FreeNAS Tutorial for Windows Users – Part Two – Configuration

You can find my FreeNAS posts/Tutorials here:

In Part One we installed FreeNAS onto our server. In this section we configure FreeNAS to allow Windows File Sharing and network browsing.

1. Open a browser and type in the IP address of your server (in our example from Part One the IP address was A Logon Dialog will appear:

logon The login name is “admin” and the password is “freenas”. Enter this and click enter.

2. The main configuration screen appears as below. There are MANY options here – but most users will only need to change a few of them. The first thing we will do is change the default password. On the left hand navigation click “General” under system settings. general
3. Click the Password tab. password
4. Enter the old password and then the new password in the dialog – the new password is entered twice. pw_change

5. Click back to the General Tab.

  • Here you can rename your server. The default name is freenas, and that works for me. Feel free to change it. I haven’t played with this so I would stick with a single word with no spaces or odd characters.
  • If you are on a domain you can change the default. I’m just on a Workgroup, so I’ll leave this as local.
  • For added security you can change the admin name to something else.
  • Change the time zone so it reflects your location.
  • Click the Enable NTP checkbox to allow the server to update the clock over the Internet.

6. Before configuring anything else we will reboot the server and make sure that we can still login with our new credentials. On the left navigation under system click on Reboot, then click on Yes.

7. The system will only take a minute or so to reboot. Refresh your browser window and type in your new credentials. Next we prepare the shared drive.

8. From the Navigation Menu select Management under Disks. In the screen displayed click the circle with the plus in it to add a new disk. disk_mgt
9. There are three things to change on this page:

  • First, select your hard drive in the “Disk” drop-down. If you had only one drive this should already be selected.
  • Second, let’s save some power and allow the hard drives to power down. I set my hard disk standby time to 20 minutes.
  • Third, set the Advanced Power Management – I set mine to minimum power use with standby.
  • Click the ADD button.
  • Your changes are complete, but not applied. Click the Apply Changes button.
10. Now we need to set the mount point. Under Disks select mount point.

  • Click the circle with the plus in it.
  • On this screen “Disks: Mount Point: Add” we will leave the Type as disk. Then select your drive in Disks the drop down box.
  • Change the Partition drop-down to “2”.
  • Leave the file system as USF.
  • Name the mount point. I’ll call mine data.
  • Enter a description (example – “Backup data”)
  • Click on Add
  • Now click on Apply Changes. Make sure the Status reads “OK”. If it doesn’t delete the mount (circle with the X in it) and go back to the beginning of step 10 and try again.
11. Now we set up sharing. On the Navigation Menu select CIFS/SMB from the Services menu.

  • Click the enable tick-box (highlighted in the image above).
  • Change the NetBiosName if you would like. I call mine “freenas”. (I have a vivid imagination)
  • If you are on a workgroup, enter the name here. My workgroup is “LAGESSE”, so that is what I typed.
  • Now enter a description. Again, I used my imagination and typed in “File Server”
  • Ignore everything else on this page. Scroll to the bottom and click “Save and Restart”.
12. Now on the CIFS/SMB page click the “Shares” tab up top

  • Click the circle/plus to add a share
  • We’ll create a share called Data. Type Data in for the name.
  • Enter a comment (My Data works for me).
  • Click the box with the three dots to the right of Path.
  • In the pop-up click on the folder name (in my case, data). Then click on OK.
  • I turn on the Recycle Bin. Your choice.
  • Click on Add then Apply Changes.

Almost done! One more thing to set up.

13. Under Services click on NFS.

  • Click the tick-box For Enable.
  • Click the circle with the plus in it to add an authorized network.
  • In the next screen type in the IP Address of your network. Example – if your server’s IP address is type in here. In any case, just make the first three parts of this the same as your server and make the last part a 1.
  • Click Add
  • Back at the Services: NFS screen click on Save and Restart”.

That’s it! As you can see there are a lot of settings we didn’t mess with. You may want to, or need to change some of these. That is beyond the scope of this simple tutorial.

So let’s go test our new server!

First, the browser test. In your web browser type \\servername and press enter (since I called my server freenas, I type \\freenas\ into my web browser and the following dialog appears:


As you can see – this is a standard Windows Explorer view showing my server and the share I created, Data. There is no printer installed on my server, and I haven’t played with that option, but the printer icon shows as well.

Now I can map a network drive using the UNC of \\freenas\data.

That’s all there is to it. You can go and add additional shares to point to subdirectories in Data – I created folders called Music, Pictures, Movies, Videos, and Users (where I created folders for me and my kids). You can also set up users and groups and limit access to these shares based on the user/group.

There are a ton of features I haven’t even discussed. This tutorial just focused on getting the Windows File Sharing and Browsing set up. The FreeNAS Knowledgebase has a ton of additional information.


  1. Thanks for the simplified guide. I tried Openfiler, but could not figure out how to get one of the drives to show. I loaded Freenas in no time and configuration looks much easier.

  2. instead of getting WHS I thought I would try FreeNAS. Set it up and it is running fine. I installed the OS on an old HDD and added a new big drive. However when I try and add a second big drive (identical) I cannot get it mounted, keep getting “Error-Retry”. It has been installed & formatted UFS.
    I wanted to have just a bunch of drives, as opposed to RAID so that if one drive goes down, I don’t lose all the data.
    Any ideas? Thanks.

    • After looking into it further, I don’t believe that it is possible to add more drives (like you can in Windows) without turning them into a RAID. The RAID5 seemed to be the best option, so that is what I ended up doing.

      • Hi John,

        I’m pretty sure you FreeNAS doesn’t stop you from adding multiple drives (that’s what the JBOD RAID type is: “Just a bunch of drives”). So, if you are having trouble adding a 3rd drive, then you’re either doing something wrong, or there is a problem with the HD.

        I’m not a Linux or FreeNAS expert, I’m just poking around with it, but I do have a VM setup running FreeNAS and I’ve set it up for with multiple drives, no probs. For each drive you’ll need to add the disk, format the disk, mount the disk, and then create a share on the disk.

        If you added the disk without problem, try checking the SMART status of the HD. Maybe it’s unhappy.

        I’d suggest you reconsider the RAID approach though: The beauty of a RAID array, is if a drive fails (will happen eventually) you don’t lose ANY data, since the other disk has a constantly-maintained backup. If you just have a bunch of single drives, you’ll lose the data on the failed drive. The only downside, of course, with a RAID array is you get less total storage space – but if that’s a concern, you should consider a RAID 5 approach. I started looking into FreeNAS b/c I wanted a 1TB RAID-5 NAS solution for under $200 (I have old spare PCs I can use).

        • Indeed.

          The problem, IMHO, with JBOD & Raid0/1 is complete data loss if one drive fails.

          This is why I ended up running a RAID5 configuration. I used four 2tb drives and ended up with 5.3 tb of space. The loss of space is okay since it has redundancy.


  3. Vara Prasad says:

    I am new to this , I don’t understand why I could not access my freenas i am trying it for trying purpose i use VMware 7 with PDC, ADC and one client i configured nas in client system , but i could not even ping to my domain please help me i desperately in need of this

    • Vara Prasad says:

      at last I was able to ping Iam using windows 2003 when i am typing IP its taking me to the same configuration menu plz help me

  4. Very nice and what more important VERY useful. Thank You!


  5. Hi, I have been managing, building and playing with pc’s since they first appeared in the early 80’s. Last year decided to move my server onto Ubuntu – gave up in frustration, just couldn’t get anywhere with it. Earlier this year decided to try FreeNAS on an old PC with a 500Gb drive put in. Installation was dead easy and SOOO quick, but fell flat on my face trying to see it from the Windows PC’s. Found your website, followed your lead, WOW so easy when you follow the instructions (not something that comes easy to me – what are manuals for?!) The system had been brilliant, 100% uptime, only reboots have been when we have lost the power (thanks to EON). Just decided to move all my media files onto a separate drive on the system, read your notes above, FOLLOWED THEM, step by step – perfect first time. Can’t ask for more, keep up the good work, FreeNAS + Your notes = 1 BRILLIANT SYSTEM,
    Many, many thanks

  6. This guide is EPIC! I had so much trouble understanding the userguides of freeNAS on their website and then I found your blog! Now I’m glad I did, for I am now heading towards my goal of making my own iTunes server for this house. It’s much more fun to be able to do things myself, rather than rely on a Windows iTunes server. And I’m learning about things I never did along the way! Thank you!

  7. Hi, I am working for a hospital and I have been trying to make freenas work for about two days now. I only wanted to have some shares for intermidiate backup. All I read here was easy enough to figure out but still AD integration is not working at all. If you search for it, you finde nothing in the internet. Conclusion: it is much cheaper to buy a Windows-License and do it this way (considerring the costs for my working time + so on).
    Since no one seams to be interested in real Userguides this will only stay a toy for private use. This is my opinion.

    • I have different versions of this server in over 100 homes and businesses ,it works great and if you can’t read the manuals how are you going to setup any thing Microsoft ,spend 10 minute RTFM and setup is a breeze!

  8. Gray (newbie) says:

    I have followed the tutorial although i am using FreeNAS 0.7.2 (Sabanda):
    everything seems to be fine until i get to the end and type my \\servername.
    I get the freenas page instead of the Windows Explorer view.
    any help please

  9. Newbie says:


    Thanks for the reply, I’ve managed to get the write permissions granted now, however now I have a more fundemental problem.

    I can now create files, however the machine is made up 3 drives, 1 flash drive where the FreeNas runs from and 2 HDD’s (not in a RAID array). During set up I added the 2 HDD’s via the disk management, then I’ve gone in and created a share with the path set to \mnt, however files I created copy etc to the share seem to be going to the flash drive and not the HDD’s, am I missing something massively obvious here? (probably).

    My first thought is to do with the path being set to \mnt but I dont know what to change this to, sorry if I’m being an idiot, just failing to see the obvious here.


    • Newbie says:

      ignore me, I completely missed out the above bit about mount points!!!!!

      Sorry and thanks.

  10. Newbie says:


    I’m a total newb to this, I’ve managed to set up FreeNas (0.7.1), I’ve created the share (CIFS\SMB) and my windows machine can access it, however when I to and create a file on the share I get permissions denied, I’ve check the ‘read only’ setting on the share and all appears good, any idea’s? It’s driving me mad!

    • Ananymous says:

      Just a guess, but make sure the drive in the freenas setting is write enabled.

      • Mike Morrow says:

        I found the problem (a very esoteric bit of trivia about mount points and space and privs) but FreeNAS is WAY too broken to use for commercial production. It falls over in SO many ways and I quit trying some months ago after wasting about two months and some cash with it. You can safely ignore my thread. In two words: FreeNAS SUX!

        End of line.

        • Mike, if you quit months ago, why are you still here whining? Moreover, since FreeNAS _is_ used quite a bit in commercial production, your problems were most likely of the PEBCAK variety.

          • Jack, thanks for jumping in. I’ve had several detractors make rude comments in the years since I initially wrote this post. (It seems a lifetime ago). I just tend to ignore them. The ones that don’t drop the f-bomb every other word, I publish. The others perish πŸ™‚

            I’m amazed how many page views this old post still gets. I hope that means it is still helpful.

            As much as I would like to update it, I just don’t have the time.

            If anyone wants to create a similar, more contemporary series, I will certainly link to it from here.

            I just really hate it when people ask questions I can no longer answer! πŸ™‚

            Thanks again,


          • Mike Morrow says:

            When people write to me, I answer. That seems easy enough to understand. I asked questions here and elsewhere and got few reasonable answers or more likely NONE at all. So where are all these people with this junk in production? As far as I counted there are NONE! I used all the patience I had, waited and tried and implemented the miniscule answers I got and, still, after it was running, it would let me load it up and then fail before I could move it to production. I hear defenders but have heard exactly ZERO people who use this, currently, in production. I would love to work with someone who is a pro and list the exact steps and see where the problem is. Well, less now than before, I used something else to get the functions I need. After (lost count of) months of waiting, STILL, something useful has NOT happened. Yes, I had a lot to learn and did. And then tried to use it and it would not continue to run more than a couple of days, maybe up to five and then, that was it. Start over! And this was with disparate HDs and CPUs, Power Supplies, etc. No common point of failure. I am not stupid. I have been working with computer for over 30 years. I can tell junk when I see it and that is what I saw.

            If you don’t want me to answer, don’t mention my name or refer to my posts. Simple? Seems so. Does that answer your question? Hope so, jack. I will not mention where you can put your PEBCAK, whatever that is…

            • Frederick says:

              PEBCAK – Problem Exists Between Chair And Keyboard πŸ™‚

            • Rob Devery says:

              You have worked with computers for over 30 years and you can’t get freenas to work. I really wouldn’t like to have you working for my company.

              I setup FreeNas in my offices (5) to server over 150 employees and also use it at home to store and serve up media and have had no problems. Setup was a walk in the park and up time has been 100% with no issues. It has been running for 326 days consecutively and no issues.

              PEBCAK is also my opinion.

        • you sir, suck!

    • I’ve also just tried FreeNAS and agree. It’s not that it’s hard to use, but the simple things require trips to 3 different places. To add a CIFS share, it’s very easy. But you also have to add a ZFS dataset first. And set it’s permissions.

      And a lot of the dialogs don’t really save me any time or explain themselves any better than simply logging into a server by SSH and editing configs by hand – So why bother?

  11. Mike Morrow says:

    FreeNAS is knocking me down. It seems like the group authorizations are ineffective. There are groups that I have in my ID but cannot get to unless my username is in the user for the folder.

    I am missing something basic or FreeNAS is completely broken. Help, please.
    drwxr—– 10 mikey classroom 512 Mar 23 16:46 classroom
    if it says classroom classroom, mikey cannot get to it although classroom is listed as a group in mikey (via CIFS/SMB to Windows XP). Same problem for other users/groups. What am I missing?

    FreeNAS version 0.7.1 Shere (revision 5065)


    • Hi Mike,
      Did you try to enable permission inheritance in CIFS/SMB Shares?


      • Mike Morrow says:

        I finally gave up. The actual trouble was that, in my newbie state, I was setting the top level (/mnt/directory) permissions to drwxrwx— as that seemed like the secure way to do it. That meant that I was the only one who could see anything below. It seems insecure to have “public” have total permissions on the top level directory. When I set it off, everything stopped except for me, as owner of that directory. I was so new that I did not connect that action with the following lockout. Sometimes it was several days before the second action followed the first. I finally realized it must be drwxrwxrwx to function. I got no help on, just sarcasm and beratement for being new to all of this *nix and Free* stuff. I never did figure out how to edit a file on FreeNAS.

        But moreover, FreeNAS is exceptionally fragile. I have worked with it for over a month and installed in various configurations with and without CF and/or Flash thumb drive. When I could get it to work, it would work for a while then break in one of several different ways. It was too much trouble and I have to have a dependable solution for my business.

        The final time, I was loading up one of the two drives in the box. I decided to stop and exposed another share in CIFS on the other drive so I could push the 100Mbps line to the max. I did this and restarted the loading of the share I was previously loading and… nothing! There was an error message about an access problem (I forget the exact wording). So I rebooted but never could get to a share on either disk again. That’s just too fragile! I wish it was more robust. Would love to work with a developer but I guess development is going to OpenVault(whatever) now.

        That’s the way it stands right now. Powered down for good, I expect. I am stubborn, stayed with this project far too long and really wanted it to work but, alas, it has beaten me. About 5-6 weeks of learning and screaming and beating my head against the wall has ended. It feels good to stop. I am still irritated but it will pass. 3 motherbords/3 power supplies/4 different hard drives/CF/Thumb/various other options… All a total waste.

        Network performance GREAT. I could easily hit 85Mbps loading one drive, 98-99Mbps loading 2 different drives (when it worked).

        Product performance LOUSY!!!

        Netgear ReadyNAS Duo ordered today. Off to the commercial solution zone.

        Mike Morrow

  12. Flip Breukers says:

    I gave up on Freenas. The problems I experienced solved themselves but the network performance was too poor. I have a cabled Gigabyte network but the performance from Freenas was slower than that of a 100 network. I finally installed Vista on the NAS machine which is overkill but good performance.

  13. Great tutorial installed Freenas and I am up and running now just have to tweak it to my flavor Thank you keep up the good work !

  14. i was having trouble too with permissions, and i finally figured out that you can easily change the permissions for directories with the QuiXplorer file manager. Just go into /mnt and then your network share and in the right hand column called Perm’s, you can click the permissions and change them so anybody can write to them. Problem solved.

  15. Georges Orwell says:


    Why do you say that we must put the dropdown partition on 2 ?
    Can we have multiple share at the same level of data ?