Chapter 2. Getting and Installing m0n0wall

Table of Contents

2.1. Choosing your Media
2.1.1. CD/Floppy Setup
2.1.2. Hard Drive or CF Card Setup
2.2. Getting and Installing the Software
2.2.1. Installing the Standard PC by Hard Disk
2.2.2. Writing the Image File
2.2.3. Installing the standard PC by CDROM
2.3. Final Preparation
2.3.1. Plugging in the Network Interfaces

The instructions below assume that you have a working PC computer with the proper cables and BIOS options chosen to boot from your selected media. It might save you some troubleshooting time if you first verify that your system is in working condition. One easy way to do this is to download or grab from a computer magazine a bootable Linux or BSD. These are often called Live-CD distributions and can autodetect most hardware and boot your system.

2.1. Choosing your Media

m0n0wall provides two options for PC users, either a CD and floppy setup or a hard disk setup. In either case you will need an existing computer to write to the Compact Flash or CDROM. In both cases you will download a m0n0wall file called an image that contains the bootable operating system. This image will be written to a media that your chosen m0n0wall computer can boot from.

Your customized changes to the default configuration will be stored in active memory of the m0n0wall computer. In a CD/ floppy setup, the floppy will store this customized configuration. In a Hard Drive or CF Card setup, the media itself is also writable and can store the configuration. In all cases the configuration file can be downloaded from the web interface for external storage.


It is recommended to always store an external backup of your configuration file in case of emergencies.

2.1.1. CD/Floppy Setup

m0n0wall can run from a CD, with a floppy disk to save the configuration. This is typically a good way to try m0n0wall without actually overwriting a hard drive. However, we do not recommend it for production use, due to the likelihood of floppy disk or drive failure. A hard drive is far more reliable, and Compact Flash is even more reliable still.

Starting in version 1.3 a flash drive can be used in place of a floppy disk for storing the configuration file.

2.1.2. Hard Drive or CF Card Setup

Many users find that a Compact Flash card offers higher reliability than an old hard drive. A Compact Flash card can be used to boot a traditional PC when using a Compact Flash to IDE Adapter.

You can also install m0n0wall to any hard drive of sufficient size (>=8 MB in version 1.2 and >10MB in version 1.3 and later), so basically any IDE hard drive ever made).

The instructions for writing the m0n0wall image are the same as writing to a hard disk unless otherwise noted.