How to Set Up an External USB Drive in FreeNAS
By Chris Hoffman
Updated September 28, 2017
FreeNAS is a free and open source network-attached storage, or NAS, operating system. Computers running FreeNAS can be configured from a Web-based configuration page. NAS devices provide centralized network file storage and sharing with protocols such as FTP or standard Windows CIFS/SMB. FreeNAS can store files on internal hard drives as well as external USB drives after the drives are set up. FreeNAS formats the external USB drive while setting it up, erasing all existing data on the drive.
Connect the external USB drive to the computer running FreeNAS using the included USB cable.
Type “http://192.168.8.128” into your Web browser’s address bar and press “Enter.” If you configured FreeNAS to use a different IP address, type that instead.
Type “admin” into the “User Name” box and “freenas” into the “Password” box and click “OK.” If you configured a different user name or password on FreeNAS, type them instead.
Click “Disks” at the top of the configuration page and click “Management.”
Click the plus-sign icon at the right side of the Disk Management page.
Click the “Disk” drop-down box, click the name of the USB drive in the list and click “Add.”
Click “Apply Changes” on the Disk Management page.
Click “Disks” at the top of the configuration page and click “Format.”
Click the “Disk” box, click the name of the USB drive in the list, leave the “File System” box as the default “UFS (GPT and Soft Updates),” click “Format Disk” and click “OK.”
Click “Disks” at the top of the page after “Done!” appears on the screen and click “Mount Point.”
Click the plus-sign icon at the right side of the Mount Point page.
Click the “Disk” drop-down box and click the name of the USB drive in the list.
Type a share name into the “Share Name” box. This name identifies the external USB drive on the network.
Type a description for the share in to the “Description” box, if desired.
Click “Add” and “Apply Changes.”
Click “Services” at the top of the page and click the type of network share you’re using, such as “CIFS/SMB” for standard Windows shares.
Click the “Enable” checkbox at the top-right corner of the page, configure the service using the options on the page if it’s not already configured and click “Save.”
Click the “Shares” tab at the top of the page.
Click the plus-sign icon.
Type a name and comment for the share into the “Name” and “Comment” boxes.
Click the “...” button to the right of the “Path” box, browse to the external USB drive’s mount point in the “/mnt” directory and click “OK.”
Configure your external USB drive share using the options on the page and click “Save.”
Don’t remove mounted USB drives from the FreeNAS computer or it may reboot.
Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around tech geek who writes for PC World, MakeUseOf, and How-To Geek. He's been using Windows since Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.