Reinstalling pfSense Plus Software

The best practice at this time is to use the Online Network Installer to install pfSense® Plus software. Most of the document covers the former method which used separate hardware-specific installation image files.

  1. Obtain an installation image.

    Ideally, use the Online Network Installer which can be downloaded from the Netgate Store using a Netgate Store Account without requesting assistance from TAC. After downloading the Online Network Installer image, move ahead to the next step and continue following the steps to boot from USB. There is a warning message later in this document at the point where readers should switch over to the Online Network Installer documentation.

    To obtain the legacy Plus firmware image, please open a TAC ticket to request access by selecting Firmware Access as the General Problem and then select Netgate 5100 Desktop for the platform. Make sure to include the serial number in the ticket to expedite access.

    Once the ticket is processed, the latest stable version of the firmware will be attached to the ticket, with a name such as:



    pfSense® Plus is preinstalled on Netgate appliances, which is optimally tuned for Netgate hardware and contains features that cannot be found elsewhere, such as ZFS Boot Environments, OpenVPN DCO, and the AWS VPC Wizard.

  2. Write the image to a USB memstick.

    See also

    Locating the image and writing it to a USB memstick is covered in detail under Writing Flash Drives.

  3. Connect to the console port of the Netgate device.

  4. Insert the memstick into an open USB port and boot the device.


    At this point, those using the Online Network Installer should follow that documentation for the rest of the process. Only follow the remainder of this document for legacy firmware images.

  5. After a minute the pfSense® Plus loader menu will be displayed with a 3 second timer. Either allow the menu to timeout or press 1 (the default) to continue.

  6. Console options are presented for serial console installation. The default option is vt100, which should work for most. Choose the correct console output most compatible with the serial client.

    Please choose the appropriate terminal type for your system.
    Common console types are:
       ansi     Standard ANSI terminal
       vt100    VT100 or compatible terminal
       xterm    xterm terminal emulator (or compatible)
       cons25w  cons25w terminal
  7. The installer will automatically launch and several options will be presented. On Netgate appliances, choosing Enter for the default options will complete the installation process.


    Options such as the type of disk partition can be modified through this installation if required.

    See also

    For more information on the available choices during this process, see the Installation Walkthrough.

  8. Once the installer is finished, choose No and press Enter to skip going to a shell.

  9. The installer will then prompt to Reboot. Select Reboot and press Enter. The device will shutdown and reboot.

    Dec 21 22:41:37 Waiting (max 60 seconds) for system process `vnlru` to stop... done
    Waiting (max 60 seconds) for system process `bufdaemon` to stop... done
    Waiting (max 60 seconds) for system process `syncer` to stop...
    Syncing disks, vnodes remaining... 0 0 done
    All buffers synced.
    Uptime: 5m43s
    umass0: detached
    umass1: detached
    uhub1: detached
  10. Remove the USB drive from the USB port.


    If the USB drive remains attached, the system will boot into the installer again because by default the system firmware is configured so that a device plugged into the USB port will be booted with a higher priority.

See also

For information on restoring from a previously saved configuration, go to Backup and Restore.


If this device contains multiple disks, such as when adding an SSD to an existing system which previously used MMC, additional steps may be necessary to ensure the device boots from and uses the correct disk. Furthermore, having separate installations of the software on different disks is a known source of problems. For example, the kernel could boot from one disk while the root filesystem is loaded from another, or they could contain conflicting ZFS pools.

In some cases it is possible to adjust the BIOS boot order to prefer the new disk, but the best practice is to wipe the old disk to remove any chance of the previous installation causing boot issues or conflicts.

For information on how to wipe the old disk, see Multiple Disk Boot Issues.