Last modified at 11/2/2013 11:46 AM by Koen Zomers

There are many ways to install pfSense. My personal favorite would be the option to write the pfSense image to a memory stick (any stick with at least 512 MB of space will do) and install it from there onto a harddisk. How to do this will be described in the steps below.

  1. Get yourself a copy of pfSense from one of the pfSense download mirrors

    Look for the lines containing memstick (not the ones with serial in it as well) and the correct processor architecture which suits your needs (amd64 for 64 bit, i386 for 32 bit):

    pfSense2.1RTMMemoryStickDownload.png

    Extract the downloaded img.gz file with a tool like WinZip or WinRAR. This will leave you with a .img file.
  2. Download Image Writer from this website (mirror) and extract the files to any folder you like


  3. Run the Win32DiskImager.exe file from the extracted Image Writer files. At my Windows 7 machine this lead to an error during startup which can safely be ignored by clicking OK. At my Windows 8 machine it didn't provide this error. Either way, the error can be ignored.


  4. Now insert the memory stick you wish to use for the installation of pfSense. It must be at least 512 MB in size and will completely be wiped by this process, so make sure there's nothing on it you wish to keep. If your memory stick is not being detected, try another one as some sticks don't seem to work for unclear reasons.

    The inserted memory stick should show up under devices. Double check to make sure its the right drive because it will completely be wiped. Select the pfSense image file as downloaded and extracted at step 1 and click Write to start the process of copying the bits to the memory stick.

    Note that this tool does not support writing to the usb stick from an image placed on a network share, so make sure you have downloaded the pfSense image to your local pc and select that one.


  5. It is safe to click Yes on the Confirm overwrite warning window


  6. The copy process will start. This will take a few minutes. Wait for it to be done.


  7. Once done, you can exit Win32 Disk Imager by clicking Exit, remove the memory stick and plug it in to the machine you wish to install pfSense on. Make sure the machine is set to boot off the USB memory stick and the installation of pfSense will follow automatically. You can now delete the downloaded pfSense files as well as the Win32 Disk Imager files if you wish.