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(The following questions are only a DRAFT for the Top 10 Q&A and are not in order of how frequently they're asked. Questions 7-9 are related)


Can I start with X number of disks and then add more later? (UFS vs. ZFS)

A. ZFS supports adding more disks via mirrors. But vdevs cannot have more disks added later. Once a VDev has been created it cannot be "expanded" like some hardware RAIDs. This is a common complaint among home users of ZFS because it makes expanding your server difficult.

How do I replace a bad drive - Can it be larger/smaller?

A. Your replacment disk must be the same size or bigger than the zpool partition that is used on the disk. The default configuration is for the zpool to use the entire disk(minus 2GB for swap space), so any replacement disk must be the same size or bigger.

Note: While your replacement disk can be bigger than your original disk all disks in a VDev must be the same size for ZFS to "expand" to fill the new disk space.

I get "Error getting used space" or "The selected disks were not verified for this import rule" when trying to import, what's wrong?


How do I setup permissions....?


My Transfers are slow, hang after awhile, and/or I can't access the GUI or SSH, transfers burst then pause.

A. First you need to verify if it is a disk issue or network issue.

Disk issues can be tested using dd commands to create a test file. For example: dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/<yourzpoolorUFSname>/testfile bs=1m count=50000. To saturate Gb LAN you typically will need speeds over about 200MB/sec.

Network issues can be tested using iperf. You will need to setup an iperf server and client for the test. Speeds over about 90% of your theoretical network speed should exclude network issues as a possible problem. You can also verify that your connection from the server to your network switch is at the proper speed by running the command ifconfig -a | grep media

Some people have had random network issues resolve themselves by using Intel NICs.

I can't seem to log in to my CIFS share using username and password. I get "Username and password do not match".

A.Keep in mind of a few things:

  • The "admin" account that you use to log into the GUI is not a real account. It is only valid for the GUI.
  • The "root" account that you use is a real account, and doesn't have to have the same password as the "admin" account.
  • You can always change account passwords from the GUI by going to Account -> Users -> View Users. Then click the "Change Password" button for the applicable user.

How can I install packages for FreeBSD that are not included on FreeNAS®?

A.Packages that you want to install on FreeNAS should be installed to the jail only. The FreeNAS installation has very limited disk free space and needs that free space to function properly. Additionally, any files you install on the FreeNAS partition will be lost when you upgrade FreeNAS.

How do I install FreeNAS® on a hard drive?

A.Burn the ISO to a CD, boot from the CD on the server(or any other computer you have handy if the server has no CDROM drive) and simply select a hard drive as the destination.

Whenever I make changes to config files or settings on the root filesystem '/' they keep disappearing after a reboot, why?

A. The USB stick is mounted in read-only mode to ensure longevity of the boot drive. To make changes you need to do the following from the CLI.

  1. mount -uw /

make the applicable changes you want

  1. mount -ur /

The last command may take some time to execute. Be patient and it will eventually save all of the changes to the USB stick.

Note that many of the files on FreeNAS are generated on the fly when FreeNAS boots up. Depending on what file you edit your changes may be immediately overwritten on a reboot.

How do I clone my boot disk/USB flash disk?

A.Don't worry about cloning your USB stick. FreeNAS has a feature that allows you to download or upload your config file. Simply keep a backup of your config file(System -> Settings -> Save Config) on your desktop and in the event of any issues you simply have to install FreeNAS to a new USB stick and upload your config file(System -> Settings -> Upload Config).

Total time to replace a failed USB stick if you have a spare USB stick that is blank: about 15 minutes.

How do I backup or copy folders/datasets/files/snapshots to an external drive or copy an external drive to my FreeNAS® volume? (Rsync / Cron stuff)


How do I upgrade from FreeNAS 7 to FreeNAS® 8.x?


In short, there is no direct upgrade path. To upgrade to any version from FreeNAS 7 you need to install FreeNAS to a USB stick and setup FreeNAS from scratch. Your old zpools should be safe and should import easily using the "auto-import" function in FreeNAS 8+. As long as you do not upgrade your zpool version you can easily return to FreeNAS 7 by simply booting from your FreeNAS 7 disk.

This allows you to use FreeNAS 7 during normal business hours and then switch to FreeNAS 8 in the evening while you setup FreeNAS with the proper settings. After FreeNAS 8+ is setup you can simply remove the FreeNAS 7 disk from the computer and upgrade your zpool to the current version.

Note: Once you upgrade your zpool to the current version you will no longer be able to use FreeNAS 7 to access the zpool.

Where Do I Find PlugIns for FreeNAS® 8.2?


Can I encrypt the data on FreeNAS?

A. Full disk encryption(FDE) is supported starting with FreeNAS 8.3.1. FreeNAS uses geli to achieve AES-128 bit encryption of your disks. This is not the same encryption used by Oracle in v30 of ZFS and is not compatible with any other software such as NAS4Free.

FDE is single threaded on a per-disk basis. There is a significant performance penalty with using encryption. Some CPUs have been benchmarked and are available for viewing at http://forums.freenas.org/threads/encryption-performance-benchmarks.12157/. If your CPU is not listed please benchmark your CPU and provide it to the thread for future visitors. Generally speaking, any CPU that does not support AES-NI will perform very slowly. Some low powered CPUs without AES-NI support have been known to perform at <20MB/sec.

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Can a RAID-Z array be expanded? For example, if I start off with a 8x2TB RAID-Z2 array can I add more drives to it in the future?

A. You can add drives to a volume, but not to a RAIDZ group. For example, if your volume is a 3 drive RAIDZ, you can add another 3 drive RAIDZ in the future, giving you a RAIDZ+0. But you can't change it to a 4 drive RAIDZ. This a limitation/feature of ZFS.

If my hardware/motherboard dies, can I rebuild with new/different hardware and still import/read the data from my disks? What about my datasets?

A. Yes, as long as you aren't using hardware RAID and let ZFS handle the RAID, A dataset is basically a folder/directory that lives on your volume with your other files, but which has a separate mount point, such as /mnt/your-pool/dataset_1.

Can I share files from my external USB drive?

A. No, at this time the GUI does not support this. This should be fixed in a later version.

Can I mount my MAC formatted drive?

A. No, at this time FreeNAS® and FreeBSD do not support mounting HFS/HFS+ filesystems.

My network transfer speeds are very slow, what is wrong?

A. You need to determine whether the bottleneck is your LAN, your disks/array/controller, not enough RAM, your CPU load, a misconfiguration, the type of share in use, or that some tuning is required.

  • if you're using a 10-100Mb/s wired router/switch you should get somewhere around 11-12MB/s
  • if you're transferring across the Internet, your speed will only be as fast as your slowest link
  • if you're using a Gig interface, check that it is properly enabled on both the switch and the FreeNAS® system. To check the FreeNAS® system, run this command at the console:
ifconfig -a | grep media

If it is not showing at 1000Mb/s, add the following line to the Options field of the interface's settings: media 1000baseTX mediaopt full-duplex.

Why do changes I make at the command line to config files or settings disappear after a reboot?

A. FreeNAS® is booted from a compressed filesystem and the configuration that is stored in a database is loaded into RAM. Any changes made at the command line do not get added to the configuration database. While you can make changes persist using the tips in this forum post, those changes won't survive an upgrade and it is not recommended to manually add command line edits to the database. Instead, if the functionality you desire is not possible through the GUI, go to support.freenas.org and search to see if a feature request to add that functionality already exists. If there is no existing ticket, create a ticket describing the needed functionality.

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