Quick Tips

Data Recovery Using FreeNAS


I have written several posts about FreeNAS in the last several weeks. For such a small and compact OS, I have found this to be one of my favorite tools of late. I first wrote about 9 Great Things About FreeNAS and then I wrote 9 Reasons To Use FreeNAS At Work. I then wrote 11 FreeNAS Tips that I picked up after using it and reading about it for several weeks.

Today I would like to talk about how FreeNAS can be used as a data recovery tool. Below is my account of how I used the FreeNAS LiveCD to restore data from a Windows Laptop. I've done this on a HP/Compaq Windows XP Laptop and it worked very well.

Bootup and Install
  • I Boot up with the LiveCD.
  • Configure the IP address via DHCP
  • I go to another machine for the WebGUI to do additional configuration.
  • From the WebGUI, I login with the default admin/freenas account.
  • Then I setup the Disks - steps are below.

Adding the Disk I want to Recover
  • Disks - Management - Add Choose the Disk.
  • In My case it was the acd4, the only other one being a RAM Disk or CDROM Drive (acd0)
  • I give the description as HD (Hard Disk)
  • I leave everything else default, but I do change the Preformatted File system to NTFS
  • Save the changes

Mount the Disk
  • Disks - Mount Point - Management - Add mount point
  • I Choose the Disk I configured above
  • I chosse partition 1, since I know the Laptop only has one primary partition.
  • Filesystem: I choose NTFS
  • Sharename: I call it Windows. You can call it anything you want.
  • I leave everything else as the default.
  • save the changes.

Get to the Files
  • For the easiest access to files I setup the FTP service.
  • I go to Services - FTP
  • I click enable and then Save and Restart.
  • From windows explorer (on the machine I did the WebAdmin work and where I want the data restored to) I go to the folder ftp://freenasIP
  • I see the files from my windows install and grab whatever files I need to backup.

Shutdown the Laptop
  • When Done copying, I just shutdown the system.
  • System - Shutdown

Voila! Now you know how to use FreeNAS as a data recovery tool. There are other dedicated recovery tools, such as SystemRescueCD, but I find FreeNAS very easy to setup and it gives me the results I want faster. Do you use FreeNAS? What features do you like best? Share your thoughts and comments. You can get the current iso of FreeNAS here. Do you have other useful resources for FreeNAS?

You can buy the Learning FreeNAS: Configure and manage a network attached storage solution book if you are looking for a good reference book.

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Brian said...

Cool. It seems so obvious after hearing this, but I probably would have never thought of using my LiveCD for this!

FrugalNYC said...

Hi Brian,

It pays to get a little creative huh? Technically, just about all LiveCD distros of Linux/BSD can be used to do simple data recovery work. I just find FreeNAS to be one of the easiest to use in this regard. :) Thanks for visiting and reading FrugalTech posts.

ravi said...

nice post

to knew more about data recovery you must visit


FrugalNYC said...

Hi Ravi,

Thanks. I've added you to the blogroll. Good resource for data recovery.

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FrugalNYC said...

Thanks for the info alex. There are a number of good recovery tools out there for pst files. I may address that in a future post.

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I am also using a data recovery tool and I have been dependent on it for years. I had a problem with my hard disk and luckily I have a back up.

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