Networking HowTos
Networking HowTos

Install FreeNAS 8 to USB on Linux

January 21, 2013 Linux

This ‘how to’ guide will step you through the process of installing FreeNAS 8 to a USB memory stick using a Linux computer.

This can be a handy too if you have a system that has crashed, and you just want to get it back up and running so you can copy files off of it. You can simply plug in a USB memory stick with FreeNAS installed to it, configure it to share out one or more of the drives, and access the data from the network.
You will need a USB memory stick that is 2GB in size or larger. This example is using the 64bit version of FreeNAS, however the same will apply to the 32bit version, as long as you update the file names in the examples to suit the 32bit file names.
Install FreeNAS 8 to USB on Linux
Download the FreeNAS 8 ISO:
(Check to obtain the latest version of FreeNAS)

$ wget ""

Make a temp folder we can use to mount the ISO:

$ mkdir tmp_iso_mnt

Mount the iso image to the temp folder:

$ sudo mount -o loop FreeNAS-8.3.0-RELEASE-p1-x64.iso tmp_iso_mnt

Copy the compressed image from the ISO to your local filesystem:

$ cp tmp_iso_mnt/FreeNAS-x64.img.xz .

Un-mount the ISO file:

$ sudo umount ./tmp_iso_mnt

Remove the temp folder:

$ rm -rf ./tmp_iso_mnt

Un-compress the image file:

$ unxz FreeNAS-x64.img.xz

Find the device name for your USB memory stick:
Use something like the following to find the device name:

$ dmesg | grep sd

This should show any reference to ‘sd*’. Make sure you get the USB memory stick device name and not a local hard disk.
It will be something like /dev/sde for example. It typically wont be /dev/sda.
Use fdisk to view the existing partition structure on the USB memory stick. This may help to determine what device is your USB stick.

$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sde

Write the FreeNAS image to the USB memory stick:
Make sure the ‘of’ (stands for Output File) parameter refers to the device name for your USB memory stick.

$ sudo dd if=FreeNAS-x64.img of=/dev/sde

This will take a few minutes.
Once its completed, FreeNAS will be installed on the USB memory stick.
Unplug the USB memory stick, and test it in another computer by booting off it. If all went well, it should boot into FreeNAS, and you can start configuring it.
You may need to change the boot order, or press the ‘boot menu’ button when the PC is booting to be able to boot off the USB device.

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