FreeNAS Tutorial for Windows Users – Part Three – Upgrading

You can find my FreeNAS posts/Tutorials here:

Note: I had meant for my next FreeNAS post to cover using Microsoft SyncToy 2.0 with FreeNAS. A new version of FreeNAS was released though, and I decided to upgrade my server first.

Upgrading FreeNAS is a fairly straightforward procedure.

Before continuing, please make sure that your FreeNAS server is not being used. If the server is upgraded while data is being read/written then that data could get corrupted!

The first thing to do is to back up your existing FreeNAS configuration. This is done from the browser on any Windows machine on your network.

Navigate to the server (see tutorial part 2 for information on this – link at bottom of this post).

FreeNAS 1 You will see the standard FreeNAS interface. From the left hand navigation menu select “Backup/Restore” under System.

Click on the “Download configuration” button FN2
FN3 Save the file to your computer (remember where you saved it!)

Before continuing, please make sure that your FreeNAS server is not being used. If the server is upgraded while data is being read/written then that data could get corrupted!

Now that you have a backup you can go ahead and insert the new FreeNAS install CDROM and restart your FreeNAS server. Make sure you boot from the CDROM.

Allow the CDROM to boot until the FreeNAS Screen is displayed. Press enter and you will see the following screen (you may need to wait a minute for it to fully load): fn5
fn6 We will be selecting option #9 – “Install/Upgrade to an hard drive/flash device, etc”Assuming you followed my FreeNAS install tutorial, we’ll want to select option 5 – “Upgrade existing installed ‘full’ release from CDROM”.
Enter 5 and press enter. You may get an error of “WARNING: / was not properly dismounted”. It is safe to ignore this error.Your CDROM name will be displayed (in my example it is called acdo. Type the displayed CDROM name at the prompt fn7
fn8 FreeNAS will now display the name of the drive FreeNAS is installed on. Make sure this is correct and type Y and press enter.
You may see a couple more warnings about failure to dismount drives. Ignore these errors as FreeNAS is already updating the FreeNAS system on your drive. This only takes a minute.When complete, you will see a similar screen to the image here. As suggested, remove the CDROM and press enter. fn9

Press 7 to return to the main FreeNAS window, then press 7 again to reboot the FreeNAS server.

fn10 Once the FreeNAS server completely reboots you will need to note the configured IP address (which will probably be different from what FreeNAS was previously configured for).

Type that IP address into your browser (in my case the IP Address is, as show in the image above. If prompted for a login FreeNAS may be set to the factory defaults of login name: admin and password: freenas. In my case, the original password I assigned was intact.

Click Backup/Restore from the FreeNAS menu in your browser.

FN4 Using the Browse button select the file you saved during the backup process.
Click on Restore configuration.The restore will automatically restart your FreeNAS server.

That’s it. You just backed up, upgraded, and restored your FreeNAS server!

It is important to keep the server up to date as the FreeNAS development team continues to add features, fix bugs and improve performance.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to share them below!


  1. benjamin says:

    when i put in the new cd it boots fine at first, but then says “manual root filesystem specification”
    I get stuck here.

    Please help,

    • @benjamin

      Had this problem last night.

      Not sure if this will help but i tried installing the latest revision of freenas, i think its 0.7 or something, Didnt work came up with manual root file system specification.

      Gave up, Read a few forums found that people were overcomming this issue with bios updates, Couldnt update mine cause i did what everyone does and used an OLD pc and i couldnt find the update easily.

      So i tried installing 0.69 (Download availible from)

      Worked great, the screenshots above are different layout but still very helpfull.


  2. Configuring FreeNAS. I have gotten a lot done (considering I have never run any PC environment except for Windows) in a few hours. I got everything running, installed from CD on a CF card. I have three HDs in the box. One IDE, two SATA. I can get to them all. I made the two SATAs into a RAID config with “Software RAID”. I am initializing the IDE one now.

    Trouble is with Shares. When I click the three dots, all I get is the root folders on the CF card. When I share one, I can see it just fine on the Windows machine so I am very close but there is some little bit missing about how to get the RAID SATAs and the IDE drive to be available in that “…” windows.

    What do I need to click now, please to connect them up to the “…” windows in Shares? I am so new at this, I don’t even know what the question is except that it does not work and I don’t know how to make it all better.

    Thanks for any pointers for this newby. Probably a 1 minute fix.


    • Never mind. The step I forgot was to make a Mount Point. I vaguely remember the name and finally tried that and then the devices (both) appeared in the Shares “…” box. That’s the trouble with not knowing the language. You can’t even ask a proper question!

      So, I am there. Now I have to learn how to setup all of the users and their access.

      The non-RAID disk I added was already formatted NTFS and the data survived and is accessable. How very nice! All of the other NAS boxes use some goofy formatting that I cannot work with outside the NAS box. This way, I have a backup if the box dies. I still have access to the data. That’s very important in a business environment.

      Now, the fun begins…


  3. Prakka says:

    The images are not working =(

  4. Eric Marcus says:

    Hi, I’m on FreeNAS 0.686.4 (3374) and I have it installed on one hard disk and then have my data in a software raid 5 array, works great.

    I want to upgrade to the current stable, do I need to do anything to safeguard my raid config? I have 2 TB of data I can’t easily back up!


  5. @Gary – I replied in 6 minutes – you were busy reading my About and FAQ pages πŸ™‚ Sorry for the delay (hee).

    Full version is what you want – it is meant for Hard Drives. Embedded is meant for installing on USB drives, etc. Live is just something you boot from (live CD boot)

    I think you are safe to select an “Upgrade to Full” from the current boot CD (I am testing the 0.79 beta and it looks fine to me).

    I still recommend the separate physical drive for the OS though just because it makes it easy to play with the OS without worrying about nuking your data.

    Of course, I still can’t get the uPnP working for my XBOX on anything past 0.86 – but if that isn’t a concern, go with the latest 0.79.


  6. Gee Rob, it took 11 minutes for you to reply… What took ya so long!! πŸ™‚

    When I set it up, I chose to let FreeNas create a small partition on the drive for it’s system files. I was wondering about the various options (USB, Floppy, CD etc) for config files and just went with the HD.

    Once I give it a shot with the new system, I think I’ll go with the separation you speak of. Any great hints on explaining the different versions (Full, Embedded, Live etc)


  7. @Gary – is your FreeNAS install on the same drive as the data? (If it is, I don’t recommend it – not because I have had any issues with this configuration, but because it is better (easier) to keep the OS separate from the data.

    If it is on different drives, you have no worries – FreeNAS is easily downgraded if an update cause a problem (as long as you back up the previous config first).

    But assuming you have just one drive – if you select UPGRADE from the install CD and do not reformat any drives you will be fine – I’ve done this myself with good results.

    And no – never used the email feature. I’ll try and play with it and see if I can figure out any “gotchya’s” – but no promises.


  8. Have been playing around with Freenas a little while and am looking at upgrading. Forgive my ihgnorance, but what precautions should I take for all the data that is on the FreeNas machine at this time? Give or take 100 Gb of files I really would be unhappy to lose. I will probably move them to another drive to be sure but am curious.

    As an aside, have you made use of the email reports function at all? Can’t get it to connect.




  1. […] Rob Lagesse has published the 3rd follow up in his “FreeNAS Tutorials for Windows Users” series: upgrading FreeNAS […]