NAS4Free is open source software used to create a Network Attached Storage server. By repurposing an old desktop PC and a handful of disk drives you can have an excellent NAS server that can be used by any of the devices on your network. NAS4Free also has a number of other optional services including FTP, Torrent, Web server and Media server. When you go to the NAS4Free web site there will be a number of considerations you will need to address for the hardware. The entire NAS4Free software OS is recommended to be installed on a 8GB USB Thumb drive. The installation and configuration is relatively simple however, creating a Windows Share drive that you can mount as a drive letter is a little tricky.
Login to NAS4Free server
After the installation is completed the NAS4Free console will let you know the IP address of the server, in this example it is 192.168.1.19 as determine by the network DCHP server. Open a browser to this page to get the login
Setting up ZFS filesystem
It is recommended that you create a ZFS file system to take advantage of multiple disks, in this example there are two 4TB physical drives in the desktop server.
The main screen of NAS4Free displays some basic information about the system and its utilization. The ZFS is located under the (Disks) menu selection.
The first step in a ZFS file system is to create a virtual drive from your collection of physical disks.
The Type of Virtual Disk indicates how you want to configure the drives to recover from errors. In this example (Stripe) was selected to get the maximum amount of space. The Virtual Disk name is (VD1)
The second step is to create a Pool that we can use to set up the Windows share from.
Now we have created a Pool called (Open01) from the Virtual Disk (VD1).
Configure CIFS/SMB service
Third step which is the tricky one is to configure the CIFS/SMB Service on NAS4Free. This is required for creating Windows Shares. This is done under the (Services) menu selection.
Fourth step is to configure the CIFS/SMB service.
The defaults for the CIFS/SMB service are typically good for most installations.
The Max Protocol was set to SMB3 to allow use of Windows 8.x systems to access the shared drive. The NetBIOS name is actually the server name used when creating the Windows share.
Fifth step is to create the shares by clicking on the SHARE tab on the top of the previous image
The Name (ShareNas4Free) is the windows share name. You can create multiple share names and isolate shares for specific purposes. The shares come from the Pool we created called (Open01).
Create Windows Share
Sixth step is to go to the Windows Explorer on one of the systems you want to use the NAS4Free share drive on and created a mapped drive.
Seventh step is to locate the shared drive. You can try to use the (Browse…) button but sometimes the newly created share is not immediatley available. So the alternative method is to enter the share name in the Folder field. In this example the share name is \\NAS4Free\ShareNAS4Free.
When you are successful on getting the NAS4Free share name entered you will be prompted for a NAS4Fee user to access the share. If you haven’t created a special user for this share you can use the default NAS4Free admin user (Root).
In this example the (W:) drive was mapped to the \\Nas4free server and the (ShareNas4Free) share. Now you use this drive just like any other drive on your windows system.