FreeNAS Tutorial for Windows Users – Part One – Installation

You can find my FreeNAS posts/Tutorials here:

1. Download the most recent FreeNAS from this page.

2. Burn the ISO image to a CDROM.

3. Put the CDROM in the machine you will use as the file server. (Note – all data on the drive(s) in this machine will be destroyed. Make sure you don’t need any of it before proceeding!)

4. Reboot the computer and boot from the CDROM.

5. Allow the CD to load until you see the splash screen (below).


6. Press Enter

7. Assuming there is no data on the hard drives, select option 9 (Install/Upgrade) from the Console Setup Menu installer
8. From the install menu, select option #3 (Install ‘full’ release on hard drive) installer_menu
9. The system will now show you the names of the CDROM drive(s) in your system. Enter in the CDROM name at the prompt (in the image below this is “acd0”. cdrom
10. The system will now show you the name(s) of the hard disk(s) in your system. In the example below there is only one drive, named “ad0”. Type the name in at the prompt and press enter. harddrive

11. At the prompt for “size of the OS partition” type 64 and press enter.

The system will be installed and a final prompt (below) tells you not to format the data partition. Since we had only one hard drive in the system it was formatted as part of the system installation.

12. Simply press enter and you will return to the Install Menu install_complete

13. Press 7 to return to the main menu.

14. Remove the CDROM and press 7 to reboot the system.

15. Once the system is completely rebooted you will see the FreeNAS splash screen- press enter.

16. Note the IP Address assigned to your server. It is displayed on the top of the screen. You will need this IP Address to complete Part Two (Configuration) IPAddress

17. Congratulations! You have installed FreeNAS! In part two of this series we’ll configure FreeNAS with the Web Interface.

You are now finished with the Installation and everything else is done from a Web Browser on another machine. You can shut off the monitor on the FreeNAS server to save some power. We won’t have to physically touch this machine again.


  1. fibre channel on FREENAS any recomendation?

  2. I created an updated step by step guide with screen shots and new instructions for formatting drives with 4kb sectors.

  3. It worked perfectly. Thanks!

  4. benjamin says:

    i never get the splash screen. It goes through a bunch of code that looks like BSD and then wants manual root filesystem specification.
    No idea what to do now.

    • You know I had this issue as well. After trouble shooting the problem and thinking it must be my Hard drive controller card or something since it wanted the manual root filesystem specification I about gave up. Well maybe not, I like challenges so I went back to it at a later time. Come to find out after many attempts it was the stupid video card. I could install it on my laptop my desktop systems and in a virtual VMware system. There were two computers that gave me issues and just my luck they both had the same video card installed. My video card was a 7600GS PNY Nvidia card. The first system is an intel 850 mainboard with a socket 478 cpu @ 2.8Ghz with1GB RDRAM that is ECC, this system has 1 AGP slot and it carried the PNY 7600GS. The second system is a Supermicro MBD-PDSG4-O with a 3.4Ghz Extreme CPU and 8GB’s ECC memory and had a PCI-e PNY 7600GS PNY Nvidia card.

      Problem fixed for both after installing ATI cards, I hate ATI but you know it fixed the issue and everything is up and running. I am not going to blame Nvidia or PNY, I just think that this card is not compatible at all with BSD. I’m sure if these boards had onboard video they would have worked, well let me take that back, good onboard video cards they would have worked first try.

      I sure hope that this gives you the solve on your problem. I ended up having to borrow a friends card to test this since I got rid of most my Add-on cards a little over a year ago.

      Good luck!

  5. Thanks for the nice tutorials.

    Suppose the FreeNAS server is “opened” to the internet with appropriate security precautions. Then, is there any way to mount it on a windows system that is not on the LAN? Can you point me to a discussion link, if this is possible?

    • If your computer can support VT you can install it in VMware Player (Free). I think you can build it in there but if not the developer does have support for the download for the vmlk file that will allow you to use it virtually. You could then use a USB drive to host the share off of it. There are many good tools in FreeNAS. I currently have 3 running, i for an iSCSI target for ESX4.1 (VMware but on a server scale) 1 running a local network shares to all my computers and the last is a VMware Workstation copy that I play with so I can test things before i install to avoid taking my main system down or off line.

      VMplayer is good if your computer can handle it. You may or will have to enable this option it BIOS. If you shoot me a reply back with your computer specs I can tel you if it will support VT and or VT-d.

      I will need CPU model and your main board or if its lets say a dell the model number (aka Optiplex 980)


      Very basic intro video on VT.

  6. Nice job on creating a detailed article for setting up FreeNAS. Very easy to follow.

  7. FreeNAS is installed on it’s own machine. But then any other computer/Operating System can use the shares.

  8. hoi all,

    can i use or install freeNAS on windows server 2003, to make it as a target for my clustersystem?



  9. I’m thinking about building a FreeNas machine but I’m undecided. I would use it as a media server and to do Windows and data backups. I could easily accomplish this by adding an extra hard drive or two to one of my Windows PCs and sharing them on the network. Can you tell me some of the advantages of setting up a FreeNas server as opposed to adding hard drives to your Windows PC and sharing them? I’m guessing that the server might be more efficient and use less power because it wouldn’t be running a bunch of programs and processes like a PC would. My main concern is that backing up my Windows drive or encoding video to a hard drive on the server over a 100Mbps connection would take much longer than backing up Windows or encoding video to a second hard drive installed on my Windows PC. Any thoughts or comments on the advantages of setting up a FreeNas server would be appreciated.

    • Freenas can be used as a media server and backup network attached storage for sure. It does NOT natively encode video. If you are doing something like video editing or something on a local machine, then you should have a local drive that can do 30-40 megabytes per second in data transfer. Now if you were running gigabit video with tweaked freenas OS settings, then you might have something, but other than that, using it for backups of files that you might be editing would be fine. again, do suggest a gigabit connection to your gigabit lan

  10. @Paul PW. I think what you want to do for the PS3 is fine – and I think the easiest solution for the TiVo is to use the TiVo Desktop application on one of your Windows PCs and point TiVo Desktop to a shared drive on FreeNAS.

    Hopefully this accomplishes what you want.


  11. Paul PW says:

    I want to use FreeNAS as a file server for PCs, but also as a media server for both PS3 & TiVo. PS3 is uPnP DLNA compliant so should be fine. TiVo would require running a separate server I think: pyTiVo or Galleon or tyshow. Is a FreeNAS box capable of running other such software or am I barking up the wrong tree??
    Sorry this is OT, but I can’t find an answer elsewhere and thought you might know.


  1. […] site looks like it has some good instructions but I didn’t use it to set it up.  Enjoy! Tags: freenas, nas, network attached […]

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