FreeNAS – Upgrades and a corrupted USB stick

FreeNAS – Upgrades and a corrupted USB stick

Last week I decided it was probably time to finally upgrade my FreeNAS server from 11.2 U2 to 11.2 U7 as it was giving me rrdcache errors on shutdown and also ground to a halt when I was doing a large clonezilla backup of my machine.

Whilst I was at it I decided it was also probably time to finally do the modded BIOS update for my Microserver N40L so I could put an extra 1TB disk in it.  I won’t go in to great detail about this part as it’s been blogged to death but after some digging around I found and followed Nathanial Perez’s blog article hp-proliant-n40l-bios-modification-guide to do the BIOS update.  The added bonus is that Nathanial also has the files available for download as I found trawling around that getting hold of them leads to a lot of dead links.

Anyhoo, I also purchased a pack of three Molex to Sata power cables and a pack of three SATA cables (With one connector at 90 degrees) from Amazon and once the BIOS upgrade was done and the settings changed to enable the internal SATA port, I had an extra 1TB Volume in my FreeNAS to hold a NFS SR for my Citrix Hypervisors !

On the upgrading FreeNAS front I decided to go for a fresh install and restore back my config which also went remarkably easily but after a week or so, I booted it up and it failed.  All I got was an input / output error on screen and no more booting which meant my USB stick has bit the dusk by the looks of it.

Another cheeky Amazon purchase of a pack of three SanDisk 16GB Cruzer Blade sticks for around £8 and it was time for another reinstall and restore of my config.  To be fair the failed stick has been in use for quite a while and wasn’t exactly a good brand so for the sake of a few quid and other reviews of people using them for FreeNAS I figured I’d get the SanDisk ones.

With all that done I also decided to mirror the Boot USB too through FreeNAS so that I now have one plugged in internally and one on the back. For mirroring the boot drives after the initial install I ended up watching this youtube video from UnaClocker and then performed the steps as shown below:

  • Booted the server and once up plugged in the additional USB stick
  • Logged on to my FreeNAS and navigated to Storage > Disks which showed da0 as my Boot Pool and da1 as Unused:


  • Navigated to System > Boot Environments and clicked on the blue BOOT POOL STATUS button:


  • Under Boot Pool Status highlight freenas-boot, click on the three dots, and select Attach:


  • In the attach screen click on the down arrow and select the Member Disk (I only had da1 to choose from as it’s the only unused disk) and select Use all disk space


  • Click on the blue SAVE button and it will show Attaching Device… with a progress bar in percent.
  • Once attached the freenas-boot pool will be resilvered and to see it’s progress click on the rotating arrows in the top right of the GUI which will then show the percent done of the resilvering or wait for the rotating arrows to disappear when the task is completed.
  • Now under Boot Pool Status it will show below freenas-boot mirror which then includes both disks:


One that was done I saved my config again and now I should have a mirrored boot environment ! The next steps are to test out booting from each to make sure it’s actually working but that can wait for another day.

It’s probably overkill for my little setup but as with most of these things more of an opportunity for learning something new rather than mission critical reasons !

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