Very quick question: my pfSense upgrade from 2.3.4 fails with many symptoms discussed online (loss of GUI, PHP console errors, etc.) but none of the fixes work so far. A bazillion rabbit holes have burned up a lot of my “billable” hours. So - if I do a fresh install of 2.4.4 from ISO, will my XML backup file still be okay to use? Just worried about compatibility.
Should be fine to use an older one to import into a newer system. But I am not completely sure how many versions back you can go.
In my experience, backup files may differ a little bit because new versions have more options on the GUI, so your old file may have some options missing.
If that’s the case, pfsense will use the default values. The mechanism is very robust and very forgiving.
(I have edited manually config.xml and I have made mistakes while editing)
I recommend you to install PFSense on a different machine. And restore the configuration. When the machine reboots after applying the configuration, power down your machine and take the hard disk out.
Then replace the hard drive on your router with the disk from the other machine.
This way you will have very little downtime (the time you take to replace the disks) and you can always return to your current state, by changing the HD back. (instead of installing on your router directly on a new disk, which will have longer downtime about 30 min)
Have several copies of your config file. And don’t mix the disks.
Other option if the later fails, is to install fresh, and restore the configuration section after section, avoiding the part that failed, and then configure the rest by hand, (by copying from screenshots of the GUI)
Hmmm, seems like more reason to virtualize the pfSense installation and take advantage of snapshots.