Can't install TO usb stick?
I've been using pfsense for some years now. 1.2.x I think. Recently, the hard disk in my pfsense box crashed again, for the 2nd or 3rd time, which causes me to be interested in booting from USB stick.
I first attempted to use an old 1.2.x embedded version but the firewall computer would not boot. I tried a couple different sticks, but just could not get it to stop hanging. Not a huge deal, but it means I probably couldn't reload my saved configuration file. Kind of a bummer, but not the end of the world.
In any case, I downloaded the most recent stable version (2.1.5-RELEASE) and copied it to my USB stick per the instructions in the pfSense book. I booted the USB stick in my firewall computer, and I was able to configure the WAN and LAN links, and then connect up from a more comfortable workstation to complete the configuration. I printed out a copy of my old configuration file and painstakingly built up the various interfaces and firewall rules that I had been using. About the only thing I had not done is get the VPN going again.
Once I was happy that things were working, I rebooted the device. It once again booted from the USB stick, but it went back around to the boot menu asking if I want to recover, install, or boot the live version. It lost my configuration? Luckily I had saved a copy before the first reboot. I once again got the WAN and LAN links going, and then I restored the configuration file that I had saved. Immediately, pfSense rebooted the firewall after restoring the configuration - and it once again went around to ask if I want to recover, install, or boot the live version.
Yet again, I configured the WAN and LAN links, and then I opened a shell and examined the config.xml file. I can clearly see the configuration changes I had made. However, every time I reboot, it goes back to the recover/install/live menu.
What would cause pfSense to keep throwing up the recover/install/live menu?
Probably because you're booting the memstick install image which runs like an install CD. It doesn't save anything.
You should use a nanobsd image on the usb stick if you want to boot and run from it.
Thank you! Great catch. On my first try I downloaded a 1.2.3 nanobsd image in order to match my old configuration file (it wouldn't boot), but on the second, somehow I managed to download the memstick version instead of nanobsd. I went back and downloaded pfSense-2.1.5-RELEASE-4g-i386-nanobsd-vga.img, installed it, restored my configuration, and I am much much happier.