Installing NAS4Free
Posted on April 9, 2013

Installation onto USB stick

You will need 2 USB memory sticks at least 512MB in size. One will become your machine's boot drive. Try to choose reliable, branded units.


The installation takes 3 parts:

  1. Create installation stick
  2. Boot installation stick
  3. Install NAS4Free onto destination stick.

1. Create installation ("source") stick

This stage can be conducted on any Windows machine you have handy. You will need 2 files to install the NAS4Free operating system:

1. The "Win32 Disk Imager" tool which is available from

2. The NAS4Free disk image, which is available from

Click on the most recent version (currently, then the latest build (currently, then choose the "LiveUSB" image. Choose 64-bit (x64) if your processor supports it, otherwise choose 32-bit (x86).

Once you have downloaded these files, insert your first (installation) USB stick into a USB slot.

Writing the disk image to your USB stick

Press the Windows Key and E together to bring up "My Computer". Note the drive-letter of the USB drive (e.g. H:).

Unzip the "Win32 Disk Imager" file, double-click on the Win32DiskImager.exe file and click "yes" to any User Account Control questions.

Click on the blue "disk" icon and browse for your "LiveUSB" NAS4Free image.

Select the correct drive letter for your USB key in the "device" section.


Once this is finished, press Windows Key+E again to bring up My Computer, now right-click on the USB drive and click "Eject". Remove the drive when Windows tells you it's safe to do so.

A bit of background information:

The key you have in your hand is a "Live" version of NAS4Free. It is designed as a "try before you buy" installation. It will operate as a full installation but does not save its configuration between reboots. The next stages of the installation create a permanant "embedded" system.

2. Boot installation stick

Power on your NAS system and boot from the memory stick. This is most easily achieved by pressing the "boot menu" key during initial boot-up.

The Boot Menu is usually accessed by either the F8, F10, F11 or F12 key when booting, depending on your motherboard. For instance on the Gigabyte E350N use F12. Many Jetway motherboards use F11.

Some BIOSes do not have boot menu, so the first boot device will need to be temporarily changed in the BIOS to your USB Stick.

If all goes well you will be presented with immediately see some text like this:

BTX loader 1.00 BTX version is 1.02
Consoles: internal video/keyboard
BIOS CD is cd0
BIOS drive C: is disk0
BIOS drive D: is disk1
BIOS 636kB/261056kB available memory

3. Install NAS4Free onto destination stick

Your system should now boot into NAS4Free "Live", eventually you should be presented with a menu like this one:

Console setup
 1) Configure Network Interfaces
 2) Configure Network IP Address
 3) Reset WebGUI Password
 4) Reset to Factory Defaults
 5) Ping Host
 6) Shell
 7) Reboot System
 8) Shutdown System
 9) Install/Upgrade NAS4Free from LiveCD/LiveUSB

At this point you should also insert your "destination" USB memory stick and choose option 9. You will now see the following menu:

1 Install 'Embedded' OS on CF/USB Flash Drive or Hard Drive
2 Install 'Embedded' OS on HDD/Flash/USB + DATA + SWAP partition
3 Install 'Full' OS on HDD + DATA + SWAP partition
4 Upgrade 'Embedded' OS from LiveCD
5 Upgrade 'Full' OS from LiveCD
4 Upgrade 'Embedded' OS from LiveCD/LiveUSB
5 Upgrade 'Full' OS from LiveCD/LiveUSB
6 Upgrade and convert 'Full' OS to 'Embedded'

As you wish to install an "embedded" version of the OS (which is most easily upgraded later), choose option #1. Which should show you the following page:

NAS4Free 'embedded' installer for Flash device or HDD.
- Create 1 partition for OS image
- Uses a RAM disk to limit read/write access to the device
Warning: There will be some limitations:
1. This will erase ALL partition and data on the destination disk
2. You can't use your destination disk for sharing data
Installing on USB key is the preferred way:
It saves you an IDE or SCSI channel for more hard drives.

Choose "OK". You will now be asked for the "source" stick - the stick you created using the steps above. This stick should be automatically detected so just press Enter.

Now choose the destination stick. This stick will be over-written with the embedded NAS4Free operating system. This will probably be labelled as da0 or da1.

Your NAS4Free OS will now be installed. Once installed return to the menu and choose option #8 "Shutdown System".

Once your system has shutdown, remove the "source" USB stick. Move the NAS4Free "embedded" stick into its permanent location if necessary.

Install or connect any hard-drives or SSDs that you wish to use in your storage server at this point.

You will probably want to permanently change the drive boot order in your BIOS so that the USB stick is always booted first. To do this press DEL during boot-up on most systems, or F2 on most Intel motherboards.

Now boot the system again. You will be presented with the familiar NAS4Free menu on the console. Your IP address will probably be shown as which may or may not be correct for your network. If it is correct (or you don't know if it is) open a web browser on another PC and type in the address bar. If you get a NAS4Free login screen you are good to go.

If you do not get a NAS4Free login screen, go back to the NAS4Free system's console and choose option #2 "Configure Network IP Address", then choose Yes to the question "Do you want to use DHCP for this interface?". Choose No to the question "Do you want to configuration IPv6 for this interface?" [sic].

You will now be told the correct address for your NAS4Free system... type it into your browser on another PC.

You should now see the NAS4Free login screen in your browser:

If you don't see it, double-check both systems are connected to the network. The default login name is "admin" and the password is "nas4free".


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