Saturday, March 19, 2011

Setting up a FreeNAS

I'm pretty much done setting up a FreeNAS server for my home network. It's home to my video, music and picture files. I had been using a SimpleShare NAS I bought for $40 on eBay a couple years ago. It was 230 GB, and was getting a little bit crowded, so since we had an old XP box with a Celeron processor at 2.8GHz, I decided to set up the FreeNAS.

Setting it up was a piece of cake. Adding a 2TB drive has not been so easy. Because this is an older computer I had to buy a SATA PCI card, and it's not really working right. It hangs up the system on a reboot, but if you unplug the drive and re-connect it after it has finished rebooting, you can using the Web GUI to re-attach the share and it works just fine then.

I tried updating the BIOS on the PCI card, but it didn't work, and I was getting frustrated, so I left it at that.

I also had a bit of trouble with streaming to the XBox. The FreeNAS server would show up in the Video Library only when I clicked the "Save and Restart" button on the UPnP page, but when I selected it in the Video Library, it never found any folders and then gave me an error message. It turns out the problem was with the built in ethernet adapter. I bought a cheap NIC from newegg and now files are streaming to XBox with no problems at all.

To move the files from the SimpleShare NAS to the FreeNAS, I first mounted the SimpleShare directory on the FreeNAS box with this command:

mount_smbfs -I //SimpleShare/pictures /mnt/SimpleShare/pictures

You have to be logged in as root or you'll get an error message. Once the directory was mounted, I logged out as root, and logged back in as an ftp user, and simply copied the files over with this command:

cp -a -P /mnt/SimpleShare/pictures /mnt/2TB-DATA

The -a flag means to copy all files and subdirectories. The -P flag means retaining the file properties like Date Modified, etc., which is important if you are moving pictures and home movies.

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