How to backup Windows onto NAS4Free

By | February 26, 2016

There are many ways to utilize the NAS4Free operating system, the one I’ll be covering here is creating a Windows backup onto an iSCSI target. It takes about 10 minutes to do and protects you against your hard drive failing. Creating a backup this way is a quick and easy way to protect yourself without having to keep track of external hard drives and recovery USBs. You can restore your entire operating system and files through the network this way, too.

1) Navigate to services –> iSCSI Target

nas4free menu

2) Create Portals and Initiators groups
iscsi portals group

Add the group and the default settings should be fine. Do the same for the “Portals” tab.

3) Create iSCSI extent

iscsi extent

4) Select the extent

iscsi extent

Select the extent you just created. I created mine on a ZFS dataset and named it “extent0”.

5) Add groups (created in #2)

iscsi target groups
Add the groups you created earlier for Portal and Initiator fields.

Connect and format the drive:

Make sure you remember to hit “apply changes” and “save and restart” when done. Now you should have an iSCSI target available on your network. Now all you need to do is go to your start menu, search for “iSCSI Initiator” and open the menu. Quick connect to the target (it will appear with the name you gave it, or the default name) and then search and open diskmgmt.exe. A menu will pop up saying it has detected a new device or drive. Make it MBR bootable and click ok. Find it in the management window and make sure it is the right one (it should be completely empty, unallocated) and format it as NTFS.


Then all you need to do is go to File History Settings and click “System Image Backup”. It should be in the lower left corner of the window. The size of the backup image should be about 4/5 the size of your Window’s install with all the programs and files. My 50 GB backup took 1-2 hours to create, but I could still use my computer as it did not consume too much CPU usage or memory. To schedule backups, you can easily use file history as a lightweight solution to backing up your non-system files. You may also use task scheduler to create full system backups on a regular basis, but this requires a little more knowledge regarding commands and arguments.

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