How to convert an old PC into a modern server

Don't recycle that aging desktop PC--give it a new purpose in life.

By David Murphy , PC World |  Data Center, hardware, PCs

Now, power up the computer, tap the key that calls up its BIOS boot menu, and choose the option to have the machine boot from its optical drive instead of from its hard drive. If no such menu exists, you'll have to enter the BIOS itself and change the boot order there.

Once all of FreeNAS's FreeBSD-based Linux commands have done their work, you'll see a simple installation screen that gives you four options to choose from. Select the first--the option to install or upgrade FreeNAS 8 to a hard drive or flash drive--and press Enter. Any storage media connected to your system will appear on the next screen. In that next screen, you'll eventually want to select your flash drive as a target for the installation (the OS will create two partitions on the drive: one for the OS itself and one for future FreeNAS upgrades)--but don't press anything yet.

Before choosing the installation destination, you need to be aware that FreeNAS will eradicate the data and partitions on the flash drive that you install it on. So this is your last chance to archive any files that your flash drive already contains, before they vanish forever. When you're ready, choose the thumb drive, select Yes, and press Enter. A prompt will appear when the FreeNAS installation process is complete. Press Enter and then select the option to reboot your system in the main menu.

While your system is rebooting, repeat the step where you chose which drive FreeNAS will boot from by default--but this time specify that you want it to boot from the thumb drive plugged into one of the system's USB ports.

Setting Up Your Storage

Once FreeNAS has finished loading, you'll see a console screen that lists all of the networking options you can set for FreeNAS. At this point, your server is up and running.

Assuming that your system works fine at the default settings--and it should, as long as it's connected to your network via ethernet cable--you'll receive an IP address that you can use to access FreeNAS's primary settings. Type this IP address into the Web browser's address bar on any system connected to your network and press Enter.

The first thing you'll want to do within this Web-based configuration screen is to change your user credentials. Look to the left side and click the My Account menu item to expand it. Now choose an admin user name and a password. Click the button to save your changes. Then click Change Password and do the same. Security first!


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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