Turn Raspberry into a small NAS with samba

I got a Raspberry Pi Model B. It’s cheap and I want to do some experiments for fun.

Experiment #1: I have a 1T external HDD (FAT) and I want to turn Raspberry into a very basic NAS.

I used:

  • 1 External USB HDD (with external power supply)
  • 1 ethernet cable CAT. 5 (10/100) or better
  • 1 HDMI cable and monitor / tv
  • 1 smartphone microusb battery charger
  • 1 SDHC (for the OS)
  • Raspbian “wheezy” (tested on 2012-08-16 release)
  • 1 modem router for connectivity (4 port)
  • 1 Windows PC plugged to the router

I flashed Raspbian into a class 10 SDHC, I follow this useful howto about to turn on HDMI instead of TV and voilà, I got a down-scaled debian system into a silent, little board that I charge with the smartphone charger via microusb (5V, 700mA).

I plug a wireless mouse and keyboard on the first USB port, and then I plug my external drive on the second. Debian read the FAT partition well (mounted on /media/MYDRIVE), but now I have to turn it into a wannabe-NAS.

Shall we dance? With Samba!

I plug the RJ-45 ethernet connector from my modem router into the Raspberry Pi and I follow this howto in Italian.

$ is a pi console (Start > Accessories > LXTerminal)
# is a root console (Start > Accessories > Root terminal)

# adduser guest --home=/home/public --shell=/bin/false --disabled-password
# sudo chmod -R 0700 /home/public
# chown -R guest.guest /home/public
$ sudo apt-get install samba smbfs

Then I have a new user “guest” with no password authentication. The howto covers the creation of a shared home (/home/public) but I do something slightly different (WORKGROUP is my local network name):

editing /etc/samba/smb.conf

## Browsing/Identification ###
# Change this to the workgroup/NT-domain name your Samba server will part of
   workgroup = WORKGROUP

####### Authentication #######
   security = share

   obey pam restrictions = yes
   guest account = guest
   invalid users = root

And now the most interesting part:

comment = Mydrive
read only = no
locking = no
path = /media/MYDRIVE
guest ok = yes
force user = pi

Where /media/MYDRIVE is the path to your external usb drive.

And then:

# /etc/init.d/samba restart

to apply.

As this howto explains, the “force user” allows a user (i.e. guest) to get the files from a device mounted by another user (i.e. pi, the default raspbian user).

Have fun

Now on the Windows machine on the Network panel I look for RASPBERRYPI and inside it I find the “mydrive” folder, with all the files from MYDRIVE within. I play a 720p video without slowdown. And so, the cheap NAS experiment is successfully completed.

13 thoughts on “Turn Raspberry into a small NAS with samba

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  2. sid5427

    nice one !

    was wondering another thing

    did you try using an USB hub and connecting 2 or more external hard drives ?

    I would assume i’ll need to ‘mount’ the two hard drives separately i.e. having two mydrive folders ?

    1. chirale Post author

      Not yet but yes, you have to add a new section to smb.conf using a different mount point and a different header. So change Mydrive into something else on the second declaration. Be careful not to drain too much power from the Pi, I suggest you to plug only externally powered devices. Thank you for reading!

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  6. joohnny

    Hi there,

    Thanks fot his post. I’ve been starting using this method a few weeks ago and it worked fine. Now, I’ve got a crash when I was in vacation : samba was not running anymore when I came back home (pidof samba returns nothing). I don’t know if the power has been cut or not. How can I find a crash report? I saw on the smb.conf that there is a script /usr/share/samba/panic-action that should have been executed. Unfortulately, I don’t know the script language and don’t understand where the infos have been sent. Thanks for help.

    1. chirale Post author

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Logs are usually stored in /var/log/samba/ you’ll probably find a hint about what happens inside that directory typing: “sudo bash” and then “less +G /var/log/samba/filename-to-read”.

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