How to Upgrade FreeNAS

Ever since iXsystems started overseeing the development of FreeNAS they have been releasing software updates a lot more frequently.

Version 8.1 is already in beta and has several great features listed in the roadmap such as 3rd party plug-ins, and BitTorrent support.

Generally I'm not an early adopter of new software releases but the latest versions of FreeNAS 8 have included some important bug fixes that I have wanted to take advantage of.

In this hub I'm going to show you how to upgrade FreeNAS 8 to the latest software release. I'll also show you how to backup your config file before you install the update in case you run into any issues.

Backing up the Configuration

I recommend backing up the configuration for FreeNAS before you make any changes, especially upgrading to a new version.

If something goes wrong during your change you can reinstall FreeNAS from scratch and restore you config file. It's very easy and only takes a few seconds to download the file and it will save you a lot of time if you need to use it.

  1. Log into the web interface.
  2. Click on the services button.
  3. Then click on the settings tab.
  4. Under settings click on the config tab, you should see the page in the screenshot below.
  5. Click on 'Save Config' to download a copy of the configuration.

If you need to restore a config file follow the same steps except click on 'Upload Config'.

A copy of the config file can be downloaded from the web interface.
A copy of the config file can be downloaded from the web interface.

Upgrading from the Web GUI

The easiest method for upgrading to the newest FreeNAS release is to use the web interface.

If you are upgrading from version 8.X or earlier you will need to perform an upgrade using the CD method below.

  1. Download the GUI_Upgrade.xz file for your architecture.
  2. You will also need to download the release notes to match the file you downloaded. The release notes contain the hash which is used to verify the download.
  3. Shut down all of the services (system menu \ services tab).
  4. Click on System, then settings, then Firmware Update.
  5. Select a volume to use as temp space for the firmware file and click 'Apply Update'.
  6. Click on 'Choose File' and select the file you downloaded in step 1.
  7. Enter the hash that corresponds to the file you downloaded and click apply update.

After performing the steps the system needs to be rebooted to finish applying the update.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
I recommend disabling all of the services before starting the upgrade process.Firmware updates can be applied through the web GUI on the system settings page.Upload the update file and enter the hash so the file can be verified.After the update is applied the system will need to be rebooted before it can take affect.
I recommend disabling all of the services before starting the upgrade process.
I recommend disabling all of the services before starting the upgrade process.
Firmware updates can be applied through the web GUI on the system settings page.
Firmware updates can be applied through the web GUI on the system settings page.
Upload the update file and enter the hash so the file can be verified.
Upload the update file and enter the hash so the file can be verified.
After the update is applied the system will need to be rebooted before it can take affect.
After the update is applied the system will need to be rebooted before it can take effect.

Upgrading from CD

To use the CD upgrade method you will need to download the full installation ISO for the architecture of your system, either i386 for 32-bit systems or amd64 if you have a 64-bit processor.

This method is very similar to the process of setting up FreeNAS on a new system.

When you upgrade using a CD your configuration will be automatically transferred to the new version.

  1. Once you've burned the ISO to a disc.
  2. Place the disc in the NAS and boot from it.
  3. Select option number 1, install/upgrade from the menu.
  4. Choose the disc where FreeNAS is currently installed from the list.
  5. Select 'Yes' when asked if you want to upgrade. If you don't have this option then your FreeNAS installation was not detected. (Check your disc selection)
  6. Start the upgrade process by selecting 'Yes' again.


Click thumbnail to view full-size
The upgrade process begins the same way a new installation would.Select the drive that the FreeNAS OS is installed on.  If you installed on a USB drive select it from the list.The installer will detect a previous version of FreeNAS and offer to upgrade it.Confirm the process to start the upgrade.The upgrade process will automatically migrate the config file to the new version.After the upgrade is done reboot the system and remove the disc.
The upgrade process begins the same way a new installation would.
The upgrade process begins the same way a new installation would.
Select the drive that the FreeNAS OS is installed on.  If you installed on a USB drive select it from the list.
Select the drive that the FreeNAS OS is installed on. If you installed on a USB drive select it from the list.
The installer will detect a previous version of FreeNAS and offer to upgrade it.
The installer will detect a previous version of FreeNAS and offer to upgrade it.
Confirm the process to start the upgrade.
Confirm the process to start the upgrade.
The upgrade process will automatically migrate the config file to the new version.
The upgrade process will automatically migrate the config file to the new version.
After the upgrade is done reboot the system and remove the disc.
After the upgrade is done reboot the system and remove the disc.

Completing the Upgrade

After the upgrade process finishes you can reboot the system and remove the disc from the drive.

Once it boots up you can check the system information to verify the update was succesfully applied. The FreeNAS build version should match the version of the update you applied.

If the update was a success the FreeNAS Build version should be updated on the system information page.
If the update was a success the FreeNAS Build version should be updated on the system information page.

Updating Manually

If the CD and GUI options are not working out you can update FreeNAS using the console.

The console update method isn't offically supported but it has saved me from reinstalling the OS from scratch a few times when I couldn't get the update to apply correctly.

The manual update process also provides more visibility to any errors that occur during the upgrade since you can watch the process via the console.

© 2011 Sam Kear

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