Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY NAS: with nas4free [step 2]

If you have not done so already, please read the introductory post on building your own NAS, DIY NAS: with freeNAS - step 1.

The good stuff...

  1. Boot Disk
  2. Install OS
  3. Configure System
  4. Add Users/Groups
  5. Add Disks
  6. Build Mount Points
  7. Build Shares
  8. Enjoy sweet, sweet, sweet, satisfaction...


First download the NAS4Free- image from sourceforge.

I am pretty sure that you can use the LiveCD.iso
The documentation here is a little sparse, but I'm sure a commentor will set us straight.
(have tried them all and failed to take notes :P)

Create a bootable USB stick or CD.
(most users are comfortable doing this, but I will be adding a tutorial post soon)

Install OS

(At this point I strongly suggest disconnecting ALL HDDs except the target boot drive)

Plug in your USB-boot or CD-boot disk and start your NAS. Make sure that you are connected to a monitor and keyboard.

Enter the BIOS menu and set the Boot disk to first priority.

Save & Exit

Wait for nas4free to start. You will eventually be prompted with a menu.

Choose the Install/Upgrade NAS4Free from LiveCD option.

You will be directed to the installer menu...

Since my plan has always been to install to a HDD, go ahead and choose the third option.
Install "Full" on HDD + DATA + SWAP partition"

This next part is why I suggested removing your data disks...

You will first be asked to select the CD/USB disk from a list.
Next you will be asked to select the target disk you want to install the OS to.

Finally there will be some questions about data and swap partitions.
Make sure that the installation has a minimum of 2gb.
Besides that you can play with the numbers here to suit the disk you are installing on.

My setup uses an ancient (seriously ancient), 2gb pata drive.
I disabled the SWAP and just rely on my RAM. You can do whatever you think is best for your disk.

once the install is complete you will be returned to the menu.

Choose the reboot option and remove your boot disk!

If the NAS doesn't start loading nas4free, check that the bios has reverted to using the HDD as the primary boot disk.

When you are returned to the nas4free menu:

You will notice that the option to install has disappeared... this is good.
Select option #2 and configure the network IP address.
You will be asked questions about what you want done... just choose auto for everything and you will probably be fine.
(If you are interested in some sort of manual setup, feel free to try. No one is stopping you, its a free country.)

Once the IP address is set you will be returned to the menu and notified that the webGUI is reachable at your ipaddress:port!

Test it now by opening a browser on some computer connected to your home network and directing it to the address and port that the NAS gave you. Just put in the ip address followed by a colon and then the port number.

You should be greeted with the webGUI login page!

This means that you have done everything correctly so far! Sweet!
You can login using the default user/pass; admin/nas4free.

System Configuration

Here we will work through the many settings in nas4free which need to be setup in order to work correctly.


  • Hostname
    • Hostname: keep it simple yo...
    • Domain: local
  • DNS settings
    • IPv4 DNS Servers: 
      • (this only needs to be in one box. any other boxes can remain empty)
    • IPv6 DNS Servers: (leave this empty)
  • WebGUI
    • Username: this is the username that you will use to log into nas4free's webGUI.
      • Only change this if you feel some need to do so.
  • All other settings on this page can remain unchanged.
NETWORK>LAN management
  • IPv4 Configuration
      • This information needs to be setup in your router first. Be sure to give your nas4free box a static ip lease in the router's management. You will need to type in the MAC address and then tell the router what ip address you want for that MAC. This is usually easy on a router you bought at the store. This is usually really a pain in the ass on a router that comes with any form of internet service...
    • Type: Static
    • IP Address: your nas4free ip address (ie.
    • Gateway: your router's ip address (ie.
  • Make sure that IPv6 is set to auto and nothing else on this page needs to be changed.
At this point I suggest making a backup of your nas4free configuration XML. This is something you should do OFTEN!

Reboot the server using the webGUI.

Check that everything is working. 
  • Is the ip address you entered right?
  • Is the server hostname showing up if you look at your network in windows explorer/finder/nautilus?
  • Can you still log into your webgui? haha!
Finally you need to add your user credentials for the shares you will be making later!


  • Click on the little blue cross to add a new user
  • Name: You should just use your windows username here so that you don't have any trouble with the CIFS/SMB shares you may build later.
  • Full Name: This is not important to the small net builder, but is crazy important if you have many users in a setting like an office. I always add my full name... you don't have to if you don't want to.
  • Password: As above use your windows password for simplicity.
    • Don't have a windows password?
      • Set one up... you will be happier with this file permission stuff just working.
  • Shell: sh
  • Primary Group: admin
    • you are the admin here right?
  • Additional Groups: ftp, sshd, transmission, users, wheel
    • You can add them to other groups too if you want, but these are probably the ones you want right now.
  • Click "Add"
  • Follow any on screen instructions.
All done! Time to add some disks!

Importing disks :D

So there are a few steps to getting your shit shared with nas4free.

STEP 1 - Think Before You Leap
Do you have blank drives or pre-existing data?
  • Blank Drives: Skip to the formatting step.
  • Pre-existing data: Okay, you aren't going to like this but you are going to have a difficult time keeping your data. The problem is that nas4free is built on the freeBSD kernel and by default it wants your drives to be formatted as UFS. If your data was in a windows computer then it is probably formatted as NTFS. Linux and it is probably ETX3 or 4. Only the UFS format will work properly in nas4free in the long term. When I build my server I had pre-existing data. About 10TB worth of it... Here was my solution... and it sort of sucks if you have a lot of drives with data to add.

STEP 2 - How you are going to save your old data while still formatting all your drives.

The process will go like this: 
The problem is that you want to keep your data so we have to add a blank drive (drive #1). Then add your second drive (drive #2) in read only mode. Transfer all the data from your drive2 to drive1. Then reformat drive 2 and mount is normally as a storage disk. As you have guessed this will repeat for any other disks you need to add...
  • You have to buy at least one new blank HDD.
    • It should be at least as big as your largest existing drive.
    • I would just buy the biggest drive you can since eventually you will probably be getting rid of the smaller drives to add more space to your server.
  • Add the new bare drive to your server chassis and plug it in.
  • Add disk.
  • Format the bare drive to UFS.
  • Add disk under Management tab.
  • Build a MOUNT POINT for this drive in mount.
  • Mount the drive
  • Build a share point for the drive using CIFS/SMB or NFS
    • This drive is now available on the network and should not ever need to be changed. This is basically he process for adding any new drive to the server. 
  • Next we have to add and build a mount point for the drive#2. 
  • Make this a read only mount point.
    • This step will take your server offline until the transfer is finished.
    • Depending on the speed of your drives, the speed of your motherboard, and the amount of data this can take a long time.
    • Most of my drives were 5400prm, connected by sataII, and 1-2TB.
    • I usually get decent speeds out of these drives, but when you start a transfer and cannot connect to the server in ANY WAY (no ssh, no gui, no NOTHING!) you start to panic a little. There is no visual feedback letting you know whether or not anything is happening.
  • Once your data has been transfered format drive#2 to UFS.
  • Delete the temporary read only mount point.
  • Build a new mount point for drive#2 using UFS and making it read and writable.
  • Build a share point if using CIFS/SMB.
  • Thats it... now just repeat for all of your disks.
Sounds pretty crappy huh... I had 10TB of data on 9 disks. It took me a week to finish importing and transferring disks. The final product is also completely susceptible to data loss with disk failure. Any day I might wake up to a dead 2TB disk with no option to recover it. 

This process is the main reason I decided against any sort of RAID redundancy. Were I to build a RAID array, I would have to buy all new disks for the server. Since my bank account fits into an old coffee can hidden in closet this was NOT an option. 

You cannot just buy 10TB worth of disks and add then your existing 10TB disks to an array after it has been built. Everything that I have ever read or tried requires the disks to be 100% empty when creating the array. Life suck for poor people, get over it and enjoy the thrill of having more space at the cost of possible data loss.

In reality, some of the drives in my server have all been running 24/7 for about 5 years. I have never actually had a drive die. The simple fact of the matter is that if a drive lasts 30 days, it will probably last until it is no longer relevant.

STEP 3 - Add and Format

Hint: add disks to your server chassis ONE AT A TIME! It is much easier than trying to figure out which is which by serial number. If you have all blank drives you can disregard this hint.


  • Click the little blue cross to add a new disk.
    • I have no idea if the scan functions will work on blank drives.
    • I do not trust it to work on drives that already contain data in NTFS form.
  • Disk: choose the disk you are adding
    • There should only be one disk available if you are adding them to your case one at a time.
  • Description: this is up to you...
    •  This description is only displayed in the webGUI.
    • Hint: With all disk naming follow a simple convention. FOR EVERYTHING!
    • Here are a few rules I follow...
      • NO SPACES! If you want to mount these using FSTAB in linux you cant have spaces... plus spaces suck...
      • NO CAPITALS! If you want to work in the CLI at all capital letters suck.
      • My personal naming convention goes like this:
        • [size][manufacturer][number]
        • Say I just bought two new Western Digital 2TB drives and A friend gave me an old 1TB Seagate drive. I would name them as follows...
          • 2.0tbsshdd1
          • 2.0tbsshdd2
          • 1.0tbsghdd1
        • This is my personal preference. Name yours however you like! Many people have far fewer disks than I, and thus they are able to use names like "Storage" or "Movies" for various disks.
  • S.M.A.R.T.: enable
  • Preformated File System:
    • "none" for bare drives
    • "NTFS" for drives that you are transferring data from.
  • Click "Add"
  • Follow any on screen instructions.
If your disk was blank, it is now ready to format.
If your disk was full of data, it is now ready to be mounted.

Choose your next step accordingly.

  • Disk: here select the disk you want to format.
  • File System: UFS (gpt and soft updates)
    • This is a matter of personal choice. I don't feel that the zfs file system is mature enough to use. I know that fat32 is historically riddled with issues in freenas/nas4free. So too is EXT2. I have never even tried to use Software RAID, if you are going to do this you should probably go with ZFS.
  • Volume Label: name this volume... I can never remember the rules for naming volumes... I don't think that you ever really use this name again... probably... right? Just do whatever nas4free says when it doesn't like your name.
  • Minimum Free Space: I set this to 8GB. This gives nas4free a little room to breath for defragmenting the drive. Probably more importantly it gives you a slight buffer for adding files to the disk. My file server is set to auto-download tv with Sickbeard running on my Raspberry Pi. If the disk fills up I don't want new episodes to fail to download, instead nas4free warns me that the disk is full, but allows SabNZBD+ to use some of the buffer space on the disk.
  • Advanced Format: Most modern high capacity disks can use advance format sectors. Go ahead and enable it, if the format fails try turning it off.
  • Don't erase the MBR: do not select this.
  • Press "Format Disk"
    • You will see some printout on the webGUI.
    • Eventually you should see that the format was successful.
    • Your disk is now formatted and ready to be mounted in nas4free.


Time to mount your freshly formatted disk, but first we have to build a place to mount it to.

Click the little blue cross to add a new mount point.
  • Type: Disk
  • Disk: choose the disk you just formatted.
  • Partition Type: this part always throws me...
    • "GPT partition" - this is supposed to be for GPT formatted drives.
    • "MBR partition" - this is supposed to be for UFS and NTFS drives
    • Try MBR first in any case. If you cannot get your mount point to save, it is probably because the Partition Type is wrong.
  • Partition Number: 1
  • File System: UFS (or NTFS if you are adding this disk to transfer data)
  • Mount Point Name: this is up to you...
    • Hint: you will probably use this A LOT! Here are the rules I follow again...
      • NO SPACES! If you want to mount these using FSTAB in linux you cant have spaces... plus spaces suck...
      • NO CAPITALS! If you want to work in the CLI at all capital letters suck.
      • My personal naming convention goes like this:
        • [size][manufacturer][number]
        • Say I just bought two new Western Digital 2TB drives and A friend gave me an old 1TB Seagate drive. I would name them as follows...
          • 2.0tbsshdd1
          • 2.0tbsshdd2
          • 1.0tbsghdd1
        • This is my personal preference. Name yours however you like! Many people have far fewer disks than I, and thus they are able to use names like "Storage" or "Movies" for various disks.
  • Description: Here you can add a note to remind yourself about this drive. This note only appears in the nas4free webGUI.
    • You might make a note here for NTFS drives that are being added to transfer data... just sayin'...
  • Read Only: Check this if you are adding an NTFS drive! 
    • You do not want the system to try to write on your NTFS disk. There is a slight chance that it will corrupt the file system if you do.
    • For UFS disks that are being added to a permanent mount, do not check this... If you do then you wont be able to write any data to your disk, and that would be stupid.
  • File System Check: Check this item. Unless...
    • I began having issues with this when I implemented NFS and the Raspberry Pi Sickbeard/SabNZBD+ servers. I was getting a kernel panic crash and my disks would not have a chance to sync the write buffers before a hard reboot. This meant that my disks had to be fsck'd manually from the nas4free shell. Eventually I decided to disable this on all my disks. My doing this is a bandaid on a larger problem that I have no time to solve.
  • Owner: Root
  • Group: Wheel
  • Mode: Just put a check mark in every single box.
Press "Add" and you should be redirected to the Mount point list!
The list may give you some instructions, follow them until you see an "OK" under status for your disk.
If need be go to the "Tools" tab and mount your disk. Then check back at the list for the OK status.

STEP 5 - Setup the CIFS/SMB Service

My guess is that most of you are going to want to use CIFS/SMB so that your windows devices will be able to interact with the NAS using their usernames and passwords.

  • First lets set up CIFS/SMB(aka samba)
  • Authentication: Local User
  • Max Protocol: SMB2
  • Netbios Name: "add your server name here"
    • This will appear in your windows Network list
  • Workgroup Name: this should match your windows workgroup
    • Find this on your windows computer.
    • Case matters here.
  • Large Read & Write: Enable
  • Store DOS attributes: Enable
  • Asynchronous I/O: Enable
  • AIO Read/Write: 4096
  • Auxiliary Parameters: add this if you are having issues transferring large sustained files!
  • Save & Restart (this only restarts CIFS/SMB)

STEP 6 - Building a Share Point

Head over to the "Shares" tab.
  • Click the blue cross.
  • Name: i use the same name that I used for my disk
    • ie. 2.0tbsshdd1
  • Comment: I use the same here as I used for the name of the share and the disk.
  • Path: Click on the browse button and choose the disk you want to add to this share. 
    • What you are seeing here is the contents of /mnt/
      • These are the mounted disks... do you see why it is nice to have them labeled with nice clear names?
    • If you do not see the disk you want in the disk you want, it is not mounted correctly! Figure out why...
  • Browsable: Enable
  • Guest: Enable
  • Inherit Permissions: Enable
  • Recycle Bin: Disable
    • With this disabled, deleted files are IMMEDIATELY deleted!
    • With this enabled, windows will take move deleted files to a hidden recycle bin folder within this drive. This is fine too, but I don't like trying to manage the file bins when only one of the 8 devices connected to my network actually runs Windows.
  • Hide dot files: Enable
  • Shadow Copy: disable
  • Everything else is probably fine...
  • Click "Add"
  • You should be redirected to the Share list.
  • You may now be greeted with instructions... follow them if you are.
Once everything looks normal, you should be done with this disk!
You can open it up on your windows computer if you did everything right!
Try copying a file to the disk.
Try deleting a file on the disk.
If it gives you an error, something is wrong...

If you have no disks that contain data, just rinse and repeat for your remaining blank disks.
If you have just finished with your first blank drive and now need to add your data disk, please go back to the mount point step and follow the instructions again while making slight changes as per the notes to add your NTFS disk in read only mode. Then continue to STEP 7 below.

STEP 7 - Transfer your data if need be...

Some of you have now added your first blank disk, then gone through the last step again and added your data filled drive in read only mode.

Now open the file manager in the web gui.


Here you will be asked to log in.
Use the root account or else you will not be able to copy/paste/delete anything.

  • Browse to /mnt/"read only disk"
  • Select some data.
  • Click Copy
    • I like copy rather than cut in case there is some sort of crash or issue or some other kind of nonsense.
  • Browse to the place you want to paste the data.
  • Press paste.
At this point the page will start to look like it is trying to load/refresh.
It will stay like this for a LONG time. Your data is now being copied to the new spot that you choose.



Once the transfer is finished, you can go ahead and check the data from your windows explorer. If everything looks good, go back to the portion on formatting a disk and format your data disk to UFS. Follow the instructions for building mount point again and delete the read only NTFS point. Be sure to add this new disk to the share list too.

Finally you have all the information needed to add disks in any configuration to your NAS!


  1. Great blog! I was wondering if you could help me with putting an OS on the SD for my Raspberry Pi.

    I have a model B Raspberry Pi.

    1. My apologies for the delay Callum!
      My winter break just ended and I have been occupied with packing, ~1600 miles of driving, and trying to jump into a new quarter of coursework at school.

      Anyways, I am going to make a new post which covers installing Raspbian to your Raspberry Pi. There are a few OS's that can be installed to the board but Raspbian is by far the most beginner friendly!

      Check out the post here:


      Or just click Raspberry Pi on the navbar and look for the post you requested :)

      Hope that it helps!

  2. Matt, wonderfully explained, step by step.. thanks a ton !!!

  3. hi, done as per these steps and it worked !! :-) Thank you Matt ... Pls. share any details on the usage of Bittorrent service, if possible..
    Thanks in advance :-)

    1. I will do my best to write a series on bittorrent after finishing my series on Usenet. With the anti-piracy legislation going through this month, I highly recommend migrating to Usenet. Although, torrents still hold some value. Keep checking for the updates!

  4. Great article, but I have a problem:
    When I try and mount my hdd as UFS it claims the following

    "/dev/ada0p1: Can't get UFS ID.
    dumpfs: /dev/ada0p1: could not read superblock to fill out disk"

    and whenever I try and change to mount as ntfs it accepts the mount but then says "error" in the status box on the Mount Point page.

    Any suggestions much welcome as ive tried scanning google but no luck.

    1. Hmmm... sounds like a simple fsck might be needed to fix the superblock.

      Try going to your nas4free webgui > Disks > Mount point > Fsck

      Select the disk that wont mount from the dropdown list and hit execute.
      Wait a few min until the readout says completed... hopefully it will also say file system marked clean... if so you should now be able to go back to mount point management and mount the disk.

      Let me know if you still have some trouble with the disk... This occasionally happens to me when I hard reboot from a crash... I usually get that error on reaaaaaallllllly old HDDs that are on the verge of crapping out. No idea if this issue is a sign of imminent failure or not, but I see this issue in my drives right before they buy the digital farm... I am also pretty sure that the crappy drive is what causes a lockup in the first place... but I cant prove it so dont take my word...

    2. Also, just to make sure I have everything right...

      What format is the drive in?
      Is it formatted in UFS or NTFS?

    3. Hi! I google Internet for solutions. I got the same problem after I updated NAS4FREE to latest version. I tried Fsck as well with LiveCD boot. But that didn't solved the problem. I also think that the hdd may be broke. Seems like a hardware issue. Gonna try switch to another sata cable and see if that works.

    4. Fredrik, you should also be aware that the gui fsck will timeout on larger drives. You will get false fails on drives that are still good. I have to run fsck manually from the cli on my 1.5tb+ drives. Try that before throwing the drive away!

  5. Hi, nice guide!

    I' ve a problem with SMB and folder..
    I'm trying to make more than one folder and insert it in "shares" tab but only mount point works great.

    When I enter in my nas4free server in windows i want to see 3 or more folders like:
    -media content

    But if I create with the webGUI file manager the folder inside the mount point i'm not able to transfer files, only see the folder.

    How can I fix this problem?
    need to create more mount point? how?
    Sorry for my bad english, I'm Italian.

    1. Okay, I think I know what you are asking...
      I am sorry that this will be difficult to understand, and that I don't speak Italian.

      When you open your server on Windows:
      Network > nas4free > folder(s)

      You want to see multiple folders.

      Each folder seen at this stage in windows will correspond to a share in the nas4free WebGUI.

      In the WebGUI you should have separate shares for each folder you want to see:


      This setup assumes that you have one hard drive, and that there are several folders on that disk which you want windows to treat as unique locations.
      With this design you can map each folder as a drive in windows and see something like:

      download (\\nas4free) (M:)
      setup (\\nas4free) (N:)
      mediacontent (\\nas4free) (O:)
      data (\\nas4free) (P:)

    2. That's right, the problem is how to make this folder because in QuiXplorer (GUI File Manager) I can add and remove folder but they are not a mount point to share with SMB service.

      My first setup was like that what you are saying:
      ...etc etc...

      After created the folder I go to SMB service and add this new folder to make visible for windows user, and it works! but i can't move file in it.
      There's some authentication problem.

      I've sent you some screenshot in Google hangout

    3. Hey Mark, I sent you back a bit of info on hangouts. I that that it will be an easy fix.

      So you had it right the first time. As long as you can see it in windows then you are fine.

      The fact that you can't modify files in the share from windows is a User Permissions error, not a file structure/server error.

      You are not able to edit files because your windows username and password are not in agreement with the nas4free credentials. You must edit Users/Groups in the WebGUI to match your windows credentials. Then grant that user the permissions to modify files on your share.

      There are a few more instructions in the hangouts you sent me! File permissions on SMB are really horrible! Good luck, and feel free to ask me further questions if you continue to have trouble.

    4. Oh yes Matt, problem solved..
      If I create a new folder I need to change the permissions.

      Hope other people see this comment if they have same issue.

  6. Hi Matt, great tutrial!
    Unfortunately I've got one problem, if you can help me solving it.

    I've got a 2TB disk formatted in UFS, today in the mount point it says there is an error-retry note. I retry but nothing happens.
    The disk under management is correctly installed, apparently it cannot be mounted.
    If I try to remount it again from scratch, it says that there are some input errors:

    Tipo di partizione o numero di partizione errato.
    /dev/ada4p1: Impossibile ottenere UFS ID
    dumpfs: /dev/ada4p1: could not find special device

    Roughly tranlsated from Italian:
    Wrong type of partition or number of partition
    /dev/ada4p1: can't get UFS ID

    I should have a backup of the disk, but of course I would prefer to avoid to re-format the disk (not even sure this can solve the problem).

    I am not very experienced with command line, but not afraid to try.
    Any suggestions?
    Thank you very much.

    1. You need to run fdisk to fix this error!
      For a drive this large, the GUI fdisk will time out and fail. You need to plug in a keyboard and monitor, or ssh into your NAS and run fdisk on that drive manually. Then just hit retry after it is completed. It will mount fine after that.

      This is usually caused by hard boots/power failures/hotswapping drives...

    2. Hi Matt, thanks a lot for your answer. I did an ssh, and this was the output:

      # fdisk /dev/ada4
      ******* Working on device /dev/ada4 *******
      parameters extracted from in-core disklabel are:
      cylinders=3876021 heads=16 sectors/track=63 (1008 blks/cyl)

      Figures below won't work with BIOS for partitions not in cyl 1
      parameters to be used for BIOS calculations are:
      cylinders=3876021 heads=16 sectors/track=63 (1008 blks/cyl)

      fdisk: invalid fdisk partition table found
      Media sector size is 512
      Warning: BIOS sector numbering starts with sector 1
      Information from DOS bootblock is:

      The data for partition 1 is:
      sysid 165 (0xa5),(FreeBSD/NetBSD/386BSD)
      start 63, size 3907029105 (1907729 Meg), flag 80 (active)
      beg: cyl 0/ head 1/ sector 1;
      end: cyl 180/ head 15/ sector 63
      The data for partition 2 is:

      The data for partition 3 is:

      The data for partition 4 is:

      Should I use any argument with fdisk? I checked the man page but I didn't found any flag to update or fix the hard disk.

      Thank you very much again for your help.

    3. Sorry, the data for partition 2, 3 and 4 is UNUSED, and actually the disk has only one big partition.
      Thank you.

    4. That is very strange!
      You may have corrupted the files beyond fdisk ability to repair...

      Since you have the backup, it will probably just be faster to restore the backup rather than spend days searching the web for solutions... Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

    5. Do you want to laugh? I checked the backup. God only knows, but it was corrupted as well, so it seems that I basically lost everything. On another forum I was suggested to use UFS explorer. Let's hope! :)
      Thank you for your help.

    6. You might also try testdisk... If you let it analyze the entire disk, you can rewrite the geometry by hand and then save a new partition table to recover the disk. You can also try to select a new superblock... it is a bit convoluted and I've never gone that far, but if you really want the data back!

      I nearly lost 13tb this week by futzing around in the cli with tools I didnt quite understand hahaha! I spent the last two days rewriting partition tables and praying to the gods that I hadn't lost everything.

  7. Thank you Matt, but honestly this is beyond my possibilities. Honestly I tryed with testdisk, and it found some files, but it didn't preserved the name of the files and the structure of the directories, and to be honest it was too stressful to re-allocate each file.
    So in the end I just decided to format everything, and try to find out again the data (mainly video and cartoons).

    O my God! 13 tb is really... how can I say... a LOT of stuff! :)

    Thank you anyway for your help.

    1. I know how you feel! Data loss is such a hard emotion to deal with, especially if it is something as seemingly free and replaceable as downloaded media... it just sucks to have to start over haha.

      I don't know why your disk failed, but they do it on occasion. Power failures, hardware failures, heat, shock, data corruption from bad controller cards... it eventually happens and it sucks when it does. Sorry I wasn't able to be more helpful!

    2. Exactly! Anyway, I must thank you for your help and suggestions. After all, I lived for decades without them, even if I am not able to recreate my collection, I should survive! :)

  8. Thank you for your instructions. Can I ask why you prefer the Install "Full" on HDD option?
    It is just that generally it is recommended to go for the embed on the USB option.
    So I am pretty confused about this.

    1. Sorry this took so long to answer.
      I prefer the full HDD install because I distrust a USB drive sticking out of the back of my server. The recommendation to use USB is motivated by the fact that a failed USB can be replaced by simply burning the OS image to the USB, while a full install requires writing that USB install to a HDD.

      Lastly, people discourage the use of an HDD for the OS where it might otherwise be used for storage. I happen to have a spare IDE port on my mobo and an old 8GB HDD that I use for the full install. I feel that the design is cleaner to have the OS running on a disk rather than a USB stick.

      In the end it does not really matter all that much which you choose. I hope that helps!

    2. That's great. Sorry for the delay in replying, I haven't been checking your website. Your reply is very helpful. I tried the embedded USB installation and had so much trouble with it. My full install on HDD has been trouble-free.

      In my case I have only one HDD, but it is a large disk - at least 500GB, so storage of both OS and data should not matter.

      However, I have one problem - I purchased a Zoostorm PC without the OS. The installation is fine except that it looses the network connection on reboot or restart (it has a static IP address). I have to go to setup every time and confirm the IP address for it to start working again. It may be due to the onboard network card. I would have to try and add a PCIe network card - unless you have a suggestion?

    3. So there are two reasons I can think of that might explain why you are failing to get a DHCP confirmation automatically.

      First, I would rerun the DHCP setup from the installer. Reboot from the USB/CD you used to install and check the DHCP settings are correct. Turn off Ipv6 to be safe. Make sure IPv4 is set to DHCP and auto. Then make sure your router is set to always assign the static IP to the mac address associated with the onboard network card.

      Reboot both and it will probably work fine.

      If that does not work, I would suspect that you have something weird going on inside your router's DHCP server. As a final option I'd reset the router to factory, and reassign my static leases to all my devices.

    4. Thanks so much for replying. Well, it doesn't look that the problem is with the router. I have nas4free installed on another PC which is not Zoostorm and everything is fine on it. What I found with the Zoostorm PC is that the IP static address is reachable when I go to Option 2 and configure the IP address. After that I am able to log into the WebGUI. However, when I restart the PC, the IP address is unreachable even if it is the same - it does not change. Then I have to go to Option 2 again and configure it even if it is exactly the same address. After that nas4free is reachable again. This indicates that the network link changes to down after every reboot. I have searched everywhere but so far have not found an answer to this problem. This happens only on this particular PC. Unfortunately I can't get any support from the manufacturer because they deal only with Windows.

    5. Hmmm... that's a strange problem. It seems like this PC is failing to pull the DHCP allocation correctly so you are having to set it manually. If you use the same local IP every single time, I would suggest editing the configuration file for nas4free. Inside the config file you will find a place to put in the static IP address. Just save that in there so that each time it boots, it just assumes that its IP is the one you always use. If you really need DHCP, you might have to try installing a different ethernet driver, which is not very fun in freeBSD unless you are pretty familiar. You can also try the other version of the nas software based on the newer version of freeBSD, called FreeNAS. The newer software packages may include a better driver for your particular network card. FreeNAS has a slightly different GUI, but is the original version of nas4free. nas4free is the continued development of FreeNAS after freenas went to the new bsd version.

  9. Further to my previous question on full installation, I was wondering if you have used UPS?
    Please, let me know.

    1. I have never used the UPS function. Unfortunately I am way too poor to spend the money on a good serial/usb UPS. If I ever do get my hands on one cheap, or used I'll be sure to write a detailed article on setting it up.

  10. Matt - Is it possible to attach an external HD via USB and have it seen as as a storage volume?


    1. Woah, sorry! Your comment never sent me an email, sorry for that!

      The answer that I suspect you have already discovered is that yes, an external drive can certainly be used as a disk within nas4ree.

      The only caveat is that it cannot be used as a portable disk. ie you will not be able to just take the drive with you to another computer.

      Just plug it in before boot and add it under the disks menu, then format it and add it as a normal share! :)

  11. awesome blog thank you for your work set it up first go round thanks again

  12. this is the best directions for setting up nas4free
    thanks thier manual had me confused
    i have a couple problems
    1 i can't see minidlna as media device (on lg tv or windows 10)
    2 i would like to backup usb drive to another usb drive (i got 2 16gb from amazon for 9.00 each sandisk cruiser ) can i just use windiskimager or something like it?

  13. on nas4free do i need NFS protocol and what is it used for?

    1. NFS is something like network file server. It is broadly compatible with different OS's and very fast, but it's a pain to set up. If you are just using Windows computers I would suggest sticking with cifs/samba. You don't need NFS unless you plan to setup an NFS network share.

  14. Hello Matthew,
    I was wondering if you use antivirus software on nas4free or if it is necessary at all? I only use it for shares (accesible from Windows PCs) and only on local network.
    It would be good to know your view on theis subject.

    1. Sorry it took me so long to get back to you. The freeBSD based NAS itself does not need antivurus. You should however set your client end antivurus to scan your shares as they would any other drive.

    2. Thanks, much appreciated.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. So to beat this issue a virtual 64 bit working framework would should be introduced as a layer between the equipment and the server working framework. how to choose NAS Device for Plex

  17. Very complete guide to NAS configuration for newbies like me, thank you so much !


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