pfSense 2.4.2 VGA console unreadable with very old VGA monitor

I recently upgraded my pfSense hardware and while I was at it, I decided to update to the latest version of pfSense 2.4.2.

When the system was hooked up to a newer DVI based monitor for testing, everything seemed great. When I moved the system into my server area and hooked it up to my old KVM, I immediately noticed that the VGA console wasn’t working so great. It appears that the console it trying to use a resolution that isn’t supported by my old monitor. I can occasionally get things to work if I boot while the KVM is set to my router but the text is very tiny and nearly impossible to read.

I’ve checked and searched online but I don’t see any options or guides for adjusting the display settings for the VGA console. Is this possible?

when you’re at the command prompt, try typing in

vidcontrol -i MODE_282

It sounds like you’ve got 2 problems here.

  1. Your KVM isn’t presenting good monitor data to the computer if the computer isn’t the active selected computer.
  2. When your pfSense box is selected, and it boots up, it’s detecting some high resolution and just rolling with it. Might even be your monitor’s native resolution. It’s not a CRT, is it?

Anyways, according to this thread,

MODE_282 should set you to 160x64, which is pretty okay for text mode. You can play with the different modes to see what works for you. Though what you do to make the change permanent is a little beyond me. In actual FreeBSD, you’d put it in /etc/rc.conf. But pfSense isn’t actual FreeBSD, sooo…?


I tried vidcontrol but I recieve something that looks like this:

vidcontrol: argument to -i must be active, adapter or mode

its very hard to read so i’m not 100% sure that’s exactly the wording.

Maybe try without the -i. Also can you ssh in from another box?

I thought about enabling SSH but i’ve decided instead to hook up a serial null-modem connection to an old laptop I had sitting around. For as little as I need to access the console, it seems a workable solution.

Thanks for the help.