FYI for those hosting pfSense on a particular type of miniature PC - a particular BIOS setting is required with certain versions of FreeBSD - without the setting the unit will not restart from a power off etc.
This applies to a number of units branded by “Protectli” - photo of typical unit below. But this problem occurred with my unbranded unit I got from AliExpress - there are a number of sellers. Tom did a review of the ProtectlI brand units back in 2016 on the Youtube - Passively Cooled Quad Core 4 port Gigabit NIC pfSense box from protectli review - YouTube
Case size: NUC type, about 130mmx130mm Processor: Atom 4 core inc AES-NI NICs: four ports pfSense version: 2.6.0 storage: 32 GB NVME stick cooling: passively cooled, no fans etc Year: 2019
Problem: unit did not restart automatically after unit was powered on again after a wiring closet change
I pulled the unit out, connecting it to a monitor etc
- saw that the unit was not restarting.
- error message was related to lack of boot media
So I assumed that I had somehow damaged the NVME system drive - and commenced work to see if I could re-image.
It started in “Live-USB” mode from a POP-OS USB stick.
But it would not boot from a USB thumb drive flashed with the “memstick” pfSense v2.6.
Error message like:- can’t find '/boot/entropy' can’t find '/boot/hostid'
I searched for this and there is a post on the Netgate forums
which in turn points to the Proetectli support page
The action to fix this is to make a change in the CPU Firmware
- Firmware Section: Advanced → CSM Confuguration → Boot Options Filter
- Value: set to “UEFI” only mode (and not 'UEFI and Legacy’, not ‘Legacy only’)
I had restarted this unit without problems a number of times during the original install and reconfigure. So this problem must be related to one of the recent pfSense updates which included a particular version of FreeBSD. So when it failed to restart I assumed the worst!
Lesson? - when a server is updated, confirm it will still happily restart automatically!
Edit: fixed small error in details of fix