Upgrading via Shell (old)

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Upgrading via shell

Console menu option (13) is available for remote upgrading from the physical console or via ssh. See UpgradeGuide. Hence this article being called (old). However, the instructions contained herein still work.

Sometimes an upgrade can go south for various reasons leaving a firewall in an interesting state. If these problems are encountered, this document may help save the system from needing to be wiped and reloaded.

  • Login to pfSense via ssh or the console and enter option 8 for a shell prompt
  • Find the upgrade image to use and fetch it to the firewall. SCP may also be used to copy the image to the firewall if it was downloaded to another machine. If the URL for the image in question is known:
fetch -o /root/firmware.tgz https://example.com/image.tgz
  • Now issue the command (full path to upgrade firmware is required!):
/etc/rc.firmware pfSenseupgrade /root/firmware.tgz
  • Wait a bit for the upgrade process to proceed.
  • The machine should reboot after the upgrade. Hopefully all is well again.


To perform the same process on NanoBSD requires some additional considerations.

fetch -o /root/firmware.tgz https://example.com/image.tgz
/etc/rc.firmware pfSenseNanoBSDupgrade /root/firmware.tgz
This article is part of the How-To series.