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Smoothwall Problems


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#1 Sikh

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:37

So I wanted to give smoothwall a try. I've been using pfsense for about 2 years now and I love it. But I just thought "hey why not try something different".

I went to go set up smoothwall on my firewall box, went through the setup, installed to a blank formatted hard drive and when my firewall box reboots, "missing boot drive". So I then reformatted it, installed pfsense to the same drive, rebooted and boot, Pfsense boots.

I reinstall smoothwall, reboot, missing boot device again. I take the hard drive out dock it to my desktop and I see all the 4 partitions the installation disc made and all the files. I then burn another disc, on another machine with a freshly downloaded i386 image of smoothwall. Reformat the docked hard drive, put it back in my firewall box, pop the new smoothwall disc in, boot up go thru setup, install to hard drive, and reboot. Oh look missing boot device.

I've done everything to make sure its booting of the hard drive but when it comes to smoothwall it wont, as soon as i put pfsense on that hard drive it will.

Any ideas?


#2 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:43

Naa Duro Naa Darao
Does the disc need to load at bootup?
My guess, tho it is only a guess, is, you may have burned the disc too fast, try burning the disc at he slowest speed possible allowed by your burner, this usually fixed bootloader discs for me at least.

#3 OP Sikh

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:47

The disc is fine, its when its trying to boot off the hard drive. The first disc I made at full speed, second disc I made at 4-8x. Slowest speed i could do.

Still nothing

#4 Aheer.R.S.

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 07:50

Sorry, that's about all I had

#5 farmeunit

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 08:50

I had the same issue a while back, but I don't remember the fix. It was quite a while back. Sorry, not much help.

#6 +BudMan

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 14:25

I have not played with smoothwall for years - but its linux based is it not.. Where are you installing grub I would assume? Let me grab a copy and take a look

#7 n_K

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 14:27

It's either using syslinux or grub, what's easiest is to boot up that or another live cd and manually install the bootloader.

#8 OP Sikh

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 19:43

Its asks me to install grub and it installs it on the same hard drive.

I just wanted to make sure its a possibility that its the boot loader because i can definitely spend some time manually installing it. I just didn't want to waste that time and have it not be that. We all have done that enough so its nice to see if it could be anything else.

Sad part is. For testing purposes i installed it on esxi and boom it rebooted fine. Install it on actual hardware and it freaks the **** out.

@Budman: if you find anything interesting Lt me know.

Thanks for the help guys

#9 n_K

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Posted 13 January 2013 - 20:13

Did you have an existing MBR on the hard drive, grub/windows/syslinux/other?

#10 +BudMan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:31

I got sucked into cleaning up my computer room today - it was just trashed ;) So have not had time to play with it, but if your saying it boots up fine off your VM, I have to assume since your disk was using pfsense before which is freebsd that your having an issue with your bootloader on the install of smoothwall.

Make sure you overwrite the bootloader from pfsense and you should be good.

You will just be back to pfsense in a few days anyway ;)

#11 farmeunit

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 00:53

Now that Budman mentions it, that sounds like what my problem was before. I believe I had used another distro before installed Smoothwall. I had to clear that out and it worked fine.

#12 OP Sikh

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 01:16

I knew if I just overwrite pfsense that it would be a problem, so I formatted the hard drive before installing smoothwall everytime because I knew I would have conflicts if I didnt.

So everytime I installed smoothwall, the drives been COMPLETELY empty. I think I need to get a live cd after I install smoothwall and install grub manually.

@Budman: Probably. I love having pfsense at work, and I know I will be back to it at home, but Its something I just want to tinker with. You know how it is ;). If we didnt tinker, our lives would be boring and we wouldnt be techs.

#13 +BudMan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:13

tinker all you want via vm ;)

And how did you format it? I doubt you wiped out freebsd bootloader with a format. It can be a bit tricky.. So should of been quite clear if it was still booting the freebsd loader vs grub, when you booted the box?

Can't you just do something like
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

Change it to whatever your drive is - maybe yours is sda?

Or wipe out the whole zero track
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=63

Shoot just zero the whole thing ;)
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda

You should be able to do that from booting your fav live or rescue cd/usb

#14 HawkMan

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 06:25

I knew if I just overwrite pfsense that it would be a problem, so I formatted the hard drive before installing smoothwall everytime because I knew I would have conflicts if I didnt.

So everytime I installed smoothwall, the drives been COMPLETELY empty. I think I need to get a live cd after I install smoothwall and install grub manually.

@Budman: Probably. I love having pfsense at work, and I know I will be back to it at home, but Its something I just want to tinker with. You know how it is ;). If we didnt tinker, our lives would be boring and we wouldnt be techs.


I had som issue when changing Linux distros before where even completely erasing the drive and partitions during install, would carry over bugs and crap. The only way to get it right was to first clean the drive completely, then reboot completely, then start the install.

#15 OP Sikh

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Posted 14 January 2013 - 18:43

Hawkman: how else would i complete reformat the drive? I even 1 pass formatted it.

I can do 3 passes doesn't bother me. I have plenty of 80gb sata drives sitting around.

Just trying to figure out how formatting it with gpart via terminal didn't work.