Unable to boot pfSense from USB on MacBook Pro



  • I´m looking into using pfSense as firewall/internet router and wanted to check out the latest stable Embedded NanoBSD build on my MacBook Pro Retina 2015 following these steps:

    1. Downloaded/unzipped pfSense-2.2.6-RELEASE-4g-amd64-nanobsd-vga-20151221-1450.img

    2. Made a bootable USB in terminal, see attachment.

    3. Restarted MacBook Pro pressing and holding the Alt-key.

    4. Only boot option was the built-in HD.

    5. Did the same 1-4 steps above with the full installation pfSense-memstick-2.2.6-RELEASE-amd64.img

    6. Same result, only the built-in HD showed up as boot option.

    Hope to get some help here. I´m obviously doing something wrong.
    [Terminal log.txt](/public/imported_attachments/1/Terminal log.txt)



  • Hi,

    I have the same problem trying to boot a usb stick made in osx ..

    if you cant get dd to work try unetbootin.



  • Format as MBR instead of GUID and see if that works.



  • Did you ever get a resolution to this? I've tried this on two different Mac's. Neither will see the USB stick.  Embedded nanobsd VGA image.

    sudo dd if=~/desktop/pfSense-CE-2.3.2-RELEASE-4g-amd64-nanobsd-vga.img of=/dev/rdisk2 bs=1m

    The image seems to burn fine to the thumb drive, disk util shows it has 3 volumes of type 'freebsd', and the partition type is MBR. As soon as it starts working on the 3rd partition, I start getting 'ignore, initialize, eject' messages. Trying to select it as the boot volume only shows the system partition. Option/Alt key shows the same result when rebooting. Frustrating.


  • Banned

    Not sure what you are trying there, you should be using memstick images for USB and install it from there, if you need GPT/EFI them only 2.4 snapshots have a chance of working (and no nanobsd there, will need to be a full install.)



  • So the 2.3.2 NanoBSD for Mac is known not to work? I was hoping to avoid wiping the HD as I wanted to try it first (i.e. Live CD) using a USB thumb drive, rather than a full install.

    Essentially I'm looking for a NanoBSD I can run from thumb drive, or optionally CF.


  • Banned

    Yeah, you'd probably had much better luck with CF.



  • No luck with CF either. I'm just going to take the plung and wipe the drive and install. I was hoping to evaluate the speed with QOS enabled. This is a late 2014 Mac mini with a dual core i5@2.6Ghz and 8gB ram.

    Hopefully the full installer will boot. The Nano doesn't appear to be bootable.


  • Banned

    I have no idea about Mac. If it requires booting from EFI, nothing but 2.4 snapshots will work.



  • Ah, I didn't know these earlier images didn't support EFI. I'll download the 2.4 memstick and see how it goes.

    Thanks!



  • FYI. The 2.4.0 beta worked. The CF wouldn't boot oddly enough but the USB did without iissue.

    I have to ask. Why would they even have a Mac release if it doesn't support EFI in those images? The ISO for CD would work fine though. It just seems odd to even make an option that doesn't support EFI.

    In any case, color me happy. It was easy to setup and detects the second thunderbolt to Ethernet without issue.


  • Banned

    @DJRumpy:

    I have to ask. Why would they even have a Mac release if it doesn't support EFI in those images? The ISO for CD would work fine though. It just seems odd to even make an option that doesn't support EFI.

    Hmm? There's no specific "Mac release" anywhere.



  • Inartfully worded. I mean a release that fits a Mac per the specs but isn't compatible. Most modern OS's support EFI. It seems odd that MBR is supported but EFI is not. Very happy that the beta supports it.

    Technically I could use the ISO for a CD image although I haven't burned an actual CD in years :)


  • Rebel Alliance Developer Netgate

    @DJRumpy:

    Inartfully worded. I mean a release that fits a Mac per the specs but isn't compatible.

    We can't control what hardware people try to install pfSense on. There are lots of things out there that might read as though they would work but may not due to any number of differences. As far as I'm aware we've never claimed it could or would work on Mac hardware.

    The installer was long overdue for an overhaul, 2.4 is definitely the right thing to test out on there.



  • Understood. Just a bad assumption on my part that it would support EFI. That said, the install went without a hitch and I've been tweaking on it for a week now. The beta build is pretty solid as far as I can see. Some problems with shaping but I'm sure that's more due to my inexperience with pfsense than with the build itself.

    So far it's performing well beyond my expectations.



  • Bootcamp used to support BIOS/MBR only operating systems but as far as I know Apple took that away because of the messy hybrid MBR/GPT partition table system and they now require that the OS installed with bootcamp supports GPT/EFI installations.