Getting Started

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While the isos share will be set to always use the array, the other three shares will prefer the cache.  You can the settings for these shares by clicking on them from the '''Shares''' tab.
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.
= Additional Settings =
= Additional Settings =

Revision as of 16:09, 11 July 2016

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.


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 “headless” state if you so desire. You will also need a quality USB flash device that is 512MB or larger. If you haven’t purchased your hardware yet, we have lots of recommendations.

Preparing Your USB Flash Device

  • Insert the 512MB or larger flash device to your Mac or PC.
  • Format the device using the FAT (or FAT32) file system.
  • Set the ‘volume label’ to UNRAID (case-sensitive; all caps).
  • Go to the downloads page.
  • 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.
    • From Windows XP, just double-click the make_bootable file.
    • From Windows 7 or later, right-click the file and select 'Run as Administrator’.
    • From Mac devices, double-click the file make_bootable_mac and enter your admin password when prompted.
    • 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.
  • Link to guide with screenshots.

Booting Up


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 devices. If 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:

  • 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).
  • Try switching on or off any Fast Boot feature.
  • 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.

Assigning Devices to the Array and Cache


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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 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 until you format them. unRAID 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.

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.

Auto-created Shares

Once the array is started and your disks formatted with file systems, unRAID will automatically create the following shares:

  • isos
  • 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.

Additional Settings

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.

Date-time.png Date & Time

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.

Disk-settings.png Disk Settings

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.

Ident.png Identification

unRAID automatically uses the hostname of tower, but you can adjust that from this page. You can also give your system a description / model number (useful for system builders).

Network-settings.png Network Settings

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.

Share-settings.png Global Share Settings

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.

Apcupsd.png UPS Settings

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 battery. From this page you can configure connection to your specific UPS and define policies for when the shutdown command should be issued. For a complete manual, visit:

Apple-logo.png AFP (Apple File Protocol)

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.

Linux-logo.png NFS (Network File System)

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 fuse_remember tunable which can help with resolving NFS Stale File Handles error messages.

Windows-logo.png SMB (Server Message Block)

The SMB protocol is the standard used by Microsoft Windows-based clients. From this page, you can enable its use, define a Windows workgroup, or even join an active directory domain.

Ftp-server.png FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

Users can connect via FTP if they are added to the FTP user(s) field on this page. If no users are added, the FTP service will not be started.

Confirmations.png Confirmations

From here, you can disable the need for confirmations to perform various tasks.

Display-settings.png Display Settings

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.

Notifications.png Notifications Settings

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.

Scheduler.png Scheduler

The scheduler settings page allows you configure the frequency for two types of automated system tasks: parity checks and the cache mover.