Install IPCop from a USB Drive

IPCop is a really neat open source project that can basically transform any old computer with 2 NIC’s in it in to a hardware firewall, VPN server, and Web Filter, among many other useful things.

We use it quite a lot where I work and we’re always looking for the smaller, better IPCop box.

The most recent version we went with was a 1U half-depth rack mount server from the guys over at abmx.com.  This unit was both cheap, and met our needs of a rack-mountable IPCop machine.

The slight downside to this machine was there was no CD-Rom drive in it as our past IPCop boxes have had.  In addition, there was no IDE port on the motherboard (only SATA), and we didn’t have a SATA CD-Rom drive hanging around the office, so I set out to figure out how to install IPCop from a USB drive.

After a ton of searching I came across some instructions, which I will post for you in case you ever want to do the same.

1) Download the “usb-fdd” from the IPCop Downloads page.

2) Download a utility called dd for windows.  I am also providing a download link here in case that page ever disappears, because dd for windows is vital to making this happen.

3) Extract the dd.exe file from the zip, and extract the ipcop-[version]-install-usb-fdd.i386.img file from the .gz file you downloaded, put them both in the same directory.

4) Insert a USB drive.  Any files on this drive will be WIPED so be sure if there is anything you need on it, to copy the files off it!!!

5) Open up a command window and CD to the directory your dd.exe file and IPCop .img file are sitting.  Run this command:

dd if=ipcop-install-usb-fdd-1.4.11.i386.img of=\\.\g: bs=1k

In my example above my USB drive was g: you will want to change that letter to what ever drive your USB drive is on your machine of course

6) That’s it!  It will take about 5 minutes to write the image to the USB drive.  When dd.exe is done it will return you to the command prompt.  You’re ready to stick the USB drive in your soon-to-be IPCop machine, boot off it, and install it!

One thing to note is that this utility reformats your USB drive to the size needed by the image (around 50mb). Optimally it’d be cool to have say a 64mb flash drive around that you could just leave as an IPCop install stick (well, that’d be nice for me since I do a lot of IPCop installs).  When you’re wanting to reclaim your flash drive for regular use, you’ll want to right click on it in windows, and format it back to the appropriate size using FAT32.  Otherwise you will be like me with a 2gb flash driver partitioned to 50mb and wondering why your 800mb BackTrack 3 boot image won’t copy over to it! haha

Anyway, I hope someone finds this article useful.  If not, I know I will the next time I need to do an IPCop USB Install.