled=0
      set hw.bce.tso_enable=0
    • On version 2.0 this is on the boot menu - option #3 to boot from USB devices.

    At which point the boot will continue normally and you can proceed with normal installation. These settings are not saved.

    If running permanently from a writable USB device that requires this delay, edit /boot/loader.conf.local and insert the following lines:


    The settings in /boot/loader.conf.local will be retained during an upgrade.

    The boot options of CD/DVD media cannot be modified live in this manner. A revised ISO would need to be created with these changes added, and a new CD/DVD created.

  • Hmm, what to make of this? 80 forum article views, no one disagrees that this should NOT be included, but no wiki changes have been made.

    Who do I need to ask to get wiki edit permission to do it myself?

  • LAYER 8 Global Moderator

    You can contact jimp with PM to request access to docs for edits/additions - I got my access like same day requested.

    If was simple typo fix or correction to url or something like that I would be happy to make the change for you, but since I don't have a lot of exp in in this topic your discussing.  Be better if you make the changes so sure correct, etc.

    here is thread about requesting access to wiki,25358.0.html

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    Only the cam delay is needed for that. And it's already mentioned on the page. The memstick images are not meant to run long-term in place, they're meant to be install media, so making them read/write isn't really a good idea.

  • What flash based storage are you proposing people should be using, if not a USB flash drive?

    SD cards are apparently really slow, and SSD's are way overkill. CompactFlash is a weird old ATA format that is ultra-niche and uncommon at this point.

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    NanoBSD images are made for CF and other flash media.

    CF is not all that uncommon in embedded router gear, which pfSense sees a lot of use in. And it's hardly "weird", it's a common standard.

    The memstick is meant to be an installer to install onto HDD, SSD, etc. The full install will perform lots of writes on a disk so it's not good for flash.

    NanoBSD minimizes writes to the disk to only when absolutely necessary to preserve the media as long as possible.

  • It's pretty clear your mind is made up on the issue, but I will keep talking some more anyway.

    Okay, so I will get a CF to USB reader and then my system should work fine then, eh? Maybe one of those 4-way CF/SD/MMC/MS readers that goes in a floppy bay?

    (Oh wait, the same USB boot problem will strike all over again.)

    Are you proposing that people should be using some non-USB interfacing to the system? Maybe a direct CF to PCI-Express slot interface? Now that is really getting to be ridiculously obscure and unusual.

    Since many computers built in the last 3 years now don't even include an IDE interface anymore, only SATA, it's getting really hard to direct-connect CF to motherboards without USB.

    For these reasons, USB boot support from flash media should just be enabled by default in the flash filesystem images.

    (It's amazing the devs can be so grouchy about having a (gasp) 10-second boot delay by default for flash-based storage.)

  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    It's enough that it shouldn't be in by default. It's easy to add, and that fact is already documented on the wiki.

    Most people using CF do so via some form of direct socket, ATA adapter, or SATA adapter, not USB.

    And I'm not particularly grouchy, it's just not necessary for the majority of users of that platform, and it's documented for the ones that do need it.

    Keep in mind we see a lot of different platforms out there on a daily basis as a part of not just development but also commercial support. We have a pretty good grasp on what is in common use and what isn't. If the majority of people start to complain about it not working, we'll move it over. It's just not to that point yet.

  • Thanks Javik for trying to update the Wiki page.
    Your version works and solved my problem.
    The official page still doesn't contain any links to how to remount RW so that the error can be fixed

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