Best of the Forums

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This page is dedicated to links to interesting articles in the unRAID forums. unRAID users are encouraged to add new links as useful threads are created that would be of value to other users. Readers will likely find summaries of some of these threads in other areas of the wiki, but these posts will often provide more details into the history of some of the concepts you will find there. Writing wiki articles is time consuming, so many interesting facts can only be found in the forums. If well maintained, this will become a very useful guide to the Best of the Forums.


For more user contributed content, follow these links ...

Newbie's Corner

- Latest stable version: unRAID 4.7 Final

- Watch this very informative segment on unRAID. Demonstrates the basics of setting up and using an array. Great place to start! Excellent!

- A second video introduction to unRAID... really great... demonstrates complete setup and build of an unRAID server. Very Nicely Done

- The Evils of the Restore button (Also read HERE and HERE too)

The button labeled "restore" on early versions of unRAID does NOT restore data. In fact, pressed at the wrong time 
(when a drive has failed) will cause data loss.  
In version 4.5.4 of unRAID the "restore" button was removed 
and replaced with an "initconfig" command.  
In version 5.0 (latest beta), the feature has been moved to the "New Config" option on 
"Utils" tab.
All three of these features are exactly equivalent. 
It sets a new disk configuration based on the currently assigned and working disks and 
immediately invalidates parity.  When the array is next started, 
a new parity calculation will begin.  
Parity protection is lost until the new parity calculation is complete.

- What is Parity? (Also read here for more parity facts)

- Some useful Troubleshooting Techniques for New Users

- User Shares Explanation

- User Benchmarks (old)

- What is a cache disk? (Also read HERE for cache disk release notes from the author, and HERE for an analysis of the pros and cons of a cache disk.)

- Top 10 Ways to Lose Data with unRAID

- Tip For Setup up User Shares

- Motherboard Options

Also see the "USB Boot Issues" section below!

Maintenance Recommendations

- Preventative Maintenance Recommendations

- Maintenance and Array Integrity

- Voice of Real World Experience (Read HERE too)

- Run Parity Check Monthly (via cron) (new)

Tweaks and Enhancements

- 30% Performance Improvement on Reads!

- Improve Network Performance with User Shares

- Configuring Samba (how to enable custom / anonymous shares)

- Enable usermaps and custom shares using Samba (new)

- Tweak your parity sync speeds

Hardware Suggestions

- Recommended unRAID Server Config (from 6/14/08)

- Add on SATA Controllers

- What to look for in a Motherboard

- Some general hardware suggestions including PSU Sizing

- Where to buy cables and more

- PCI or PCI-E, That is the Question

- Western Digital Green (GP) Drives - The Good and the Bad

- What memory should I buy so it it compatible with my motherboard?

- Should I buy fast memory?

- Beware some high wattage PSUs

- Problem spinning down Samsung 1T drives

- Recommended MB (if you can find it) P5B VM DO (More here )

- Avoiding heat issues

- Gigabit Speed Explained (new)

- Good PSU Thread (new)

- Links related to Seagate 1.5T drives (firmware issue) (new)

How To's

- Safety Procedures for Adding or Upgrading a Disk

- EXCELLENT Tutorial on Upgrading A Disk (Same Procedure as Replacing a Defective Disk)

- Procedure to Burn-in Two New Drives

- Mounting NTFS drive on unRAID server (Info on ntfs-3g driver) (Next topic explains how to copy files)

- Move Data Without Using Network. (Also see Transferring Files Within the unRAID Server for info on Midnight Commander and other techniques)

- How to Shutdown unRAID at a Certain Time Every Day (requires Powerdown script)

- Configure NTP and Custom Timezones

- Set up rsync on unRAID server

- Set up a crontab (for example, to powerdown the server every night) - also see Avoid overwritten crontab changes

- Wake on LAN (Also here)

- Compare files using checksum

- How to cache directory entries (avoid disk spinups when searching for files)

- Starting array after BIOS shuffles disk assignments

- How to replace several smaller drives with fewer larger drives

- How to remove a drive from an array without losing parity protection

- How to upgrade the firmware on Seagate 1.5TB drives

- Linux and on-line reference materials (Awk, Sed, HTML, Regular Expressions, Shell, vi) Excellent!!

- Linux 101 - Don't fear the command line. Great series of tutorials! Excellent!! (new)

- Limit max size of syslog

- Optimized way to upsize parity and add old parity to the array (Very similar but not quite as optimized w/ screenshots) Excellent!!!

- How to embed images in posts on the unRAID forum (new)

unRAID Addons and Tools

- Links to Slackware versions of an IRC client, screen, and openssh

- Links to PuTTY (Telnet client), reiserfs Windows driver and associated tools

- Linux hard disk tool called hdparm - info and download

- Spincontrol - Remote spinup / spindown tool

- Smartctl v5.36 - Getting S.M.A.R.T. data from hard disks (included with unRAID 4.3 Final) Click here for an excellent article on smartctl (improved)

- Smartctl v5.38 - Recognizes newer drives (Detailed INSTALL directions.) (Included in unRAID (@@@ version needed))

- Smartctl v5.39 - Recognizes newer drives (new)

- Understanding SMART results (new)

- Ethtool - Ethernet Tool for unRAID

- Powerdown Script (Great wikis on this HERE and HERE) Configure for power button

- Basic Shutdown Script (short enough to type by hand at console)

- Telnet Scripting Tool (shutdown unRAID from a Windows shortcut) Note: The example depends upon a "stop" script which is not present in newer versions of unRAID, but easy to modify to use Powerdown script.

- Unison (similar to rsync) for Windows and Unix

- Updated Syslinux (helps with hang on bzimage on some systems)

- Built-in command aliases (usable in telnet sessions)

- uTorrent - Bit Torrent Client for Windows (direct link)

- Send email from a script

- Detailed guide on installing hellanzb (.nzb file downloader), includes twisted, python, rar, par2cmdline

- Unmenu - Supplemental Web Interface for unRAID (Original Thread; Latest version: unMenu 1.3) (new) Excellent!!

- Run Parity Check Monthly (via cron)

- Network Performance Tool - bwm-ng

- Notepad2: Windows Text Editor that handles UNIX style text files

- MHDD: MS-DOS Based Hard Disk Diagnostic Program

- Clear drive outside of array for quick add to array later

- Burn in and stress producing tools

- Link to site of hard disk related tools

- Link to info on memtest

- Screen - Allow disconnected telnet sessions (great for preclearing disks) (new)

- Updated hdparm - eliminates HDIO_GET_IDENTITY errors with SM AOC_SASLP_MV8 (new)

Active Research

- Installing VMware on unRAID Server

- Compiling a custom kernel with unRAID --- especially this post

- How to permanently add Slackware packages to your unRAID

- Trying to run unRAID on regular hard drive

- unRAID running in VirtualBox

- Using the power button for clean shutdown

- Running unRAID with a full Slackware distro (and HERE) (improved)

- UPS Support for unRAID,especially HERE and HERE

- Hamachi VPN

Solutions to Common Problems

- Vista Performance Issues

- More Vista Performance Issues

- Still more Vista Performance Issues Excellent!!

- Another more technical thread related to Vista

- Problems with Samba and Vista

- Drive installed and working but just won't spin down

- Corrupted file names in unRAID


- Troubleshooting Network Problems

- Troubleshooting Hard Drive Errors

- Explanation of Read and Write Hard Disk Errors

- Data recovery experience - A great write-up, mentions SpinRite and HDD Regenerator

- What it means if a drive shows up as unformatted

- Great Info on Power Supplies (follow the link in the post)

- What happens when unRAID runs out of memory (e.g., syslog gets huge)?

- ABIT AB9 Pro - Working Guide

- Correct way to run reiserfsck

- unRAID Load Options Needed for Some Motherboards

- What to do with drive popping and clicking or drive errors in the syslog

- What to do with a red ball next to a drive

- Also read the wiki Troubleshooting guide!

USB Boot Issues

- USB won't boot from supported motherboard (-ma issue)

- System hangs loading bzimage - also see THIS link

- System hangs after starting to boot

- HP USB Format Tool

- Remove U3 from USB flash disk

- Locate your USB GUID

- Getting Your Flash to emulate a ZIP Drive

- Create Bootable isolinux CD to replace flash

- Configure USB as bootable removable disk

- Make USB Flash Drive bootable on BIOS that only supports USB-ZIP boot

- Boot using a "kicker" floppy (for older motherboards)

Hail to the Chief (Posts from Tom)

- "Unofficial" USB Policy

- Athena Backplane Issue

- Reorder / renumber disks

- Good "split level" explanation and example (Changed behavior for split level 0 beginning in 4.3 release)

- Cache disk - detailed description

- How often does Tom monitor the forums? Why hasn't he answered MY question?

- Explanation of the mdcmd set invalidslot command

- Special BIOS update procedure for P5E-VM-DO Motherboard

- Beware some high wattage PSUs

- Correct way to run reiserfsck

- What happens if you are rebuilding a disk and get a read error (stripe kill scenario)

- Guidance on using "included" and "excluded" in user share configurations

- Read only parity check - v 4.5b2+

- New split level feature in 4.4+

How does unRAID work?

- Why does it take longer to sync a new (bigger) parity drive when all the data drives remain the same?

- How does unRAID know if an error is on the parity drive or a data drive?

Miscellaneous Posts

- Discussion of the Wiki

- Photo Gallery of unRAID Servers

- Hard Disk Temperature Discussion

- Upgrading unRAID (works for Basic, Plus and Pro)

- Unraid reliability

- Description of Torrent and option of distributing unRAID software in this way

- Movie recommendations from unRAID users

- Interesting (but dated) review of unRAID (Dec 2007)

- How much does it cost in electricity to run my unRAID server?

- When do you retire old drives? Its not as simple as you might think (and follow the link in the first post)

- How does unRAID know if an error is on the parity drive or a data drive?

- The Seven Stages of an unRAID user (new)