Install pfSense TO USB FROM USB Stick/Flash?



  • So I've found lots of guides on installing pfSense and I almost understand how it goes, but I never found any guide on installing it to a USB stick from the same USB thumb? Is this even possible?

    I've successfully deployed the correct IMG on my USB thumb with USB Image Tool. I went and booted the PC I want to run pfSense on with it. It gives me an option to install _but when doing that the USB flash needs to be formatted and since I want to use only one USB drive and that is the one I want to install pfSense FROM, I cannot format it.

    I went on and booted from it as LiveCD and it works perfectly well.

    So can I just run pfSense from that USB as LiveCD or should get another USB or CD for the installation media and I stop looking for a solution on how to install and run it from a single USB drive :)_





  • I never realized that the nanoBSD is a different version. I thought that guide is taking me to the same mirror links for the same image. Oh well..

    I've already installed it to my USB flash disk using another USB flash drive to put the installation on it. Then booted from it and chose to install on the first (empty flash disk) and it installed correctly.

    It seems like it went okay and I'm already running it. Just finished setting up Dual WAN and it's awesome! :)

    One question about this though. I've noticed that when booting from the USB flash when it is connected on some of the USB ports on the back of my PC, an error showed up just before pfSense was supposed to boot and the following command line came up: db>

    If I take and connect the same USB thumb on the front it runs perfectly. Weird.. I think all USB ports are USB 2.0 front and back. The MB is Asus M2N-MX if it means anything.



  • @spiritfly:

    I never realized that the nanoBSD is a different version. I thought that guide is taking me to the same mirror links for the same image. Oh well..

    I've already installed it to my USB flash disk using another USB flash drive to put the installation on it. Then booted from it and chose to install on the first (empty flash disk) and it installed correctly.

    I would caution you that the nano version has optimizations for flash that will preserve the life of the USB stick. Otherwise you might find it dying in less than a year since the standard version will write to it as though it were a hard disk.

    https://www.pfsense.org/about-pfsense/versions.html

    Flash memory can only handle a limited number of writes, so the embedded version runs read only from flash, with read/write file systems as RAM disks.

    Switching versions is actually quite painless. Save your configuration to your computer from Diagnostics: Backup/restore: Download Configuration, install the nano version to the USB stick, then upload your configuration back to it. Another alternative is that you can manually configure the full version to behave mostly like the nano version.

    @spiritfly:

    One question about this though. I've noticed that when booting from the USB flash when it is connected on some of the USB ports on the back of my PC, an error showed up just before pfSense was supposed to boot and the following command line came up: db>

    If I take and connect the same USB thumb on the front it runs perfectly. Weird.. I think all USB ports are USB 2.0 front and back. The MB is Asus M2N-MX if it means anything.

    My guess would be that the drive numbers are changed when you move it to a different port. The simplest solution is to have it in it's final port when it's installed although you can reconfigure if moving is necessary.