Don't trust cloud storage? Create your own network made from an old computer

Don't trust cloud storage? Create your own network made from an old computer

Old computers are usually thrown away, not realizing that they can still serve you very well. You'll be surprised to know that you can turn your dusty old computer into a modern home network server where you can store your important files.

NAS is a small home server that provides a secure place to store your documents, photos, videos and other important files. It allows you to access data from outside your home network and automatically works with modern TVs to stream movies stored on your NAS.

There are ready-made NAS solutions on the market that will cost you several hundred dollars. You may think that NAS is a rather complicated system, and you will be surprised when you find out that you can use a regular computer as a NAS, but you will only need to install special software on it. You can create your own from an old PC!

You can create a fully functional home server using a regular old computer at no cost thanks to the amazing programs TrueNAS (formerly FreeNAS) or NAS4Free. TrueNAS is designed for more powerful computers with 64-bit processors (no older than AMD Athlon 64 or Intel Pentium 4), while NAS4Free is for weaker and older computers with 32-bit processors. For such a device you do not need a monitor, keyboard or even a mouse. You only need to connect it with an Ethernet cable to your router. Here's how to create your own NAS.

Here is an example of installation and configuration using the TrueNAS 12.0 system as an example.

An old computer should have the following components: a case that can accommodate at least two hard drives, a motherboard with a network card, or a separate network card, a 64-bit processor, a large hard drive (or multiple drives), at least two USB ports or a compact drive. -disks. To configure and further manage the NAS, you will use the network interface displayed on the screen of another computer connected to your home network.

Connect your old computer to the router with a network cable. Separately, prepare two flash drives, including one with a minimum capacity of 16 GB, on which you will install the TrueNAS system, and another on which you will write the installer.

When installing from CD, download the TrueNAS CORE 13.0-U3.1.iso file and right-click on it, then select "Open with" and select "Windows Disk Image Burning Tool". Insert a blank CD-R into the burner and start recording by pressing the Burn button.

To install TrueNAS from a flash drive, we will need the same file, but also the Win32 Disk Imager program.

After launching Win32 DiskImager, a window will open in which, using the blue "Browse" button to the right of the "Image file" field, we look for the folder in which we saved the TrueNAS CORE 13.0-U3.1.iso disk image (in the format in the drop-down menu above the "Open" and "Cancel" change the display of Disk Image files to display all *.* files).

Insert a flash drive with a capacity of at least 2 GB into the USB port and select its letter from the drop-down menu. Click the "Save" button and the disk image will be written to the USB flash drive.

Insert the disk into the drive or flash drive into the slot of the old computer and turn on the computer. If the installer does not start, change the boot order in the BIOS to CD-ROM or USB, respectively, and restart the computer.

After a while, the installer will launch and a menu will appear on the screen, select Install/Update and confirm by pressing Enter.

You will see a menu for selecting the drive on which TrueNAS will be installed. Use the Spacebar to select a USB drive with at least 8 GB of capacity and press Enter. After a while, a warning will appear stating that all data on this media will be deleted and no data can be stored on this media. You will also see a prompt asking you to enter your root password, which you will need to log into the admin GUI after you restart the NAS. Enter your password, click on ↓ and repeat it in the lower window. Confirm by pressing "Enter".

The TrueNAS installation will begin and may take up to a few minutes (depending on your computer's performance).

Once it is completed, in the next dialog box we press Enter, which takes us to the menu where we selected "Install/Update", but now we remove the system CD from the drive or unplug the flash drive and restart the NAS by selecting "Reboot system". It is important to change the boot order in the BIOS from CD-ROM to USB.

Your NAS will start up and a menu for selecting options will appear on the screen, as well as the IP number under which the NAS will be available on your home network - write it down. The Console Setup menu can be used to administer your system if the TrueNAS GUI on another computer is no longer available. You can now turn off your monitor. Your NAS is installed. You can customize and configure it according to your needs.