Need help installing OpenWrt to PC

I just upgraded my internet to gigabit from Xfinity. My R7500v2 is not fast enough for SQM at gigabit. My step dad is remodeling an office and they threw a bunch of PC's and laptops in the dumpster. I managed to get one of them to fire up thus far. It is a HP 500-c60. Its a bummer it is setup like a laptop on the inside. Therefore, no expansion. It does have USB 3.0 so I ordered two 2.5gbe Realtek RTL8156B based NIC's from Amazon. I already owned one and got it working well inside Windows 10. It is pulling max speeds consistently. So it seams to be a quality product. I was just going to use the two USB NIC's one for LAN one for WAN to my R7500v2 with OpenWRT that will act as an access point.

I have never installed OpenWRT onto a PC before. My R7500v2 is the first device I have ever ran OpenWRT on. I purchased an OpenWRT compatible device when I seen Kong started making builds using it. I am reading around trying to figure out how to install it on a PC. I am confused on some things. The PC is x64. Which file do I need to download though from here Once I download the file do I just burn it to a USB and boot from it during Windows bootup? The PC has two hard drives in it. So I was going to install OPENWRT to drive D. Once I get OpenWRT installed will configuring everything be the same as its been configuring my R7500v2?



I read through a lot of those pages but missed that one with the explanations. Thank you for pointing that out to me.

Don't simply assume those RTL8156Bs will work in the current 21.02 stable.

I am almost positive I seen that they work in OpenWRT. However, I did not see which version. So, I guess if I have problems with them I will go with 19.07.

You probably shouldn't go lower, but higher, the never kernel, the better.

Might be relevant too

Okay, so not sure what is going on but I downloaded the latest release squashfs-combined.img.gz and used 7zip to extract. It only extracts to 99% and it says close at the bottom of 7zip. So I close it. It gives me a folder with the .ISO. I have tried using RUFUS as well as WinDisk32. Burned image to 32gb USB stick and set it to boot in bios. I never see the option pop up during booting where it will say press enter to boot from this device or whatever. It just boots straight into Windows. I have tried everything I can think of I cannot figure it out.

There's no OpenWrt installer.
Create a live USB with a popular Linux distro and boot it into a live session.
Then download, unpack and write a suitable OpenWrt image directly to the disk following the wiki.


Okay, I think I see now. The wiki had me a little confused. It had me under the impression it could be extracted and installed via Windows. I think what the Windows portion is actually talking about is just how to prepare an image for flashing on a different device like a router or a different PC with Linux already installed. I thought I could use it as an installer like you said.

I think I understand things now. Can you tell me if this will work and if my understanding is correct? Can I write OpenWRT using Windows to my drive (usb, sd card, hard drive, etc.) using Rufus then remove the device from my Windows PC. Download a Linux distro. Format hard drive and install Linux. Boot into Linux and insert the second drive containing OpenWRT and reboot?

If the above is correct what is a good Linux distro for a beginner to use? Is there a certain Linux distro that is recommended for this purpose? Thanks for your help.

Write openwrt to a flash drive, boot that drive on the target machine, and write the openwrt image to the real drive, using dd.

If you have plenty of disk, I'd use the ext4 image instead of the squashfs.

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Well, then it seams I was doing everything right originally. I wrote the image to usb using Rufus and WinDisk32. However, the problem was the PC would not boot from it. Not sure why. Once I figure that out if I'm not mistaken I should be able to then copy the image to the drive.

Did it boot on any other computer?

Depending on how old the PC is it may have Secure Boot enabled, which is pretty much a default on new Windows Machines. It needs to be disabled for Linux.

For HP's I believe the BOOT selection menu is F9, but may be ESC. Keep hitting that as you boot to try to get the menu.

Take a USB thumb drive, search for "Recovery drive" and make one (it's good to keep this if you have WIN 10 around). Try to boot the "new to you" PC. If this works, you know that issue is NOT the USB port or PC, but possible the image you made. If this does not work, disconnect the HDD and try again. You can also put the image on an SD card and see if that works too.

Also check the HP forum for things like this.

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This worked thank you! The USB is running. I will post back if I run into any o her issue. Thanks again :wink:

If I copy the image directly to the drive I want to install openwrt to so I dont have to transfer it from the usb what steps do I need to take at the root@openwrt:/# prompt

That's the only thing I'm confused about. I don't understand what part of the guide to fallow from there.

You may want to remove one of the hard drives from the machine so you can be sure which one you're going to install on.

Generally the USB stick used to boot will be /dev/sda and the other drive is dev/sdb.

Copy another copy of the OpenWrt distribution zipped image file to OpenWrt. Then install with
gzip -cd filename | dd of=/dev/sdb bs=4M
This uses two programs gzip and dd which are generally included with any Linux including OpenWrt. The -d option tells gzip to Decompress the file and -c means output directly to the Console (stdout). The pipe symbol directs this output to dd, which will place the image on the sdb drive (make sure that is the right one). The bs=4M means copy 4 MB at a time which is faster than the default of copying small amounts at a time.

This does replace the partition table on the drive meaning that all existing partitions and data on the drive will be lost (though not securely destroyed).

After this copy is complete use sync to be sure all data is physically on the drive, then reboot and pull the USB stick out before it starts to boot. OpenWrt should run from the internal drive.

Oh yeesh I did not know I had to do all that too. I thought I was almost home bound. I think I do not know enough for this. This device has a drive that is soldered onto the board complicating things even further. I guess I'm just going to have to upgrade my r7500v2 to a r7800 or suck it up and just accept the fact that I'm not going to be able to run gigabit and have Comcast downgrade my package. Thanks for your help guys.

They should have videos of people doing things like this. A very easy step by step simple simple video for a simple setup. Some people are visual learners. Would eliminate a lot of questions similar to mine for people who have never done this before. People that have no experience at all except flashing and running openwrt images on routers. This would give us a direction to start the learning process.

How about running openwrt as a vitual machine with a windows 10 host?

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This is cool. Never even knew you could do this. I am going to look into it. I heard the only real downside is it is offline when your updating, rebooting, etc. However, I got another PC to use. It will be used just for this! It also has only one hard drive an SSD. So, if in the future I figure out how to install OpenWRT to the drive I will not have any issues finding where to install the image too.

The only thing I am worried about is my NIC's. They are Realtek 2.5gbe USB NIC's. I seen somewhere there is a new driver that allows these to work perfectly. How would I go about updating the drivers? Is it just a package I install in OpenWRT?

No need to worry about drivers. The host software will provide a virtual interface for the client. Just choose a virtual nic that will work with openwrt. I suggest trying virtualbox. Its easy to get up and running. When its setup, have it run headless as a service. If you dont use the windows 10 as a desktop machine you will rarely need to reboot it. Get rdc server up and running or install tightvnc and run as service then you dont need to hookup a monitor or keyboard to update it. Just connect via remote desktop.

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