Now that we have completed all of the boring initial setup of our FreeNAS server, we can get on to the fun stuff. (For those of you who have not done the boring initial setup, I would suggest that you quickly catch up!)
If you are new to non-Windows operating systems, you may think it rather odd that we are using a FreeBSD based system (FreeNAS) to store files from a Windows system. In fact, this is a rather common practice and it is all thanks to a wonderful little thing called Samba. Samba basically lets you share files between Windows and non-Windows systems by implementing an open source version of the SMB/CIFS networking protocol.
Activating and Configuring the CIFS Service
The first thing that we need to do is activate the CIFS service.
Under the Services menu, click on the CIFS option. This will present you with the CIFS service options.
Check off the check box to activate the CIFS service. You will notice that all of the options below become available.
There are three fields that should be set in order to work properly with your network:
- Authentication - This is how the FreeNAS server determines who has access to it. I am setting this to Anonymous because it is the quickest way to get the server up and running. I will change this later because this is definitely not the best setting in the long term.
- NetBiosName - Older operating systems relied on NetBIOS to determine computer names on the network. This option helps with backward compatibility and even makes the newer versions of Windows work better. I suggest setting this option to the same as the host name.
- Workgroup - The workgroup is the name given to the collection of computers that you want to communicate with on the network. Common workgroup names are workgroup and mshome. If you are on a corporate network, this will be your NetBIOS domain name. To determine your domain or workgroup name, simply use this little VBScript code:
Set WshNetwork = WScript.CreateObject("WScript.Network")
WScript.Echo "Domain/Workgroup = " & WshNetwork.UserDomain
Once you have entered this information, click on the button.
Now, if you click on Start -> Run… and then enter in the name of your server, you should see all of your shares:
If you are getting errors stating that the system cannot find your FreeNAS server, add an entry to your HOSTS file or your DNS server and away you go!
There are a number of different tweaks and configuration changes that you can perform to change how the shares look and how you access them, but this is the basis of all that. Good luck with your testing!
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