FreeNAS 0.8 Beta 2/12/10 – Installation and Basic Configuration

Back in August I explained how to Install FreeNAS 0.7 Network Attached Storage Server on to a low specification PIII PC with plenty of disk storage.

Back in November iXsystems announced FreeNAS 0.8 Beta with the following changes:

  • FreeNAS 0.8 has undergone a complete rewrite.
  • The GUI has been redesigned to be easier to use and extend. Rewritten using Python and Django.
  • Improved hardware support, faster I/O, better modularity, and easier upgrades (see Note below).
  • The base system has migrated from FreeBSD 7.x and the m0m0wall build system to FreeBSD 8.1-RELEASE and NanoBSD.
  • The installation types have changed; there’s no longer an embedded or full install, nor can the image be installed on a data disk. You must now install FreeNAS onto a dedicated device.
  • FreeNAS 0.8 features ZFS version 14
  • The media centre features of the box have not been reimplemented in the core FreeNAS package. This will be added as an add-on at a later date.

So as the user interface has changed, I though it worth rewriting my August blog post.

One thing to note is FreeNAS version 0.8 currently ONLY supports upgrades to FreeNAS 0.8. It is not possible to upgrade from 0.7 or earlier.

These instructions were written using the FreeNAS 0.8 Beta release of the 02/12/10 running in a VirtualBox VM. I do not recommend using any Beta software for any purpose other than testing, as by it’s nature it is incomplete and undergoing rapid development.

What you Need!

  • One low specification PC, the less power it consumes the better as a NAS box generally gets left on for hours/ days on end. A Pentium III is probably a good starting point, with 512Mb of RAM, but if you are serious about power consumption then an Intel Atom or similar CPU is recommended.
  • A 512Mb (for RC2 this is now 1Gb, thanks to vyccid for letting me know about this change) USB stick (assuming the PC can boot* off a USB device) or a low capacity hard disk on which to install the operating system
  • At least 1 hard disk to store your data.

* If your PC does not support USB boot a work-around is to use


Boot off the FreeNAS 0.8 CD, you will briefly be shown the following screen before the default option is selected and you are taken to the main installation menu.

The main boot menu will then be displayed.

Choose option 1 and select OK

All available physical disk media will now be displayed. In my case below I have one 256Mb hard disk available. This will become the FreeNAS system disk. I will add my data disk later, although this is not a requirement.

Select the disk you wish to install FreeNAS on (remember this disk is only for the operating system) so does not need to be large. Select OK.

Before FreeNAS is installed on the chosen disk, you will get the following warning message. Read it and if happy select Yes.

The disk will now be formatted and the operating system installed.

Once this has completed, the following screen will be displayed. Follow the instruction and then press OK.

On reboot you will be given a FreeBSD login prompt as below.

Enter the username of root and the password of freenas to login.

The first problem you will encounter is that there is no menu for setting the IP address or even a display of what it current IP address is set to! Hopefully, it will be recognised by the FreeNAS developers that this is an oversight.

To display you IP address enter the command ifconfig, you will see something similar to the following screen-shot which shows an IP address of

Setting the IP address is now only possible, unless you like using Vi editing Unix configuration files, via the web interface. Whilst this may seem like a backward step, I think it is a good move as it means that all configuration is now done through the GUI.

Open a web browser and type in the IP address. In our case this is You will then get the login screen.

Enter the defualt username of Admin and the password of freenas

You will be taken to the FreeNAS Home page

The first thing you need to do is change you Timezone in the settings tab, using the drop-down, then click Save Settings.

Setting a Fixed IP Address

To do this, in the toolbar click on Network and then in the Network Settings tab, select Interfaces.

Click Add Interface.

Normally you will select em0 if you only have one NIC in your PC. lo0 should not be used as it is local.

You can give your interface any name you wish but I tend to stick to calling my interfaces eth followed by a number in this case 0.

Then enter an IPv4 IP address, I will use

Click Add Interface.

At this point your connection with your FreeNAS web interface will be lost as you have changed the IP address of the server from a variable DHCP address to a fixed address.

In your web browser change you IP address to the new fixed address. In our example this is

You will be asked to login again and you will then be shown your network interfaces window

Attaching Storage

So far all we have done has been to install the FreeNAS operating system and set a fixed IP address. The next step is to make our FreeNAS server useful and turn it into a network storage device by adding disks.

To do this click on Storage on the FreeNAS toolbar.

Now click Storage Wizard. The following window will be displayed

Enter a Volume Name, we are going to use NASDISK1

Select the file system type, I’m going to use UFS as the future of ZFS remaining opensource under Oracle in currently in question. A real shame as this is a good file system.

Finally select the disk you want to assign to the Volume. I have two ad1 and ad3. I will select ad1.

Click Next>>

You will now get a summary screen of your settings, click Save

Having repeated this process for my second disk, the store screen now looks like the following, showing two active disks.

I’m now going to edit some of the default settings for each of my disks by doing the following:

  1. Click the View Disks button for NASDISK1
  2. The Disks in volume 1 window will appear, click Edit for ad1
  3. I’m going to set the following:

HDD Standby will be set to 30 seconds

Adcanced Power Management will be set to Level 1

Th results will look as follows

Click Update ad1 (ad1) and then repeat for all remaining disks.

Sharing the Disks (Windows Shares)

With the disks mounted and a file system allocated, the next step is to share the disks. In this example I’m going to use Windows Sharing as this is universal to all operating systems.

From the FreeNAS toolbar click on Sharing. The following screen will be displayed

Click Add Windows Share. You will be asked for the following

  • Share Name, in this example I will call it WINShare1
  • Path, this is the disk you want the share to be associated, so in this example we will select /mnt/NASDISK1 from the drop-down menu.

The results will look like the following screen-shot. Click Add Windows Share to save the settings.

Repeat for all remaining disks you wish to share.

Once you have finished your Sharing screen will look similar to the following

With your shares set-up, you now need to start the Windows Shares service. To do this click Services on the FreeNAS toolbar.

Click on the OFF button adjacent to Windows Shares, this will turn on the service, the button will change to ON.

Note: I’m not sure of this is a problem or not, but I found that after setting up the shares, it was necessary to reboot the server otherwise you will be asked for a login id and password and nothing seems to work! This might have been because I enabled the Samba service for the first time for Windows Shares.

When browsing for Windows shares, some reason they appear under the workgroup of MyGroup. This is not configured in /usr/local/etc/smb.conf as the Samba workgroup is set to FREENAS. So I assume must be a unexposed configuration setting in the FreeNAS configuration file and I can’t find a setting in the GUI.


The interface is considerably easier to use when setting up shares, in fact is it very “polished” compared to FreeNAS 0.7. and should attract a lot more non-technical users. The issue of not displaying the default DHCP IP address on boot-up is a problem in this respect and I hope this is addressed before the final release candidate is published.

Currently, in terms of functionality FreeNAS 0.8 does not compare to 0.7 as a lot of the functionality is missing. Anyone planning to move to 0.8 from 0.7 will find that unless they use FreeNAS as a basic NAS server, this is a retro step, especially as there is no upgrade path from 0.7.

From what I can tell, the following functionality is currently missing when compared to 0.7:

  • User Account creation and permission setting on shares – currently absent and this needs to be urgently addressed via the GUI.
  • File Browser and Editor – currently absent
  • Plug-ins – currently absent
  • System Information screen only provides Basic details, Live CPU, Memory and Disk Space Usage is missing
  • The Backup option is missing, as are system packages.
  • Not sure whether a Firewall is present and if it is there is no GUI to configure
  • Users and Groups are missing
  • Only file sharing services are currently present, thing like iTunes, Webserver, and BitTorrent are missing

Hopefully this will be partly resolved in the final release, bearing in mind that this is only a Beta and a lot can change! Furthermore, it would be very unfair to disregard the amount of progress made in the past 12 months in the development of FreeNAS. If this pace continues, then I’m sure it won’t be too long before missing features are restored.

What is very clear is that a lot of effort has been put into making FreeNAS very easy to use. In my opinion the developers have done an really excellent job.

A lot of the missing functionality is because 0.8 is a complete re-write and therefore the developers have had to effectively start from scratch, so the absence of features is very understandable

I really look forward to watching how the FreeNAS 0.8 development progresses in 2011. If most of the missing features in 0.7 are eventually restored in 0.8, then I’m definitely upgrading to what looks like becoming the ‘killer’ NAS solution outside of using dedicated hardware.

Congratulations to the FreeNAS team for continuing to create a excellent NAS solution.

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15 thoughts on “FreeNAS 0.8 Beta 2/12/10 – Installation and Basic Configuration

  1. Great tutorial.
    Experimenting with NAS on an old HP Pavillion, 32bit set up booting from USB.

    Everything goes fine until I try to add a disc, when I run the storage wizzard I see no discs in the member disc list. Do the discs have to be formatted to a specific file stucture? (NTFS currently).

    When I run the original set up the disc was visable, but obviously I choose the USB option as I only have a single drive in the test machine.

    1. It should make no difference what file system the disk has, as initially FreeNAS is looking for a physical disk. If it can’t see it then this is a problem, may be a compatibility bug with your hardware. I assume the disk is an IDE disk.

      To check the above, I would suggest first trying out FreeNAS 0.7.2, using my installation instructions from August and see if the disk is detected correctly. You can boot FreeNAS 0.7.2 off the Live CD (not possible in 0.8) so you can use your hard disk as a data drive.

    1. Harry,

      The root account is only used for logging into FreeBSD to find out the DHCP IP address of the server. Normally it is not needed as you do everything from the web interface.

      The login account for the web interface is admin, not root. The password is the same i.e. freenas.

  2. I have FreeNAS 8 Beta installed on an iMac. I have created an Apple Share but I can not get the Username and Password to mount the NAS drive.

    The Edit Apple Share dialog is deferent than the Windows Share and has the following User related fields:
    Share password:
    This option allows you to set a volume password, which can be a maximum of 8 characters long (using ASCII strongly recommended at the time of this writing).

    Share character set:
    Specifies the share character set. For example UTF8, UTF8-MAC, ISO-8859-15, etc.

    Allow List:
    This option allows the users and groups that access a share to be specified. Users and groups are specified, delimited by commas. Groups are designated by a @ prefix.

    Deny List:
    The deny option specifies users and groups who are not allowed access to the share. It follows the same format as the allow option.

    Read-only access:
    Allows certain users and groups to have read-only access to a share. This follows the allow option format.

    Read-write access:
    Allows certain users and groups to have read/write access to a share. This follows the allow option format.

    I have tried several different ways of filling these field out but so far no luck getting access to the NAS drive.
    Can I create a FreeNAS user and password via the FreeNAS command line?

  3. hello,
    thnx for the step by step guide, i have a problem, i my network->interface->Add interface->NIC, i am not able to see em0. plz help me.

  4. ahyone else haveing this problem after click Storage Wizard

    ValueError at /storage/wizard/

    need more than 1 value to unpack

    Request Method: GET
    Request URL:
    Django Version: 1.2.3
    Exception Type: ValueError
    Exception Value:

    need more than 1 value to unpack

    Exception Location: /usr/local/www/freenasUI/storage/ in _populate_disk_choices, line 62
    Python Executable: /usr/local/bin/python
    Python Version: 2.6.6

  5. Start Oracle VirtualBox 4 (Mac version in my case)

    In the VirtualBox manager window, select the FreeNAS 8 RC1 (the latest version at time of writing) virtual install.

    Go to the top menus of VirtualBox and select the Machine menu then select the Settings item.

    In the window that opens, select the Storage tab; then select the IDE Controller. Two buttons appear. Select the pile of disks with a green + sign button.
    Then a dialog appears which has three buttons: “Cancel”, “Choose existing disk”, and “Create new disk”.
    In my case I chose the “Create new disk” button and created a virtual disk of a fixed size(8 GB), after following the create new disk wizard.

    This new disk is now attached to the FreeNAS guest install and will show up the FreeNAS Storage section of the web user interface when you select “Add Volume”.

  6. The release notes for RC2 say minimum 1GB USB stick, you might want to update your post. 512MB may work for some, but my install wouldn’t mount all the OS partitions until I used a 1GB.

    Otherwise great walk through, thanks!

    ps anyone know if it’s possible to copy the os from one stick to another so I can get my ‘good’ stick back without reconfiguring everything?

  7. hello

    thanks for your tuto but i just install freenas and my pages are different !

    in “window share”, i have lot of options that i don’t see in your tuto (how to) ;

    what about guest account, by default root

    i would want to make a window share without password ; on my local network, i trust all people and computers ; but may be it’s a bad idea, if a computer got a virus…

    at this time, i can create window share, my windows computer see the freenas share but i cannot copy to this ; problem of authorisation, i think

    thanks for all


    1. Richard, I suspect you are using the release version of FreeNAS 8.0, my how to was based on FreeNAS 8 beta which was released in Nov 2010, the release version came out in May 2011. This would probably explain the differences you are experiencing.

      I’m planning to take another look at FreeNAS 8.0 later this year and will write a new How to Guide. In the meantime the following may be helpful:

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