OPNsense USB Install Guide (Rufus)

In this article we will detail the steps required to create bootable USB installation media for OPNsense Firewall using the Rufus method as described in Pfsense USB Install Guide (Rufus). OPNsense is a fork of the venerable Pfsense Firewall. OPNsense’s main difference is the fully featured and easy to use GUI built using the newest web standards.

  1. Download the latest compatible version of OPNsense in .img.bz2 format. Note: this method does not work using the .iso.bz2 format.
  2. Extract the downloaded file to a folder of your choice.
  3. Plug in an empty USB stick and fire up the Rufus.
  4. Select DD Image as bootable disk type (See Image).
  5. Click on the disk icon and browse to the download that was extracted in step 2.
  6. Click “Start” to restore the image onto the USB stick using Rufus (See Image).
  7. Insert the newly created USB stick into router.
  8. Boot into the BIOS of the router and set “USB – HDD” to the top of the boot order. (On Hacom routers, press Del to enter the BIOS).


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16 thoughts on “OPNsense USB Install Guide (Rufus)

  1. I don’t know if this should be submitted as a bug report or feature request. But the usb installer for 17.6 image is UEFI only, that’s why it can not be installed in several systems. It should be great to create a Bios/UEFI compatible image

  2. I have the same problems as some of the other commenters above that tried to create an USB installer for OPNsense using Rufus. I though I would add my comment incase any other reads have an issue similar to mine. I use Rufus for all kinds of bootable USB stuff was kind of amazing Rufus had problems creating OPNsense bootable.

    For me it looks like Rufus 2.11 is successfully writing in DD Image mode. However, it leaves the USB drive unreadable by Windows. When trying to boot to the USB all systems just skip over it. Tried an Ubuntu box, a Windows 10 box, and a Windows 7 box just to check, and none of them could read the stick or boot from the stick. I recovered the USB stick by using Rufus on the Windows 10 box to write something else over it that I know works (in this case an Ubuntu img).

    My end solution was to take the USB drive to my Ubuntu Box. I download the OPNsense .img.bz2 image to the Ubuntu machine. Then using the Startup Disk Creator app in Ubuntu, I was able to create the USB installer for OPNsense. The same USB stick that failed with Rufus on Windows was able to boot fine when created with Ubuntu and the Startup Disk Creator.

  3. I have pfsense installed at the moment on the box and when I insert the USB stick with OPNSense created with Rufus using the img image, I get a corrupt GPT error message. When I try to boot it ignores the usb stick even so I told the BIOS (Supermicro board) to boot from the USB stick. BIOS recognizes the USB stick but cannot boot from it.

    1. I had a similar issue getting a Devon TC5v to boot off USB. Here is the article. The solution was setting the access mode of the USB drive to CHS in the BIOS on the machine.

  4. These instructions aren’t working for the latest version. I made the bootable USB from the .img file, but when I try to boot to it, it doesn’t boot from the USB drive and just goes to the first hard drive in the system. I tried two different (known good) USB drives, and neither worked.

    1. I just performed a test using the OPNsense-16.7-OpenSSL-vga-amd64.img.bz2 image and it worked like a champ. I am leaning towards a bios setting for USB access/mode. What device are you trying to install the image on?

    1. I did write the nano image to the USB flash key, no problem here…..but it will not boot, just give me a blinking cursor

  5. RUFUS do not work 🙁
    I get:
    Unsupported image.
    Either non bootable or uses a boot compression not supported by rufus,

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