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FreeNAS Setup Part 2 – Disk, User, and CIFS setup

Quick and Easy FreeNAS Tutorial

We’ve received a lot of interest from our FreeNAS install tutorials. In ‘Part I’ we covered how to install and make the most basic configuration of FreeNAS. We left off with the system now accessible from its built-in web console. In this installation of our FreeNAS Server tutorial, we’ll go through how to setup a secure shared storage by going through the following steps: freenas-logo_thumb

· Disk setup

· User access, and

· CIFS (Samba) configuration

First Things First

1. Start by launching your favorite Internet browser. In the address bar, type in the IP address assigned to your new server. In our case, it was ’’


2. If you followed everything we covered in ‘Part I’, you should now see the ‘FreeNAS Login Page’. If you do not see this, you can go through the previous tutorial and make sure all steps were followed correctly, or leave us a comment at the end of this tutorial.

3. The default username is ‘admin’, and the default password is ‘freenas’. Please note that both username and password is case-sensitive.

4. Click ‘Login’

5. Upon successfully logging into your server, you should be taken to the ‘System Status’ page, which gives a quick glance of your server’s health and status


6. First thing we are going to do is change the password to something other than the default password. To do this hover over the ‘System’ menu item and click on ‘General’


7. Click on the ‘Password’ Tab


8. Type in the default password (freenas) in the ‘Old password’ field

9. Type in your new password twice in the ‘Password’ fields

10. Click ‘Save’

11. You will be taken back to the ‘Login’ page. Go ahead and type in ‘admin’ in the ‘Username’ field, and you new password in the ‘Password’ field

Disk Setup

12. We will now setup the disk that you will be using for storage. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Disks’ menu item and click on ‘Management’

13. In the ‘Disk Management’ page, to add a disk for use click on the ‘+’ symbol towards the right side of the page

14. Under the ‘Disk’ list, select the disk you want to use for storage


15. Type in a short description of the disk in the ‘Description’ field

16. We are assuming that your disk currently does not have any content or data on it. For the sake of simplicity, the rest of the settings can be left with default values. These settings can be changed later once everything is working

17. Click on the ‘Add’ button

18. Your new disk should now be listed in the ‘Disk Management’ page. Click on ‘Apply Changes’ to save your settings


19. Next we need to format the disk. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Disks’ menu item and click on ‘Format’

20. Click on the ‘Disk’ list and select the new disk you want to format

21. Under the ‘File System’ list, click ‘UFS (GPT and Soft Updates)’. UFS, short for Unix File System is the native and optimal file system of FreeNAS.

22. The ‘Volume label’ field should appear. Type in a name you would like for your volume


23. Everything else can be left alone, and click ‘Format disk’

24. Formatting the disk will cause all data on the disk to be lost. If you are sure of this, click ‘OK’ when prompted

25. Formatting the disk may take a while depending on the size of the volume. Once the system is done, you should see a ‘Command output’ similar to the screenshot below


26. Finally, we need to tell FreeNAS where the disk is mounted. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Disks’ menu item, and click on ‘Mount Point’


27. On the ‘Disks Mount Point Management’ page, click on the ‘+’ symbol towards the right of the page

28. On the ‘Disks Mount Point Add’ page, click on the ‘Disk’ list and click on the volume you want to use


29. In the ‘Mount Point Name’ type in the name of your pointer. We chose to name it the same as our volume name

30. You can also type in a short description of the mount point in the ‘description’ field


31. Because we want this storage to be secure, we will only allow the Owner and Group to have read and write access to it. In the ‘Mode’ table, uncheck the read, write, and execute checkboxes for the ‘others’


32. Click on the ‘Add’ button

33. You should be taken back to the ‘Disk Mount Point Management’ page. You should now see your new mount point listed. Click on ‘Apply changes’ to save your settings


Your disk is now ready for use. Up next we’ll go thru adding a user that will be authorized to access the share we will create

User Access

34. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Access’ menu item and click on ‘Users and Groups’

35. Click on the ‘+’ symbol towards the right side of the page

36. Type in the username of the user that will be accessing the folder in the ‘Name’ field

a. Note that if you want the user to not be prompted for a username and password whenever accessing the share, the username and password used on their client computer should match exactly, including upper and lower case

37. Type in the ‘Full Name’ of the user

38. Type in the password, and again to confirm

39. As you may remember in the ‘Mount Point’ setup (step 31), we gave the group ‘wheel’ read, write, and execute access. Because of this, we want to add the user to the ‘wheel’ group


40. Click on the ‘Add’ button

41. Your new user should now appear on the list of users. Click on the ‘Apply changes’ button


That was easy right? You’re new user is now setup. Go ahead and add any additional users. Let’s move on to something a bit more difficult.

CIFS Configuration

CIFS, also known as Common Internet File System is the open source version of Microsoft’s Samba protocol. It is a protocol that is used by programs to initiate and receive files and services from remote computers. It’s what a Windows computer to get files from another Windows computer. CIFS is also commonly supported on many UNIX, Linux, and Apple Mac platform used without additional clients. Because it is widely supported, it is the service we will use to share our files

42. Hover your mouse cursor over the ‘Services’ menu item and click on ‘CIFS/SMB’

43. Towards the top of the page, click on the ‘Enable’ checkbox to enable the CIFS service

44. Under the ‘Authentication’ list, select on ‘Local User’

45. Under the ‘NetBIOS name’ field, type in how you would like your server to appear when being accessed from remote computers

46. Under ‘Workgroup’, type in the name of your workgroup or domain

47. Under the ‘Description’ field, type in an optional description of your server


48. Scroll towards the bottom of the page and click on the ‘Save and Restart’ button

49. This ‘Services CIFS/SMB Settings’ page should refresh with your settings saved. Click on the ‘Shares’ tab

50. Click on the ‘+’ symbol towards the right of the page


51. In the ‘Services CIFS/SMB Share Add’ page, type the name of your share in the ‘Name’ field

52. Type a description of it in the ‘Comment’ field

53. In the ‘Path’ section, click on the ‘ellipsis’ (…) button

54. This should open a pop-up window. Your mount-point should be listed, and it should be an HTML link. Click on it, which should append it to the path text field

55. Click the ‘Ok’ button


56. OPTIONAL: The ‘Set read only’ checkbox will make this share read-only, even overriding the mount-point permissions

57. OPTIONAL: The ‘Set browseable’ checkbox will make it visible even if the user viewing it does not have permissions to it. If you want the folder hidden, you want to un-check this

58. OPTIONAL: The ‘Hosts allow’ field, will allow you to specify the IP address or hostname of the nodes computers that have access to this. Alternatively, you can implicitly deny access to computers listed in the ‘Hosts deny’ field

59. Finally, the ‘Auxiliary parameters’ field is where we can specify the users or groups that have access to this share. Type in ‘valid users = @group’ where group is the name of the group. The ‘@’ symbol tells CIFS that this is the name of the group instead of an individual user which you can input. For our example, we typed in ‘valid users = @wheel’


60. Once complete, click on the ‘Add’ button

61. You should now see your new share listed. Click on the ‘Apply Changes’ button

62. Click on the ‘Settings’ tab


63. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on ‘Save and Restart’ to restart the CIFS service

Congratulations!  That’s it! Your Network Attached Storage (NAS) server should now be accessible from the network and should now be accessible from your Windows, Mac, and/or Linux machine.


As always, if it seems like you had any issues or if you want additional tutorials on the many features of FreeNAS feel free to leave us a comment below!


About the Author

John ReyesJohn, a seasoned IT professional working in the field since the Dot-Com Era, currently works as a system engineer for a large health care organization. In addition to his full time job, John also specializes in small business consulting, data recovery, forensics and freelance writing. He is also very active in the open-source community. When he’s not in front of a computer, you’ll usually find him mountain biking on a hill somewhere.View all posts by John Reyes

  1. Exercise Balls
    Exercise Balls12-03-2010

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  2. Keith_T

    Thanks guys this tutorial rocks, i have all my movie and data in multiple drive, now i have everything in one place. If i was able to follow these steps anyone can, I think the screenshot helped out alot. Keep up the awesome work!

  3. Tim

    Hi john, I'm having some problems with getting my Windows share/CIFS to work. I'm not sure where I have gone wrong. I followed the steps down to the letter, but when I click on the share (which does show up), it asks me for credentials instead of auto-authenticating me with my computer's user account.

  4. John Reyes
    John Reyes07-06-2011

    Hi Tim. Thanks for checking out our article. Can you try steps 34 to 41, then reboot the server? Remember that unlike Windows, both UNIX login names and passwords are case sensitive. Make sure that the username and password you set in steps 34 to 41 are exactly the same as your Window's login name and password. If it lets you in but keeps prompting for a username and password, make sure you click the 'Remember my password' checkbox. Let us know whether or not this works.

  5. Gordon

    Thanks John – great guide, saved me a ton of screwing around! 😀

  6. Tim

    Thank you for tutorial.

  7. Mark

    John, the transfer speed here using cifs is only 7mb/s. Is that correct? Thanks for the tutorial

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