FreeNAS Tutorial for Windows Users – Part 6 – Adding a Drive

Since I get a lot of searches for various FreeNAS "stuff" I keep an eye out for trends, and add to this series when I see people looking for specific information.

Lately I have seen a lot of people searching for "adding another drive to FreeNAS", so here is a brief tutorial.

I am using a virtual machine, with a virtual disk to create the screen shots – don’t let that bother you – it’s the exact same process with a "real" computer and a physical drive!

I am assuming that you know how to physically install a hard drive.  If not, do a search for "installing second hard disk" in your favorite search engine.

fn1 Open the admin window in your browser and select "Disks: Management" from the sidebar.  You will see a screen similar to the image at the left.  Note that you have to click the little "plus-circle" (highlighted in yellow) to add a drive.
fn2 The most critical thing now is to make sure you select your new drive.  Chances are it will be the only drive listed. 

Select the drive from the drop-down list.  Set your power preferences (I always allow the drive to sleep after 10 minutes and set "use minimum power with Standby" and "Minimum performance, Minimum acoustic output".  This allows you to save as much power as possible at the minor expense of having to wait a second for the drives to spin up when you access them.

Finally, select the File System type – if this is a new drive with no data on it, leave this blank.  We’ll format it in a second. If it is already formatted, and has data you wish to keep, then select the correct File System for the existing data and skip the formatting step below!

Click the "Add" button.

FN3 To save your changes click on the "Apply" button.
fn4 Assuming this is a new disk, it will need to be formatted.  Select Disk:Format from the navigation menu.

Select your new disk from the drop-down menu. Be very careful to select the correct disk – all data on it will be lost.

Leave the file system as "UFS" and type in a name for the disk (volume label).

Leave the minimum space alone and click  on "Format Disk".  Depending on the size of the disk this could take seconds, or minutes.  Once the process completes, go back to the Disk:Management.

fn5 As highlighted here, you can see that the disk is now "online".  You can now set up shares on the drive and start using it! 

For more information on setting up shares see Part Two of my FreeNAS Tutorial (link below).


You can find my FreeNAS posts/Tutorials here:


  1. Hi,

    I am probably going to sound a bit stupid, but I am stuck. So please forgive me.

    I have setup the NAS weeks ago with two 500gb Sata drive. They are set to mirrored.

    What I thought was going to be easy, has turned into something that i don’t even know if it can be done. Essentially this motherboard I am using only supports two sata ports, so instead of having to find another machine I though I would attempt to connect in a IDE drive.

    From here I get lost. I had some minor trouble with the BIOS settings after I connected the new IDE drive, but managed to get pass this ok. BIOS recognises both the 2 Sata drive and the new IDE i just installed. However when going into the FREENAS admin screen this IDE drive is no where to be found. I can’t seem to add it as it just doesn’t show up.

    If anyone can please provide me with the process to add this IDE drive to the storage “pool” this would be really appreciated. Once again I apologise if this questions has been discussed already, but I couldn’t seem to find anyone experiencing the same issue specifically.

    Also whats is making life a bit hard is that I seem to have a difference version of FREENAS to what is used in most tutorials. Mine looks nothing like what is used in these screen shots and I do not have a Disk Management area. Rather it refers to “volumes”

    Thank you

  2. Great content, thank you for posting it.
    Comment about your web page arrangement.
    The main content is getting cut and we need to scroll to read, that itself is painful but adding insult to injury, the scroll bar is way down and so to read every line we have to scroll down and come back up again.
    Appreciate if you could fix it.

  3. Sachin yedre says:

    can we give users of different groups different access rights?

    we are not having domain environment.

  4. Excellent , Excellent I just finished converting a SR2100 and needed a storage server for my Lan. After reading this information posted I have it. FreeNas looks like Perfect fit for my k3 Domain.

  5. Ashley Slade says:

    dsr, FreeNAS must use UFS as it is the native file system of FreeBSD.
    It will read FAT and NTFS but it is not recommended to use that for a file system

  6. hello! very nice tutorial! simple but imformative especially for windows users like me.

    one question i have is, how do i add an existing raid10 to freenas? my controller is the one that came with my mobo and it’s intel (p965/ich8r). i’m really not familiar with controllers. i have it setup for raid 10 and was using server 2003 with it. my os hard drive just died and i would like to use freenas for the mean time. i have used it before and i’m kind of faniliar with the process, but that was starting from scratch, meaning, i started with empty disks and then setup my raid. how do i add my raid array without reformatting or starting from scratch? thank you.

    • i think i might have found it! at first, i didn’t notice a drive called ar0 in my list of drives. i was trying to add the member disks individually then i figured the size of ar0 is the size of my array. and i just thought that the ‘r’ in ar0 must mean raid. thanks.

  7. @Mike – glad you liked my posts. Afraid I can’t help with the RAID stuff – my life is pretty darned demanding right now. But this community has been great – perhaps one of them can step in and help you (and everyone else) out.

    Thanks for stopping by.


  8. Rob,
    Great write ups! I followed through your other series and found these really help. The hardest thing was to get my permissions correct, even though my LAN is secure as well and the users are trusted, I have to manually add the hostname and IP address to allow on each share, kind of a bummer. This is WITH Anonymous permissions enabled.

    Anyway, I would LOVE to see if you can write up a post on how to do RAID 5 setups. I have my NAS installed full on one HD that is 39 GB (currently testing now) but now I cannot use that HD as apart of the RAID 5 configuration because I cannot format it, seems like a major withdrawl having to sacrifice a full HD just because 256MB is reserved for the OS??

    Any help would be great, thanks!

  9. thanks..while i have you…

    i can successfully see the drives thru windows explorer on my home lan . i played with setting up users, but it’s not clear to me that any of the folder or file protection setups can be done within freenas.

    in other words – right now, all i have are 3 hd’s in a NAS which i can access. if i want to setup protection schemes ala USER_A can only read/write FOLDER_A, must that be done in a shell, or is there something i missed within freenas? I’m simply looking to setup shares on the NAS which are essentially password protected (or more explicitly – only available to a username/password which is identical on both the NAS and the Windows user trying to access it).


  10. @dsr – I picked UFS since it was the default (and because I also had a Mac, which I didn’t mention to keep things simple). Sure – Windows only should turn on NTFS.

    If you didn’t format the drives, they should still be NTFS. Nothing gets magically formatted.


  11. Rob, Thanks for the tutorial. I want to use Freenas purely as a NAS to backup a set of Windows machines on my LAN. I’ll probably use Syncback to handle all the backup chores. Is there a reason/advantage to leave the formatting as UFS? Wouldn’t it make more sense to format all the drives as NTFS?

    Now having said that, the drives i am using were previously formatted as NTFS and when i set them up under FREENAS, i didn’t see any formatting being done on them. Are they still NTFS? thanks


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