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A not-always-intuitive WebGUI is the key to FreeNAS’s powerful features
Once you’ve finished your initial FreeNAS setup, you shouldn’t need a connected mouse, keyboard, or monitor anymore (unless your mobo won’t boot without a keyboard). The rest of the configuration process, as well as any maintenance you’ll perform from now on, will be done through the WebGUI using any computer on your home network. To access the WebGUI, type your server’s internal IP address into a browser window. In our previous example, that means http://192.168.1.250:80. Log in with username “admin” and password “freenas.” We’ll change this in the next step.
The first thing you’ll want to do is change the password. Go to the System drop-down menu and pick General, then click the Password tab. Type in the default admin password (“freenas”) at the prompt, then pick a new password. (If you forget it, you can reset the password to a default later, but you’ll need physical access to your server.) While you’re here, don’t forget to go back to the General tab and enable HTTPS login.
Remember those instructions we told you to write down in Step 4 of the installation process? Well, now you’re gonna use them. In the WebGUI, go to Disks > Management. Click the plus button to add a disk, then pick your primary disk from the drop-down menu. Ours was ad4, which is FreeBSD jargon for ATA Disk 4—it’s attached to SATA controller 4. Give it a description so you’ll remember which drive is which, then click the radio button to activate S.M.A.R.T. disk management. That’s useful. Hit Save, and don’t forget to Apply Changes back at the Disk Management screen.
Next, we’ll set up a mount point. You won’t be storing anything on your FreeNAS partition; there’s only 128MB of space there and most of it is full already. Instead, all your disks will be mounted as subdirectories of your /mnt/ folder. Go to Disks > Mount Point, and click the plus button, just like you did to mount the disk itself. For Type, select Disk. From the drop-down menu, choose the disk you mounted in the previous step (ad4, in our case).
Provided you’re adding the data partition you set up in the installation process, you’ll choose MBR partition as the Partition Type. For Partition Number, choose 2 (1 is the OS partition you created earlier—you can’t configure that). Name your mount point something memorable. Last, you can set up access restrictions by group or by user. It’s always better to assign group permissions and then make users part of specific groups, rather than assign specific permissions to each user.
Now that you have a mounted drive, it’s time to configure it. Navigate to the Services menu and go to CIFS/SMB. Click the Enable button under Settings. Choose your authentication method; we’re going with Anonymous for now, since all the computers we’re using are on the same network and we’re not worried about other people accessing the server. Set your NetBIOS name and workgroup name (if you have a home workgroup). We used freenas and WORKGROUP, respectively. In Advanced Settings, check “Enable large read/writes” and “Enable use sendfile.”
Now go to the Shares tab. Create a new share by clicking the plus icon. We’ve called ours Aleph, the same as our data partition, because that’s what we’ll be mounting. At the Path menu, enter your mount point from earlier—in our case, that’s /mnt/aleph. We’ll check the boxes for “Set browseable,” and “Create recycle bin.” Click Save and then Apply Changes. For Apple sharing, enable AFP; for Linux/unix, enable NFS.
Next, we’ll map drives in Windows Explorer. Go to the address bar and type \\[servername]. In our case, that’s \\freenas. You should see the share folder you named (Aleph, in our case). Right-click it and select Mount Network Drive. Now you can access your FreeNAS server’s storage area directly from My Computer. If you want, you can create separate network shares for your media folders: We created Music, Movies, TV Shows, Photos, and others. Create subdirectories of your main share, then repeat the steps we just described to set them up as shares and map them.
FreeNAS is still a work in progress, and the version we are using (0.7RC2) doesn’t have an easy way to set per-user and per-group permissions for individual files and folders. However, you can control how much access users get to the web panel. Go to Access > Users and Groups. There’s not much to do here yet, but you can still create a group called Users, and then add individual users to that group. You can assign each user a home directory, as well as additional user groups.