Workaround for coreboot boot-order issues on a Protectli Vault FW6B

My primary Proxmox virtualization server is hosted on a Protectli Vault FW6B, and it’s totally awesome. But I’ve been having issues with it hanging on the coreboot/SeaBIOS screen with a “Booting from Hard Disk…” message whenever the Vault is rebooted. 

I quickly determined that the issue only occurs when an external storage device is plugged in to the Vault. The obvious solution is to force the device boot-order in coreboot, but no matter what I tried (including physically swapping out the keyboard twice, just to rule out a bad F11 or Delete key!), I was unable to get into the coreboot Boot Option menu, as described in Protectli’s documentation.

As it turns out, unlike other Protectli Vaults, the FW6B uses a legacy version of coreboot that doesn’t allow you to change the boot-order of storage devices. This is not documented anywhere on Protectli’s site, which is what led to my confusion and frustration! 

So if you want to use external USB SSDs with Proxmox VMs on the FW6B, you have to ditch coreboot and re-flash the unit with the AMI BIOS, using Protectli’s Flashli utility. The process is very simple: Just create a bootable Ubuntu Linux USB stick, boot the Vault into it, then download and run the Protectli script from their Github page. You’ll regain boot-order configuration after flashing, albeit at the expense of having all the niceties you get by running coreboot.