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Unofficial ReadyNAS Getting Started Guide

By dbott | February 2, 2010

This guide is designed to help users avoid some common problems when setting up and configuring their new ReadyNAS device.

Generally speaking, the ReadyNAS devices are quite easy to setup. Most units come with the drives pre-installed and configured, however, there are a few models that are available in a diskless version (notably the Pioneer Editions of the Pro and NVX, as well as some models of the Duo and NV+). Basically, you just install the disks, turn the unit on and configure the NAS.  In my experience, however, I found it best to do a few things before configuring the NAS to avoid problems down the road.

This guide makes the assumption that you will be purchasing your own disks, but even if the disks came pre-installed, I recommend taking the time to follow this procedure.

WARNING: The ReadyNAS is basically a linux computer.  Any [approved] disks that was used in another system will be initialized by the NAS and any existing data will be wiped. Some users expect to be able to insert a disk with data in an empty slot on the NAS and copy the data over to the array.  Doing this will result in the data being wiped from the disk.

Selecting and Testing Your Disks

  1. Be sure to only select disks that appear on the Hardware Compatibility List.  Using non-approved disks can result in various issues ranging from disks dropping out of the array to catastrophic data loss.
  2. Before installing the disks in the array, please take the time to test the disks using the vendor tools.  Disks can get damaged during shipping and handling, as well as just be flaky straight from the factory.  You will need to install each disk into a SATA-capable PC in order to test the disks.  If any of the disks fail the vendor test then you should replace the drive before proceeding.
  3. If you are going to use HCL-approved disks that were used elsewhere (such as a computer or other device), be advised that the ReadyNAS will initialize the disk and wipe any data that exists on the disk. In order to get the NAS to initialize the disks, you may need to delete any/all partitions from the disk as the ReadyNAS may detect a valid partition signature on the disk and refuse to initialize it.  Even if the disk was working fine previously, you should still take the time to test it.


Now that the disks are tested and verified to be error free, you can install them into the ReadyNAS.  The ReadyNAS should come with a disk tray for each slot, as well as 4 screws for each tray.

Note: the ReadyNAS will not boot without at least 1 drive installed.

  1. Install the disks into the trays as per the Quick Start Guide.
  2. Install the latest version of RAIDar on your computer.
  3. Once the disks are installed into the chassis and RAIDar is installed on your computer, perform a factory default:
  4. After the factory default process begins, you will have a 10-minute window to connect to the ReadyNAS using RAIDar to configure the unit for X-RAID or Flex-RAID.  Select your desired level of RAID and complete the configuration.  Please note that the process of initializing each disk and creating the volume can take a number of hours to complete.
  5. After basic configuration, but before copying any data, it is recommended to upgrade to the latest version of firmware and then perform another factory default.  This 2nd factory default would allow any new firmware features to be effective (such as support for larger disks, ext4 filesystems, etc.).  Check the firmware release notes for further information.


The configuration process is quite easy for the creation of users and shares, however, there are some configuration issues that can cause problems if you’re not careful.  Many access problems stem from some sort of naming conflict, such as creating a share with the same name as a user account:

  1. Password for the Admin Account on the ReadyNAS: You should change the admin password on the ReadyNAS from the default setting (netgear1).  The admin password should be different than any password used in Windows.
  2. Hostname for the NAS: By default, the ReadyNAS will be named something like “NAS-xx-xx-xx” (where xx-xx-xx is the last 3 segments of the MAC address).  If you decide to change it, the hostname should be a unique name on the network that is not the same as any other share, username or computer on the network.
  3. User Accounts on the NAS: You should create a user account for each user that requires access to the ReadyNAS.  Usernames must be unique and cannot be the same as any share or computername on the NAS or network.  When you create each user account on the NAS, a private user share will be created for that user.
  4. Share Names on the NAS: Share names must be unique and cannot be the same as any username or computername on the NAS or network. For example, you should not create a share with the same name as one of the user accounts, as the NAS is configured to create a private share for each user at the time of account creation.
  5. User Accounts in Windows: In order to provide seamless/transparent access from Windows to the ReadyNAS, it is recommended that your Windows Login Account be the same as your ReadyNAS User Account (same username and password).  This way, when the NAS challenges Windows for credentials, Windows will send the current username and password to the NAS for authentication and the user will have the appropriate level of access that has been granted.  It is also recommended that you not login to Windows using an account called “admin”, as this may create problems when connecting to the NAS.

There are a number of additional unofficial guides on this site that can help if you run into problems such as poor wireless performance in Vista/Windows 7 or a NAS disappearing from the network, as well as how to use the NAS for WINS or DHCP or Wake-on-LAN.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that although network attached storage devices can help protect against a failed disk, they are still not immune to other sorts of problems like multiple disk failures, accidental or intentional deletions, fire, flood or theft.  It is always advisable to make sure that you have multiple backups:

Topics: ReadyNAS, Tech | 10 Comments »

10 Responses to “Unofficial ReadyNAS Getting Started Guide”

  1. Bart Says:
    May 11th, 2010 at 8:58 am

    Great little guide.
    Why can´t Netgear supply this ´basic´ information. Not everyone is a network guru or has an IT dept. to make things work!
    Thanks Bott.

  2. ReadyNAS Performance Expectations | The Bott Blog Says:
    May 15th, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    […] Unofficial ReadyNAS Getting Started Guide […]

  3. Bryan Says:
    August 15th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    1. Is there a problem with share names being the same as group names? ie; Management group and a \\netshare\management\xxx

    2. Since this is basically a linux machine. I have noticed there can be issues with capitalization sometimes. Where Linux cares and Windows doesn’t. Accessing directories that were created with uppercase can sometimes cause issues. Wish they would fix that.

  4. Graeme Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 7:58 am

    Any particular “gotchas” by removing a drive from a ReadyNAS duo and putting it into a remote duo? Will the remote nas accept the drive or will it destroy or alter the data on it. Example, you have several gigs of files you want to show to a friend who also has a readynas duo so you pull your backup drive (disk 2) and remove his drive(s) completely and place your drive in his nas. Will it boot? Will it accept the data on the imported drive or cause a major hassle?
    Thanks, Graeme

  5. dbott Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Yes… it’s not really a recommended method of syncing data, as it may wipe the disk upon insertion. The best method is to use USB to backup or some sort of rsync backup job to keep the remote unit up-to-date.

  6. dbott Says:
    August 24th, 2010 at 3:00 pm


    1. It can lead to problems. Not sure why (I don’t work for Netgear), but it does seem to create issues for folks when they create objects (users, groups, shares, hostnames, etc.) with the same name.
    2. Linux-based devices (and OSX, for that matter) have always honoured case-sensitivity when naming files and I doubt that the Linux-community-at-large would allow any change to remove case-sensitivity.

  7. John Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    Thanks for the great information. As Bart said, why can’t tis basic setup information be supplied by Netgear themselves??
    I was thinking that my ReadyNAS was DOA when I cam across this guide and it resolved ALL my problems.
    Thanks Again :)

  8. Gordon Barber Says:
    October 8th, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Only just stumbled upon your site just now & wish I had found it many many hrs ago. Would have saved hrs on the phone to India/Indonesia etc

    I’ve just had to reset my ReadyNAS duo to factory default due to upgrading the drives. I think/hope? I’m now running RAID x. I have green lights in RAIDer for both disks

    Is there any way of checking the 2nd drive (thru windows explorer?) to ensure that all files are being duplicated?

  9. dbott Says:
    October 9th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    @Gordon Barber: No, there’s no way to check the 2nd drive. RAID arrays present themselves as a single volume, whether it be 2 drives or 10 drives. Whenever you write data to the array, the NAS automatically takes care of writing the parity information required. You can check the status of your array in Frontview > Volumes > Volume Settings:

    Configuration: RAID Level X-RAID, 2 Disks
    Status: Redundant

    In your case, the 2nd drive contains parity information, which would not be readable by a typical PC (it needs to be in the NAS). In the event of a disk failure, the NAS can reconstruct the data using the remaining disk(s), depending on the level of RAID that you’re using. On the Duo, using X-RAID will provide you with an expandable RAID1 array (also called a ‘mirror’).

    You’re best bet is to always plan for the worst and hope for the best… and read this:

  10. aaduwaikh Says:
    January 3rd, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    To the point for a starter – Thanks !