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pfSense: restore broken config

·292 words·2 mins
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My pfSense firewall at home got a pretty heavy misconfiguration by myself and that resulted in an annoying boot-loop. This took me quite a while to research, but I finally got it working again. Thank god pfSense makes backups of its configuration so this recovery process works quite well.

Follow these steps #

  1. Boot into single user mode

    Connect to your firewall (with a serial console) and choose option 5) Reboot system and confirm with the letter S (capital s).

  2. ZFS version only

    1. Remount root slice as read-write:

      $ /sbin/mount -u /
    2. Mount all ZFS filesystems, datasets etc.

      $ /sbin/zfs mount -a
    3. Working within the mounted filesystems

      1. Enter /cf/conf

        $ cd /cf/conf
      2. Copy the newest backup file back

        $ cp backup/config-1648889613.xml config.xml
      3. Clear the config cache

        $ rm /tmp/config.cache
      4. Reload system and it’s services

        $ /etc/rc.reload_all start

        This may take a while. At this point we are done, we can now remove the single user mode boot configuration and reboot the firewall.

    4. Clear the single user mode boot configuration

      $ /sbin/nextboot -D

      ZFS does not clear the single user mode boot configuration by itself, that’s why we have to delete it after we are done with our work.

    5. Reboot the system

      $ /sbin/reboot

      You could also use exit, but that would only continue booting into multi user mode without rebooting the system first. I personally think that we would benefit from a full reboot.

Okay, that’s it all for now. Please note that I do not use the UFS filesystem any more, so I won’t add this to my little instruction set.

This post was actually older, I’ve saved the instructions in a textfile until I found the time to format it and publish it on my website.

Sources #