The Hardware for FreeNAS
FreeNAS does not need much in the way of Hardware and an old PC or Laptop will usually be perfect for the job. The official minimum hardware specs for version 0.69.x are shown below:-
A PC with a minimum of 128Mb of RAM, a bootable CD-Rom Drive plus either:
- A Floppy Disk (for configuration storage) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable USB or Compact Flash drive (64Mb minimum) and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive and one or more Hard Drives (as storage)
- A Bootable Hard Drive (which will be partitioned for FreeNAS and Data. N.B. this is the configuration this guide has been written for)
If you are going to enable lots of features, you will however need to install more memory.
Getting the Software
Download the latest stable software from the FreeNAS Website. It is important to download the FreeNAS LiveCD option which can then be burnt to a CD using Nero, ImgBurn or any other of your favourite CD writing software.
Starting the Install
The first thing you will need to do is make sure your PC will boot first off the CD. To do this, start your PC and then go into the BIOS settings by pressing the DEL , F1, F2 or F8 key when prompted, depending on your machine.
Save the settings and Exit.
Insert you CD and boot your PC.
If you have configured your PC to boot from the CD, you should see something similar to the screen above.
No need to do anything with the boot options....just leave it as it will boot as without intervention
At this pont, you now have a working NAS server that has been built off the CD. It's not ideal to keep it like this so you should install it to a Hard Drive/Flash Drive/USB Drive. Press Option 9 to do this.
In this guide, the full OS will be installed to onto the hard disk and this will probably be the same as most installs. The other reason I had to choose this is that my PC was so old that it could not actually boot off a USB device. Select Option 3 to continue.
The above screen shows what this is option is doing. Note the warning that all data on your hard disk will be erased.
- Select the OK button to confirm.
- You will now be asked to confirm the installation media for FreeNAS. Select OK to confirm your CD drive.
- You will then be asked where to install your FreeNAS. This will be your Hard disk. If you have more than one, please select the correct one. Select OK to continue.
- You now need to enter the size of the OS partition (minimum 128MB). Except the default and press OK.
- You will now be asked if you want to add a swap partition. (The default is No). Press No to continue.
Its worth taking a note of what it says on this screen as it tells you what to do to mount your data disk when you configure NAS from the web console later. This is however covered in Adding a Data Disk in FreeNAS guide.
Press ENTER and this should take you take to the main menu.
You should be at the stage where you can gain access to the NAS server via the web console as long as it is plugged into your network and the first things you will need to do is configure your network properly. To do this, you will need the following information.
- IP Address of the Default Gateway
- IP Address of your DNS Server
In Windows XP, Click Start/Run and then type in "cmd" without the quotes. This should bring up a black command prompt window. Type in "ipconfig /all" and press return.
Make a note of the Default Gateway and DNS servers.
On the NAS server, Press Option 2) Set LAN IP address
Select no for using the DHCP interface.
The default for the IP Address should be 192.168.1.250. Leave this as it is unless you are already using this address.
Accept the defaults again unless you have done something special to your home network.
Enter the IP Address of your default Gateway as detailed in the first part of Step 4. You must remember to do this else you will have problems with connectivity for BitTorrent, iTunes Server and your Games Consoles etc.
Again, enter the details of the DNS Servers you found at the beginning of this step.You must do this if you want your server in interact with the Internet using services such as BitTorrent.
Your network setup is now complete.You should now be able to remove your FreeNAS boot CD.