Switching hard drive in pfsense

In a previous post I mentioned some errors in the logs, those were regarding the harddrive of my firewall. It was dying.



After getting my hands on a couple of SATA DOM modules I was ready to do the transplant. This is almost rediculously easy!

First just save the config under Diagnostics > Backup/Restore.
I went with all and included the RRD data since I wanted the trafic history graphs.

Power off and switch the drive to the new.
Boot your installation media of choice and go ahead and install. I had an USB drive prepared since some earlier time ready for use.

Log in using the default username and password (admin/pfsense).
Then just go back to Diagnostics > Backup/Restore and upload and restore your config xml. The system will reboot and you are all done!

This is the point I realized that my graphs in fact did not work. Turns out the USB stick I had used had the i386 image on it, and my system was amd64 before this. Since I was already having the system down and had used an image with some time on it I tried the somewhat undocumented feature and used the system updater to change architecture. Under System > Firmware > Updater Settings I switched the URL to point to ADM64 and invoked the updater.

It worked like a charm! I have not been able to find any issues and my graphs are ok again.


2 thoughts on “Switching hard drive in pfsense

  1. Lee

    Hi –

    I’ve been running pfsense for almost a year with no issues. The system is running on an IDE hard disk and using up very little disk space. If possible, I’d like to be able to boot and run pfsense off a memory stick as I’m sure the spinning hard disk is adding to my electricity bill. Is this possible? If so, is it simply a matter of creating a USB boot disk and restoring my current configuration file from my hard disk to it?

    Thanks, Lee

  2. henrik Post author

    Hello Lee,

    I think you should have no problem with importing your current configuration on a new install running from a USB drive. The only issue I can think of might be with the device name in fstab regarding the IDE drive vs the USB drive. I had a quick look in a backup configuration and couldn’t see the drive specified there so that should probably be just fine too. Just make sure to keep a backup of the configuration, and you can always fall back on the old drive if all else fails.

    Let me know if you run in to any issues switching.

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