USB Flash Drive Preparation

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unRAID Server OS

unRAID Server OS is designed to be installed on, and boot from a USB Flash storage device.


unRAID Server must be installed on a 128MB or larger USB Flash device. Use a good quality Flash such as:

Be sure to review the Hardware Compatibility page when designing your server.

Note: If you are upgrading from a pre-3.0 release of unRAID Server, please read this first.


Step 1 Plug the Flash into your PC and re-format it using Windows (right-click the Flash under My Computer and select Format):

  • For File sytem, select FAT32.
  • For Volume label, enter UNRAID.
  • Select Quick Format and click Start.

Step 2 Download the syslinux tool to a simple directory, for example, c:\, and then run it by clicking on Start/Run. In the dialog box enter:

c:\syslinux.exe f:

(Instead of c:\ use whatever directory you downloaded syslinux to, and instead of f: use whatever drive letter Windows mounted your Flash on).

The syslinx tool will create a hidden system file named ldlinux.sys on the Flash and make it bootable. The complete distribution of syslinux is available here.

Step 3 Download the latest unRAID Server and extract the files from the zip archive to your Flash.

Step 4 Click on the Safely Remove Hardware tool tray icon and select your Flash to be safely removed.

Booting unRAID Server

Remove the Flash from your PC and plug it into your server. Power up your server and see if it immediately boots (with some motherboards it will). If it doesn’t boot, reset your server and enter the BIOS setup. Navigate to the appropriate screen(s) and select you USB Flash device as the boot device. Save your BIOS settings and try to boot the Flash. If the Flash will not boot, read over the following tips.