How to Upgrade FreeNAS
Ever since iXsystems started overseeing the development of FreeNAS they have been releasing software updates a lot more frequently.
Version 8.1 is already in beta and has several great features listed in the roadmap such as 3rd party plug-ins, and BitTorrent support.
Generally I'm not an early adopter of new software releases but the latest versions of FreeNAS 8 have included some important bug fixes that I have wanted to take advantage of.
In this hub I'm going to show you how to upgrade FreeNAS 8 to the latest software release. I'll also show you how to backup your config file before you install the update in case you run into any issues.
Backing up the Configuration
I recommend backing up the configuration for FreeNAS before you make any changes, especially upgrading to a new version.
If something goes wrong during your change you can reinstall FreeNAS from scratch and restore you config file. It's very easy and only takes a few seconds to download the file and it will save you a lot of time if you need to use it.
- Log into the web interface.
- Click on the services button.
- Then click on the settings tab.
- Under settings click on the config tab, you should see the page in the screenshot below.
- Click on 'Save Config' to download a copy of the configuration.
If you need to restore a config file follow the same steps except click on 'Upload Config'.
Upgrading from the Web GUI
The easiest method for upgrading to the newest FreeNAS release is to use the web interface.
If you are upgrading from version 8.X or earlier you will need to perform an upgrade using the CD method below.
- Download the GUI_Upgrade.xz file for your architecture.
- You will also need to download the release notes to match the file you downloaded. The release notes contain the hash which is used to verify the download.
- Shut down all of the services (system menu \ services tab).
- Click on System, then settings, then Firmware Update.
- Select a volume to use as temp space for the firmware file and click 'Apply Update'.
- Click on 'Choose File' and select the file you downloaded in step 1.
- Enter the hash that corresponds to the file you downloaded and click apply update.
After performing the steps the system needs to be rebooted to finish applying the update.
Upgrading from CD
To use the CD upgrade method you will need to download the full installation ISO for the architecture of your system, either i386 for 32-bit systems or amd64 if you have a 64-bit processor.
This method is very similar to the process of setting up FreeNAS on a new system.
When you upgrade using a CD your configuration will be automatically transferred to the new version.
- Once you've burned the ISO to a disc.
- Place the disc in the NAS and boot from it.
- Select option number 1, install/upgrade from the menu.
- Choose the disc where FreeNAS is currently installed from the list.
- Select 'Yes' when asked if you want to upgrade. If you don't have this option then your FreeNAS installation was not detected. (Check your disc selection)
- Start the upgrade process by selecting 'Yes' again.
Completing the Upgrade
After the upgrade process finishes you can reboot the system and remove the disc from the drive.
Once it boots up you can check the system information to verify the update was succesfully applied. The FreeNAS build version should match the version of the update you applied.
If the CD and GUI options are not working out you can update FreeNAS using the console.
The console update method isn't offically supported but it has saved me from reinstalling the OS from scratch a few times when I couldn't get the update to apply correctly.
The manual update process also provides more visibility to any errors that occur during the upgrade since you can watch the process via the console.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
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© 2011 Sam Kear