Making your own NAS If you have an old PC sitting around doing nothing, you could turn it into network storage using the powerful Free NAS system an old PC can easily go to waste, but with Free NAS you can make good use of it and turn it into a powerful network attached storage (NAS) device. Best thing of all is that Free NAS, as its name suggests, is completely free. Unlike many commercially available NAS devices, Free NAS has a wealth of features and as you’re using a PC, the ability to support a lot of hard disks To install Free NAS on an old PC, you’ll need a computer with at least one hard disk in it and an optical drive. The best installation of Free NAS uses a USB flash drive.
You’ll need a drive with at least 64MB of disk space you can buy 1GB models for around £3 if you don’t have one. To start, download the ISO CD image of the operating system from www.freenas.org. You need to download the LiveCD version. There are two versions for download. one for Intel processors and one for AMD 64-bit processors. Make sure you select the right version, and download the ISO file to your PC. This file is an image of a CD that needs to be written to a blank disc (see page 46 for details on burning a disc). For Windows PCs, use the free CDBurnerXP (http://cdburnerxp.se).
You need to enter the BIOS and set your computer to boot from a USB disk for the optimal FreeNAS installation.
GIVEN THE BOOT (NAS)
Once the files are on a CD, you can boot from the disc on the computer that you’ll use for Free NAS. Before you do, though, there are some configuration options you need to think about. First, for the maximum flexibility you should install Free NAS on a USB flash disk, leaving your hard disks completely free for data storage. For this to work, you need to set your BIOS to boot from USB devices. To do this, turn on your FreeNAS PC, plug in your USB flash drive and enter the BIOS (normally you have to press Delete, F10 or F12, but look out for a message telling you which key to press). Typically the USB boot options are under Advanced BIOS Features.
There may be an option to boot from USB drives, you may have to select a USB flash drive from the Boot Device menu or the option may be called Boot Other Devices. In our BIOS the USB drive was detected as a hard disk and we had to select it as the first device in the Hard Disk Boot Priority menu. If your PC can’t boot from USB flash drives, you can install Free NAS to one of your hard disks, but this makes configuration harder later on and prevents you from using this hard disk in a RAID array. Alternatively, you can connect the flash drive to a USB port and boot the PC from the Free NAS Live CD. Your settings will be saved automatically to the flash drive, so there’s no installation at all.
However, this makes it trickier to upgrade to the latest version of FreeNAS. While you’re in the BIOS, make sure you disable the option to halt on keyboard errors, as your FreeNAS PC won’t need a monitor or keyboard connected to it when it’s ready. The other configuration option to consider is whether you want to use RAID or not. FreeNAS lets you use all common types of RAID (see http://tinyurl.com/raidlevels for details). You’ll need at least two hard disks to use RAID. The benefits are increased speed and reliability, and you can add extra hard disks to your PC later to increase storage. The alternative is to use each disk separately.this is your only choice if you have one hard disk. We’ll show you how to use both methods in our step-by-step instructions.
CONNECTING YOUR PC
You’re now ready to install the operating system on your computer. Before you start, however, make sure you remove all USB flash drives or you’ll get an error (if you’re planning to start FreeNAS from a CD each time, start your computer and go to Step 3).
STEP 1:- Boot from the disc you created. When the Console setup menu appears, insert your USB drive into a spare port, type 9 and then Enter to install Free NAS to your computer’s hard disk. Select option 1 and press Enter. Free NAS will confirm the partitions that it will create and warn you that your entire USB flash disk will be wiped. Press Enter to continue. Select your optical drive from the list and press Enter. Finally, select the flash drive to which you want to install the OS and press Enter again.
STEP 2:- Free NAS will install itself to the flash drive, which should take only a few seconds. When it’s finished, you’ll get a message telling you that you can remove the optical disc and restart your computer. Follow these instructions and make sure your computer is set to boot from USB devices.
STEP 3:- When your computer restarts, you’ll see a similar Console setup menu to the one in Step 1. Type 1 and then Enter to pick the network interface you want to use. Pick the one with (up) in brackets and press Enter. Go to Finish, exit the configuration and press Enter, then Enter again. Next, set the IP address that you want your Free NAS computer to use by typing 2 and then Enter. You’ll be asked if you want to use DHCP. If your router has an option to fix the IP address it gives to a specific PC (many do), select Yes. Otherwise, select No. In this case you’ll have to select an IP address to use manually.
The easiest way to find a safe address is to follow your router’s instructions to access the web-management page from your main PC and view the DHCP server settings. The page you’ll see will contain a start address, such as 192.168.1.1, and either an end address, such as 192.168.1.50, or a number that says how many addresses it hands out, such as 50. In this example, 50 IP addresses would give us a range between 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.1.50. All you have to do is pick an IP address outside this range. To be on the safe side, we recommend picking an address that’s 10 higher than the last DHCP address. So, keep the first three numbers the same and add 10 to the last number – in our example, that would be 192.168.1.60 – and write down this address, as you’ll need it later.
Enter the address into FreeNAS and press Enter. You’ll be prompted for the subnet mask that your network uses. You’ll most likely have a network that uses 255.255.255.0, so type 24 and press Enter. On the next two screens you’ll need to enter a Gateway and a DNS address. Both are your router’s IP address. Type this in both dialog boxes and press Enter. Finally, say No to IPv6 and press Enter. You’ll then get a confirmation that the IP address has been configured
STEP 4:- FreeNAS is now running, so you can switch to its web-based interface for further configuration. In a web browser on another computer, type the IP address of your FreeNAS server into the address bar. The default username is ‘admin’ with the password ‘freenas’. The first job is to change the password. Click on the System menu and select General. Click on the Password tab, type in the old password and then your new password twice. Click Save and you’ll be prompted to log into the management page again with your new password.
STEP 5:- Next, it’s time to set up file-sharing. Click on Management in the Disks menu and then click the big plus sign. Select a hard disk from the drop-down Disk menu (hard disks start with ‘ad’) and type in a description. We recommend leaving the other settings alone, except for S.M.A.R.T., which is used to monitor your disk’s health. Put a tick in this box and click Add. Repeat this step for each hard disk in your system, and then click Apply Changes on the Disks, Management screen.
STEP 6:- Your hard disks need to be formatted in order to be used. To do this, select Format from the Disks menu. If you’re going to use each disk individually, leave the File system option on its default value of UFS, type in a Volume label and click Format disk. Repeat this procedure for all your disks and go to Step 8. If you want to use RAID, select Software RAID from the File system menu and click Format disk. Repeat this for all your hard disks and go to Step 7.
STEP 7:- To create a RAID array, select Software RAID from the Disks menu. Select the type of RAID array you want to create from the tabs and click the plus icon. Type in the RAID name (no spaces are allowed), select the hard disks you want to use in the Provider menu, select Initialize, click Add, then Apply Changes. You have to format your new RAID array, so select Format from the Disks menu. Choose your RAID array from the drop-down Disk menu, type in a Volume label and click Format disk.
STEP 8:- Now you need to share your disk. Click on Disks and then Mount Point. Select a hard disk or RAID array from the drop-down Disk menu. Type in a Share name and Description, then click Add. Click Apply Changes and your share is ready to be used. In order for computers to be able to access the share, you need to enable the file-sharing service. Click on CIFS/SMB from the Services menu and put a tick in the Enable box. You shouldn’t need to change many of the settings, but there are some you can: NetBIOS name is the name that will appear when computers browse the network, Workgroup is the Windows workgroup in which your server will appear, and Large read/write should be enabled if your computers run Linux, Windows 2000 or later. When you’re ready, click Save and Restart.
Finally, you need to select which files you want to share. Click on the Shares tab. Type in the name you want the share to be known by and a comment, and then click the button next to Path. Select the mount point that you created at the start of this Step (individual hard disks will have one mount point each and a RAID array has one mount point) and click OK. Click Apply Changes. Repeat for all mount points.
STEP 9:- On a Windows PC, get a Run command up (Windows+R) and type \\<ip address of your Free NAS server> to access shared files. Right-click a folder and select Map network drive to create a network drive that you can access just like a normal hard disk. In Ubuntu, select Connect to Server from the Places menu. Select Windows Share from the menu and type the IP address of your Free NAS computer. To save the connection, select Add bookmark and give it a name. Click Connect to access shared files. You Bookmark is now available in the Bookmark menu under Places.
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