Getting Started

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= Getting Started =
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=Getting Started=
  
So are you ready to get started?  Great!  You’ve come to the right place!  In this guide we will be covering how to prepare your flash device, boot the system, and configure your first array.  The entire process should take less than 15 minutes.
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In this guide, we will be covering how to prepare your flash device, boot the system, and configure your first array.  The entire process should take less than 15 minutes.
  
== Prerequisites ==
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==Prerequisites==
  
Before we begin, you should have your server assembled, connected via power and Ethernet, and you should have a monitor and keyboard attached for the initial configuration (to be ready to alter configuration settings in your BIOS).  Once the initial setup is complete, you can disconnect your monitor and keyboard to run unRAID in a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headless_software “headless”] state if you so desire.  You will also need a [http://lime-technology.com/hardware-recommendations#usbflash quality USB flash device] that is 512MB or larger.  If you haven’t purchased your hardware yet, [http://lime-technology.com/hardware-recommendations/ we have lots of recommendations].
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Before we begin:
  
== Preparing Your USB Flash Device ==
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*You should have your server assembled, connected via power and Ethernet
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*You should have a monitor and keyboard attached for the initial configuration (to be ready to alter configuration settings in your BIOS).  Once the initial setup is complete, you can disconnect your monitor and keyboard to run Unraid in a [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headless_software “headless”] state if you so desire.
 +
*You will also need a high-quality, brand name USB flash device that is 2GB or larger.
 +
*USB manufacturers such as PNY, Lexar, SanDisk, Samsung are recommend. We do not recommend USB3.1 drives.
 +
 
 +
For full hardware requirements, visit our [https://unraid.net/product product page].
 +
 
 +
==Preparing Your USB Flash Device==
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'''Important:'''<br>Please use a high-quality, name-brand USB Flash device with a minimum size of 2GB. Experience has shown that USB2 devices tend to be more reliable than USB3 ones, and since it runs from RAM after the initial load Unraid gains no performance advantage from using a USB3 device. USB3.1 drives are not recommended. 
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The USB Flash device '''must''' be one that has a unique hardware GUID built into it.  Some manufacturers re-use the same GUID on the drives they manufacture or use a GUID that is all zeroes or an obviously made-up number.  These drives are not suitable for use as an Unraid boot device.  Although it is difficult to generalize you will find that drives from most ,major manufacturers '''do''' satisfy the requirement that they have a unique GUID. 
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 +
There are two methods to preparing your USB flash device:
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 +
#By default, everyone should use the USB flash creator for the easiest and most streamlined experience
 +
#In the event this tool doesn't work for you, we have additionally documented a manual process by which you can also create your flash device. '''Important:''' the Manual Method only works for devices 32GB and smaller.
 +
 
 +
===Using the Flash Creator===
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Using this program, you can easily convert almost any USB flash device into an Unraid boot device. In addition, the flash creator will give you the option to toggle some advanced settings such as loading a beta release, renaming your server hostname, setting a static IP address for your server pre-boot, and even toggling support for UEFI booting.
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 +
*Plug the USB flash device into your Mac or PC.
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*[http://lime-technology.com/download/ Go to the downloads page.]
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*Download the USB Flash Creator to your Mac or PC and run it.  This tool is an [https://github.com/limetech/usb-creator open source program] digitally signed by Lime Technology, Inc.
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*Customize any options you desire and select the flash device you wish to use from the drop-down.
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*Click '''Write''' to create the bootable flash.
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 +
 
 +
'''USB flash devices and the Flash Creator tool are discussed further in this [https://unraid.net/blog/unraid-new-users-blog-series New Users Blog.]'''
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===Manual Method (Legacy)===
 
[[File:Sdcruzerfit.jpg|right|200px]]
 
[[File:Sdcruzerfit.jpg|right|200px]]
*Insert the 512MB or larger flash device to your Mac or PC.
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*Format the device using the FAT (or FAT32) file system.
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*Plug the USB flash device into your Mac or PC.
*Set the ‘volume label’ to UNRAID (case-sensitive; all caps).
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*Format the device using the FAT (or FAT32) file system.  It must '''not''' be ex-FAT.
*[http://lime-technology.com/download/ Go to the downloads page.]
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*Set the ‘volume label’ to UNRAID (case-sensitive, use all caps).
 +
*[http://lime-technology.com/download/ Go to the downloads page.] to get the zip file for the release you want to use
 
*Choose a version and download it to a temporary location on your computer (e.g. a “downloads” folder).
 
*Choose a version and download it to a temporary location on your computer (e.g. a “downloads” folder).
 
*Extract the contents of the newly downloaded ZIP file onto your USB flash device.
 
*Extract the contents of the newly downloaded ZIP file onto your USB flash device.
 
*Browse to the USB flash device to see the newly extracted contents from your Mac or PC.
 
*Browse to the USB flash device to see the newly extracted contents from your Mac or PC.
*Run the make bootable script.
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*Run the make bootable script appropriate to the OS you are using.
**From Windows XP, just double-click the '''make_bootable''' file.
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**'''Windows XP'''
**From Windows 7 or later, right-click the file and select '''Run as Administrator''.
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***double-click the '''make_bootable''' file.
**From Mac devices, double-click the file '''make_bootable_mac''' and enter your admin password when prompted.
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**'''Windows 7 or later'''
**NOTE:  during the process of running this script, the flash device may seem to disappear and reappear on your workstation a few times – this is expected behavior.
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***right-click the '''make_bootable''' file and select ''Run as Administrator''.
*[http://lime-technology.com/getting-started#usb-prep-sshots Link to guide with screenshots.]
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**'''Mac'''
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***double-click the file '''make_bootable_mac''' file and enter your admin password when prompted.
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**'''Linux''':
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***copy '''make_bootable_linux''' file to hard drive
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***unmount (not eject) USB drive
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***run the following command from wherever you unpacked it to on your Linux system:
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 +
:::sudo bash ./make_bootable_linux
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**'''NOTES''':   
 +
***during the process of running this script, the flash device may seem to disappear and reappear on your workstation a few times – this is expected behavior.
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<br />
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===Backing Up the Flash Drive===
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It is a good idea to have your Unraid flash device backed up any time you make a significant configuration change. Regular flash backups are highly recommend.
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There are several ways of achieving this:
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* On the '''Main''' tab, click on your Flash and Click '''Flash Backup'''. Please make sure you store your backups off of your Unraid array so it is easily accessible even if the array is not operational.
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* If you are running Unraid 6.9.2 (or later) install the '''MyServers''' plugin which provides for automated backups of the flash drive to the cloud (on Limetech servers).
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* Install the '''Appdata Backup/Restore''' plugin which also provides a way of automatically backing up the flash drive either to another location on the Unraid server or elsewhere on a network share managed by the '''Unassigned Devices''' plugin.
  
== Booting Up ==
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==BIOS and Booting Up==
 
[[File:Booting.jpg|right]]
 
[[File:Booting.jpg|right]]
You’re now ready to remove the Flash from your PC or Mac, plug it into your server, and power up.  If unRAID Server OS immediately boots (with some motherboards it will), you can skip ahead to assigning devicesIf it doesn’t boot, reset your server, enter the BIOS, set the system to boot from USB flash, save your BIOS settings, and try to booting again. If you are still having difficulty getting your server to boot from the flash, ensure that the Flash is the only device plugged into any of the USB ports. Also avoid using front panel USB ports in favor of ports available directly on the motherboard I/O panel. If you’ve followed these guidelines and still can’t boot, try the following adjustments in your BIOS settings:
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You’re now ready to remove the Flash from your PC or Mac, plug it into your server, and power up.  Configuring your motherboard BIOS (as well as your storage controller) correctly is an important step to ensuring a solid experience using UnraidThe basic guidelines are as follows:
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*You must configure the USB flash device as the primary boot device (most motherboards support this).
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*Your storage controller should support AHCI and SATA connections and be configured in standard HBA mode (not RAID mode).
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*Enable any and all virtualization support in your BIOS if your hardware supports it / you wish to create virtual machines (Intel VT-x / AMD-V).
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*Enable IOMMU support in your BIOS if your hardware supports it / you wish to assign physical PCI devices (GPUs, media controllers, USB controllers, etc.) to virtual machines.
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*Avoid using front panel USB ports in favor of ports available directly on the motherboard I/O panel.
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If after configuring your BIOS you cannot get Unraid to boot properly, try the following:
  
 
*Set the boot order to as follows:  Forced-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP
 
*Set the boot order to as follows:  Forced-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP
*Try disabling USB 2.0 support (this will default to USB 1.1).
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*Try disabling USB 2.0/3.0 support (this will default to USB 1.1).
 
*Try switching on or off any ''Fast Boot'' feature.
 
*Try switching on or off any ''Fast Boot'' feature.
 
*Try Switching on or off ''USB keyboard'' support.
 
*Try Switching on or off ''USB keyboard'' support.
  
''NOTE: Many motherboards support only up 12 hard drives for purposes of boot selection.  This is normally not an issue for unRAID® Server OS; however, if your Flash device is recognized by the bios as a hard drive, you may not be able to boot from the Flash after installing your 12th “real” hard drive.  To avoid this, if possible set up your bios so that the Flash is treated as a removable device.''
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If you still are unable to boot the OS, please post a message in our [http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?board=71.0 general support] forum.
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''NOTE: Many motherboards support only up to 12 hard drives for purposes of boot selection.  This is normally not an issue for Unraid® Server OS; however, if your Flash device is recognized by the bios as a hard drive, you may not be able to boot from the Flash after installing your 12th “real” hard drive.  To avoid this, if possible set up your bios so that the Flash is treated as a removable device.''
  
== Assigning Devices to the Array and Cache ==
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==Boot Mode Selector (Syslinux)==
  
[[File:Configuringarray1.png|right|500px]]
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After configuring your BIOS and booting from the Unraid flash drive, you will be prompted with the Unraid Server OS boot menu on a directly attached monitor (or via IPMI if your server supports that feature).   
Now that you’ve booted up your unRAID Server, you are ready to begin setting up your first array.  The boot process shouldn’t take more than a few minutes and when completed, open a web browser from your Mac or PC and navigate to http://tower (or http://tower.local if using a Mac).  The first page you will be brought to is the unRAID Main tab, where you will select the devices to assign to slots for parity, data, and cache disks.  Assigning devices to unRAID is easy!  Just remember these guidelines:
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There are a number of standard options available for you to select:
  
*'''Always pick the largest storage device available to act as your parity device'''.  When expanding your array in the future (adding more devices to data disk slots), you cannot assign a data disk that is larger than your parity device.  For this reason, it is highly recommended to purchase the largest HDD available for use as your initial parity device, so future expansions aren’t limited to small device sizes.
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*'''Unraid OS (Headless)'''
  
*'''Do not assign an SSD as a data/parity device'''.  While unRAID won’t stop you from doing this, SSDs are only supported for use as cache devices due TRIM/discard and how it impacts parity protection.  Using SSDs as data/parity devices is unsupported and may result in data loss at this time.
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:The standard boot mode for Unraid Server OS, headless mode utilizes less memory than desktop mode but relies on the use of another device capable of running a web browser to access the webGui for management.
  
*'''Using a cache will improve array performance'''.  It does this by redirecting write operations to a dedicated disk (or pool of disks in unRAID 6) and moves that data to the array on a schedule that you define (by default, once per day at 3:40AM).  Data written to the cache is still presented through your user shares, making use of this function completely transparent.
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:If a monitor is attached then a console login will be displayed that can be used to access the Linux command line on the server.
  
*'''Creating a cache-pool adds protection for cached data'''.  If you only assign one cache device to the system, data residing their before being moved to the array on a schedule is not protected from data loss.  To ensure data remains protected at all times (both on data and cache disks), you must assign more than one device to the cache function, creating what is called a cache-pool.  Cache pools can be expanded on demand, similar to the array.
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*'''Unraid OS GUI Mode'''<br>
  
*'''SSD-based cache devices are ideal for applications and virtual machines'''. Apps and VMs benefit from SSDs as they can leverage their raw IO potential to perform faster when interacting with them.  Use SSDs in a cache pool for the ultimate combination of functionality, performance, and protection.
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:Loads a lightweight desktop interface on a directly attached monitor with a quick-launch menu for accessing the webGui, product documentation, and useful Linux utilities including a bash shell, midnight commander, and htop. This mode may be helpful for users trying to diagnose network connectivity problems or for users that don't have a separate device to use for connecting to the webGui.
  
''NOTE:  Your array will not start if you assign more devices than your license key allows.''
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:The management interface presented in this mode is the same one that is displayed when running the system in ''headless'' mode and accessing the server remotely using a web browser.
  
== Starting the Array and Formatting Your Devices ==
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*'''Unraid OS Safe Mode (no plugins, no GUI)'''
  
Once you have all your devices assigned, you can click the '''Start''' button under Array Operation.  This will mount your devices and start the array.  New devices added to disk or cache device slots will appear as 'Unformatted' and will be unusable until you format themunRAID 6 defaults to using the XFS filesystem for all devices, but if you define a cache pool, BTRFS will automatically be used for those devices.  To format your devices for use, you must click the check box under ‘Array Operation’ that says '''Format''' and then click the '''Format''' button.
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:In this mode, Unraid suppresses loading any plugins that the user may have installedUse this boot mode to diagnose if plugins are causing stability issues on your system.
  
Even before the devices are formatted, a ''parity sync'' will be performing in the background to initialize the protection of the array.  Until the sync is completed, the array will operate but in an unprotected state.  It is recommended to wait until the initial parity sync completes before adding data to the array.
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*'''Unraid OS GUI Safe Mode (no plugins)'''
  
== Auto-created Shares ==
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:In this mode, Unraid suppresses loading any plugins that the user may have installed.  Use this boot mode to diagnose if plugins are causing stability issues on your system.
  
Once the array is started and your disks formatted with file systems, unRAID will automatically create the following shares:
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*'''Memtest86+'''
  
*isos
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:If you suspect faulty RAM on your system, you can use Memtest86+ to test it. Please post in the [http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?board=71.0 general support] forum for assistance in using this tool.
*domains
 
*system
 
*appdata
 
  
While the isos share will be set to always use the array, the other three shares will prefer the cache. You can adjust the settings for these shares by clicking on them from the '''Shares''' tab.
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:The ''memtest86+'' tool supplied with Unraid will only work correctly if you are booting in non-UEFI (legacy) mode.  If you want a version that can be run when booting in UEFI mode then you need to download your own copy from the memtest86+ [http://www.memtest.org/ web site].
  
= Additional Settings =
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:'''Note:'''  If you use EEC RAM in your Unraid server then memtest86+ will not normally detect faulty RAM modules unless you have disabled the EEC feature in the BIOS (since the EEC feature automatically corrects any RAM error it detects).
While unRAID is configured to work automatically, you may wish to further refine your setup by customizing your IP address, hostname, disk tunables, and other settings.  This section goes over the various settings you can configure from the unRAID webGui.  All settings controls can be found under the ''Settings'' tab on the unRAID task bar unless otherwise specified.
 
  
== [[File:date-time.png]] Date & Time ==
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The user can change the boot menu to add additional options or amend existing ones by editing the ''syslinux/syslinux.cfg'' file on the flash drive or by clicking on the ''flash'' drive on the Main tab within the Management interface and using the ''Syslinux Configuration'' section on the resulting dialog.
  
From this page you can set your time zone and toggle use of up to 3 NTP servers.  It is recommended that you adjust unRAID to your time zone for accurate timekeeping.
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==Preparing your browser (ad-blocker settings)==
  
== [[File:disk-settings.png]] Disk Settings ==
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Unraid's management interface (the webGUI) is incompatible with most ad-blocker solutions.  It is for this reason that we strongly suggest that users leveraging an ad-blocker in their browser first add the Unraid server to the ad-blocker whitelist to ensure the ad-blocker doesn't affect the webGUI.
  
You can configure additional settings for your disk devices from this page. Enable your array to auto-start on boot, adjust disk spin down timers, and even adjust advanced driver settings such as SMART polling frequency.
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''Failure to do so is likely to result in parts of the webGUI not displaying correctly.''
  
== [[File:ident.png]] Identification ==
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==Connecting to the Unraid webGui==
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There are two methods to connect to the webGUI in Unraid:
  
unRAID automatically uses the hostname of <code>tower</code>, but you can adjust that from this page. You can also give your system a description / model number (useful for system builders).
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#Boot Unraid in GUI mode and login (username is root, no password by default); or
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#Open a web browser from your Mac or PC and navigate to http://tower (or http://tower.local if using a Mac)
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#*If for any reason your PC/Mac cannot resolve the name of the server then you can try using the IP address instead.
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#*You can change the name used for your Unraid server from the webGUI by going to ''Settings->System Settings->Identification''.
  
== [[File:network-settings.png]] Network Settings ==
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==Registering and Installing Your Key==
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Upon connecting to the Unraid webGUI for the first time, you should be taken to the '''Registration''' page.  From here, you can register and install either a trial or paid license key.
  
By default, unRAID will attempt to get an IP address from a DHCP server present on your local network (typically by your router).  From this page you can configure a static IP address, set up bonding / bridging, or other options. Setting a static IP is recommended, but not required to use unRAID.
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The key file is installed into the ''config'' folder on the flash drive.
  
== [[File:share-settings.png]] Global Share Settings ==
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==Assigning Devices to the Array and Cache==
  
As described earlier, user shares can vastly simplify how content can be organized and accessed across multiple disks in the array. You can specify what disks are allowed to participate in user shares (global inclusion/exclusion) and if a cache device/pool is present, you can configure it's use with user shares from here.
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[[File:Configuringarray1.png|right|500px]]
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After installing a registration key, you are ready to begin assigning devices for Unraid to manage.  Click on the '''Main''' tab from the Unraid webGUI and follow these guidelines when assigning disks:
  
== [[File:apcupsd.png]] UPS Settings ==
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*'''Always pick the largest storage device available to act as your parity device(s)'''.  When expanding your array in the future (adding more devices to data disk slots), you cannot assign a data disk that is larger than your parity device(s).  For this reason, it is highly recommended to purchase the largest HDD available for use as your initial parity device, so future expansions aren’t limited to small device sizes.  If assigning dual parity disks, your two parity disks can vary in size, but the same rule holds true that no disk in the array can be larger than your smallest parity device.
  
unRAID can be connected to an APC UPS (uninterruptable power supply) so that in the event of a power loss, the system can be commanded to shut down while being supplied power through a batteryFrom this page you can configure connection to your specific UPS and define policies for when the shutdown command should be issuedFor a complete manual, visit: http://apcupsd.org/manual/manual.html
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*'''SSD support in the array is experimental'''Some SSDs may not be ideal for use in the array due to how TRIM/Discard may be implementedUsing SSDs as data/parity devices may have unexpected/undesirable results. This does NOT apply to the cache / cache pool.
  
== [[File:apple-logo.png]] AFP (Apple File Protocol) ==
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*'''Using a cache will improve array performance'''. It does this by redirecting write operations to a dedicated disk (or pool of disks in Unraid 6) and moves that data to the array on a schedule that you define (by default, once per day at 3:40AM).  Data written to the cache is still presented through your user shares, making use of this function completely transparent.
  
From this page you can enable user shares for use with the Apple File Protocol, allowing them to be used as valid Time Machine backup targets for your Mac OS X devices.
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*'''Creating a cache-pool adds protection for cached data'''.  If you only assign one cache device to the system, data residing there before being moved to the array on a schedule is not protected from data loss.  To ensure data remains protected at all times (both on data and cache disks), you must assign more than one device to the cache function, creating what is called a cache-pool.  Cache pools can be expanded on demand, similar to the array.
  
== [[File:linux-logo.png]] NFS (Network File System) ==
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*'''SSD-based cache devices are ideal for applications and virtual machines'''.  Apps and VMs benefit from SSDs as they can leverage their raw IO potential to perform faster when interacting with them.  Use SSDs in a cache pool for the ultimate combination of functionality, performance, and protection.
  
NFSv4 support has been included in unRAID 6. You can enable or disable it's use with user shares from this page, as well as adjust the <code>fuse_remember</code> tunable which can help with resolving ''NFS Stale File Handles'' error messages.
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''NOTE: Your array will not start if you assign or attach more devices than your license key allows.''
  
== [[File:windows-logo.png]] SMB (Server Message Block) ==
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==Starting the Array and Formatting Your Devices==
  
The SMB protocol is the standard used by Microsoft Windows-based clientsFrom this page, you can enable its use, define a Windows workgroup, or even join an active directory domain.
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Once you have all your devices assigned, you can click the '''Start''' button under Array Operation.  This will mount your devices and start the array.  New devices added to disk or cache device slots will appear as 'Unformatted' and will be unusable for storing files until you format themUnraid 6 defaults to using the XFS filesystem for all devices, but if you define a cache pool then BTRFS will automatically be used for those devices (you can change the default file system under ''Settings->System Settings->Disk Settings'').
  
== [[File:ftp-server.png]] FTP (File Transfer Protocol) ==
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To format your devices for use, you must click the check box under ‘Array Operation’ that says '''Format''', acknowledge the resulting prompt (read it carefully), and then click the '''Format''' button.
Users can connect via FTP if they are added to the '''FTP user(s)''' field on this pageIf no users are added, the FTP service will not be started.
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Even before the devices are formatted, a ''parity sync'' will be performing in the background to initialize the protection of the arrayUntil the sync is completed, the array will operate but in an unprotected state.  It is recommended to wait until the initial parity sync completes before adding data to the array.
  
== [[File:confirmations.png]] Confirmations ==
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==Stopping Array, Shutting Down, and Rebooting==
  
From here, you can disable the need for confirmations to perform various tasks.
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In order to perform one of these operations, visit the '''Main''' tab and scroll down to the section titled ''Array Operation'' and click on the button appropriate to the operation you wish to carry out.
  
== [[File:display-settings.png]] Display Settings ==
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==Using the built-in help==
  
Customize the appearance of the unRAID webGui from this page.  This includes adjusting the date and time format, number format, toggles for tabbed/non-tabbed view modes, temperature unit, and much more.
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Unraid has extensive help text for all major settings built into the GUI.  When enabled the Help text will be displayed under the relevant setting.
  
== [[File:notifications.png]] Notifications Settings ==
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The help text can be toggled on/off at the global level by clicking the '''?''' Icon at the top right of the Unraid GUI.  It can be switched on/off at the individual field level by clicking on the name of the field.
  
Browser and e-mail-based system notifications can be configured from this page.  You can subscribe to different types of notifications for each method and even add custom alerts for SMART values attribute monitoring.
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It is '''strongly''' recommended that you make use of this feature as the information available via that route is likely to be more extensive and up-to-date than any documentation.
  
== [[File:scheduler.png]] Scheduler ==  
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==Security Best Practices==
  
The scheduler settings page allows you configure the frequency for two types of automated system tasks:  parity checks and the cache mover.
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Your Unraid server is likely to end up containing data that is valuable to you so it can be a good idea to review the  
 +
[[Manual/Security|Security Good Practices]] part of the documentation to ensure you are not doing something that may leave your system open to attack and your valuable data at risk.

Latest revision as of 11:00, 21 May 2021

Getting Started

In this guide, we will be covering how to prepare your flash device, boot the system, and configure your first array. The entire process should take less than 15 minutes.

Prerequisites

Before we begin:

  • You should have your server assembled, connected via power and Ethernet
  • You should have a monitor and keyboard attached for the initial configuration (to be ready to alter configuration settings in your BIOS). Once the initial setup is complete, you can disconnect your monitor and keyboard to run Unraid in a “headless” state if you so desire.
  • You will also need a high-quality, brand name USB flash device that is 2GB or larger.
  • USB manufacturers such as PNY, Lexar, SanDisk, Samsung are recommend. We do not recommend USB3.1 drives.

For full hardware requirements, visit our product page.

Preparing Your USB Flash Device

Important:
Please use a high-quality, name-brand USB Flash device with a minimum size of 2GB. Experience has shown that USB2 devices tend to be more reliable than USB3 ones, and since it runs from RAM after the initial load Unraid gains no performance advantage from using a USB3 device. USB3.1 drives are not recommended.

The USB Flash device must be one that has a unique hardware GUID built into it. Some manufacturers re-use the same GUID on the drives they manufacture or use a GUID that is all zeroes or an obviously made-up number. These drives are not suitable for use as an Unraid boot device. Although it is difficult to generalize you will find that drives from most ,major manufacturers do satisfy the requirement that they have a unique GUID.

There are two methods to preparing your USB flash device:

  1. By default, everyone should use the USB flash creator for the easiest and most streamlined experience
  2. In the event this tool doesn't work for you, we have additionally documented a manual process by which you can also create your flash device. Important: the Manual Method only works for devices 32GB and smaller.

Using the Flash Creator

Using this program, you can easily convert almost any USB flash device into an Unraid boot device. In addition, the flash creator will give you the option to toggle some advanced settings such as loading a beta release, renaming your server hostname, setting a static IP address for your server pre-boot, and even toggling support for UEFI booting.

  • Plug the USB flash device into your Mac or PC.
  • Go to the downloads page.
  • Download the USB Flash Creator to your Mac or PC and run it. This tool is an open source program digitally signed by Lime Technology, Inc.
  • Customize any options you desire and select the flash device you wish to use from the drop-down.
  • Click Write to create the bootable flash.


USB flash devices and the Flash Creator tool are discussed further in this New Users Blog.

Manual Method (Legacy)

Sdcruzerfit.jpg
  • Plug the USB flash device into your Mac or PC.
  • Format the device using the FAT (or FAT32) file system. It must not be ex-FAT.
  • Set the ‘volume label’ to UNRAID (case-sensitive, use all caps).
  • Go to the downloads page. to get the zip file for the release you want to use
  • Choose a version and download it to a temporary location on your computer (e.g. a “downloads” folder).
  • Extract the contents of the newly downloaded ZIP file onto your USB flash device.
  • Browse to the USB flash device to see the newly extracted contents from your Mac or PC.
  • Run the make bootable script appropriate to the OS you are using.
    • Windows XP
      • double-click the make_bootable file.
    • Windows 7 or later
      • right-click the make_bootable file and select Run as Administrator.
    • Mac
      • double-click the file make_bootable_mac file and enter your admin password when prompted.
    • Linux:
      • copy make_bootable_linux file to hard drive
      • unmount (not eject) USB drive
      • run the following command from wherever you unpacked it to on your Linux system:
sudo bash ./make_bootable_linux
    • NOTES:
      • during the process of running this script, the flash device may seem to disappear and reappear on your workstation a few times – this is expected behavior.


Backing Up the Flash Drive

It is a good idea to have your Unraid flash device backed up any time you make a significant configuration change. Regular flash backups are highly recommend.

There are several ways of achieving this:

  • On the Main tab, click on your Flash and Click Flash Backup. Please make sure you store your backups off of your Unraid array so it is easily accessible even if the array is not operational.
  • If you are running Unraid 6.9.2 (or later) install the MyServers plugin which provides for automated backups of the flash drive to the cloud (on Limetech servers).
  • Install the Appdata Backup/Restore plugin which also provides a way of automatically backing up the flash drive either to another location on the Unraid server or elsewhere on a network share managed by the Unassigned Devices plugin.

BIOS and Booting Up

Booting.jpg

You’re now ready to remove the Flash from your PC or Mac, plug it into your server, and power up. Configuring your motherboard BIOS (as well as your storage controller) correctly is an important step to ensuring a solid experience using Unraid. The basic guidelines are as follows:

  • You must configure the USB flash device as the primary boot device (most motherboards support this).
  • Your storage controller should support AHCI and SATA connections and be configured in standard HBA mode (not RAID mode).
  • Enable any and all virtualization support in your BIOS if your hardware supports it / you wish to create virtual machines (Intel VT-x / AMD-V).
  • Enable IOMMU support in your BIOS if your hardware supports it / you wish to assign physical PCI devices (GPUs, media controllers, USB controllers, etc.) to virtual machines.
  • Avoid using front panel USB ports in favor of ports available directly on the motherboard I/O panel.

If after configuring your BIOS you cannot get Unraid to boot properly, try the following:

  • Set the boot order to as follows: Forced-FDD, USB-HDD, USB-ZIP
  • Try disabling USB 2.0/3.0 support (this will default to USB 1.1).
  • Try switching on or off any Fast Boot feature.
  • Try Switching on or off USB keyboard support.

If you still are unable to boot the OS, please post a message in our general support forum.

NOTE: Many motherboards support only up to 12 hard drives for purposes of boot selection. This is normally not an issue for Unraid® Server OS; however, if your Flash device is recognized by the bios as a hard drive, you may not be able to boot from the Flash after installing your 12th “real” hard drive. To avoid this, if possible set up your bios so that the Flash is treated as a removable device.

Boot Mode Selector (Syslinux)

After configuring your BIOS and booting from the Unraid flash drive, you will be prompted with the Unraid Server OS boot menu on a directly attached monitor (or via IPMI if your server supports that feature).

There are a number of standard options available for you to select:

  • Unraid OS (Headless)
The standard boot mode for Unraid Server OS, headless mode utilizes less memory than desktop mode but relies on the use of another device capable of running a web browser to access the webGui for management.
If a monitor is attached then a console login will be displayed that can be used to access the Linux command line on the server.
  • Unraid OS GUI Mode
Loads a lightweight desktop interface on a directly attached monitor with a quick-launch menu for accessing the webGui, product documentation, and useful Linux utilities including a bash shell, midnight commander, and htop. This mode may be helpful for users trying to diagnose network connectivity problems or for users that don't have a separate device to use for connecting to the webGui.
The management interface presented in this mode is the same one that is displayed when running the system in headless mode and accessing the server remotely using a web browser.
  • Unraid OS Safe Mode (no plugins, no GUI)
In this mode, Unraid suppresses loading any plugins that the user may have installed. Use this boot mode to diagnose if plugins are causing stability issues on your system.
  • Unraid OS GUI Safe Mode (no plugins)
In this mode, Unraid suppresses loading any plugins that the user may have installed. Use this boot mode to diagnose if plugins are causing stability issues on your system.
  • Memtest86+
If you suspect faulty RAM on your system, you can use Memtest86+ to test it. Please post in the general support forum for assistance in using this tool.
The memtest86+ tool supplied with Unraid will only work correctly if you are booting in non-UEFI (legacy) mode. If you want a version that can be run when booting in UEFI mode then you need to download your own copy from the memtest86+ web site.
Note: If you use EEC RAM in your Unraid server then memtest86+ will not normally detect faulty RAM modules unless you have disabled the EEC feature in the BIOS (since the EEC feature automatically corrects any RAM error it detects).

The user can change the boot menu to add additional options or amend existing ones by editing the syslinux/syslinux.cfg file on the flash drive or by clicking on the flash drive on the Main tab within the Management interface and using the Syslinux Configuration section on the resulting dialog.

Preparing your browser (ad-blocker settings)

Unraid's management interface (the webGUI) is incompatible with most ad-blocker solutions. It is for this reason that we strongly suggest that users leveraging an ad-blocker in their browser first add the Unraid server to the ad-blocker whitelist to ensure the ad-blocker doesn't affect the webGUI.

Failure to do so is likely to result in parts of the webGUI not displaying correctly.

Connecting to the Unraid webGui

There are two methods to connect to the webGUI in Unraid:

  1. Boot Unraid in GUI mode and login (username is root, no password by default); or
  2. Open a web browser from your Mac or PC and navigate to http://tower (or http://tower.local if using a Mac)
    • If for any reason your PC/Mac cannot resolve the name of the server then you can try using the IP address instead.
    • You can change the name used for your Unraid server from the webGUI by going to Settings->System Settings->Identification.

Registering and Installing Your Key

Upon connecting to the Unraid webGUI for the first time, you should be taken to the Registration page. From here, you can register and install either a trial or paid license key.

The key file is installed into the config folder on the flash drive.

Assigning Devices to the Array and Cache

Configuringarray1.png

After installing a registration key, you are ready to begin assigning devices for Unraid to manage. Click on the Main tab from the Unraid webGUI and follow these guidelines when assigning disks:

  • Always pick the largest storage device available to act as your parity device(s). When expanding your array in the future (adding more devices to data disk slots), you cannot assign a data disk that is larger than your parity device(s). For this reason, it is highly recommended to purchase the largest HDD available for use as your initial parity device, so future expansions aren’t limited to small device sizes. If assigning dual parity disks, your two parity disks can vary in size, but the same rule holds true that no disk in the array can be larger than your smallest parity device.
  • SSD support in the array is experimental. Some SSDs may not be ideal for use in the array due to how TRIM/Discard may be implemented. Using SSDs as data/parity devices may have unexpected/undesirable results. This does NOT apply to the cache / cache pool.
  • Using a cache will improve array performance. It does this by redirecting write operations to a dedicated disk (or pool of disks in Unraid 6) and moves that data to the array on a schedule that you define (by default, once per day at 3:40AM). Data written to the cache is still presented through your user shares, making use of this function completely transparent.
  • Creating a cache-pool adds protection for cached data. If you only assign one cache device to the system, data residing there before being moved to the array on a schedule is not protected from data loss. To ensure data remains protected at all times (both on data and cache disks), you must assign more than one device to the cache function, creating what is called a cache-pool. Cache pools can be expanded on demand, similar to the array.
  • SSD-based cache devices are ideal for applications and virtual machines. Apps and VMs benefit from SSDs as they can leverage their raw IO potential to perform faster when interacting with them. Use SSDs in a cache pool for the ultimate combination of functionality, performance, and protection.

NOTE: Your array will not start if you assign or attach more devices than your license key allows.

Starting the Array and Formatting Your Devices

Once you have all your devices assigned, you can click the Start button under Array Operation. This will mount your devices and start the array. New devices added to disk or cache device slots will appear as 'Unformatted' and will be unusable for storing files until you format them. Unraid 6 defaults to using the XFS filesystem for all devices, but if you define a cache pool then BTRFS will automatically be used for those devices (you can change the default file system under Settings->System Settings->Disk Settings).

To format your devices for use, you must click the check box under ‘Array Operation’ that says Format, acknowledge the resulting prompt (read it carefully), and then click the Format button.

Even before the devices are formatted, a parity sync will be performing in the background to initialize the protection of the array. Until the sync is completed, the array will operate but in an unprotected state. It is recommended to wait until the initial parity sync completes before adding data to the array.

Stopping Array, Shutting Down, and Rebooting

In order to perform one of these operations, visit the Main tab and scroll down to the section titled Array Operation and click on the button appropriate to the operation you wish to carry out.

Using the built-in help

Unraid has extensive help text for all major settings built into the GUI. When enabled the Help text will be displayed under the relevant setting.

The help text can be toggled on/off at the global level by clicking the ? Icon at the top right of the Unraid GUI. It can be switched on/off at the individual field level by clicking on the name of the field.

It is strongly recommended that you make use of this feature as the information available via that route is likely to be more extensive and up-to-date than any documentation.

Security Best Practices

Your Unraid server is likely to end up containing data that is valuable to you so it can be a good idea to review the Security Good Practices part of the documentation to ensure you are not doing something that may leave your system open to attack and your valuable data at risk.