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).


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