How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

We’ve already seen how to install FreeNAS to create a fully customizable NAS. Today we’ll talk about how to create Windows shares on FreeNAS.

This free and open source operating system is quite powerful but it’s not as easy-to-use as it should be. Creating a Windows share requires several steps in different “areas”. Anyway, the operation can be completed in a couple of minutes.

Step 1: create a network interface

Maybe you’ve already configured the network interface, anyway, it’s important to have at least an interface configured and connected in order to have a properly working Windows share.

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 2: configure the domain controller as the NTP server

It’s important to have FreeNAS and the domain controller synchronized. NTP is an easy solution, go to the System menu and, under the General tab, click NTP Server:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Delete all the NTP servers and add a new one:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Specify the IP address of the domain controller:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

NTP configuration completed:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 3: create the dataset you want to share

Datasets are similar to folders and allow a granular configuration of the access permissions and quotas. Create a new dataset from the Storage menu like we did in the example:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 4: Active Directoty connection

Under the Directory Service area you will be able to connect the NAS to your local Active Directory Domain Services. This operation will make FreeNAS able to access AD groups and users:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 5: enable and configure the CIFS service

Under the Services menu it’s possible to start the CIFS service. Click the configuration link:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Set SMB3 as the maximum server protocol:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 6: configure dataset permissions

Open the Storage menu, select the dataset and click Change permissions:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Configure the owner user and group:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Step 7: add the CIFS share

Select Add CIFS share under the Sharing menu. Specify the folder and name the share:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

Configuration completed! Domain users will be now able to access and store data on the share:

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

How to create a Windows share with FreeNAS

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