Installing Ubuntu 16.04.3 on a FreeNAS 11.0-U4 Virtual Machine

Mostly a reminder to myself, but feel free to use the instructions. .

  1. Download Ubuntu server edition from here.

Updated 5/06/2018
Having run with a 5Gig zvol partition for a few months, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not enough, so I’ve increased it to 35Gib, which seems fine for running pi-hole with a home network of under 5 machines.

I’m going to create a 35 gigabyte zvol partition to install the OS, select Storage and navigate to “Create zvol”

These are my setting, you can adjust to your needs.

Select VM’s from the top bar and click on “Add VM” and add the following. These are my settings for a home which only has a few PC’s, you can of course provision it with more CPU’s and more memory as required. Or, run it for a while and change the virtual CPU’s and Memory Size if you find its not sufficient (the wonders of virtualization 🙂 ).


Select Ubuntu16_04 and click on the devices button.

Click on Add Device and navigate to the zvol you created earlier. Ensure that you select VirtIO as the Mode.

Click on Add Device and select CDROM, then browse to the location of your Ubuntu 16.04 installation ISO.

You may want to change the NIC to a VirtIO as mine is below, the Virtual Machine will work with either options selected.

When done your Ubuntu 16.0.4 install should look like this.

Enable Web VNC access, this will allow you to run thorough the install when you start the VM.

Start the VM

Connect to “Vnc via Web” and install Debian.

Follow the GUI and install Ubuntu, remember not to reboot at the end as you’ll be left at the install screen again. At the end of the installation just press the stop button. At this stage, I usually remove the CDROM device, see graphic below. This is how my VM looks.

When you reboot your VM, connect and disconnect using the “Vnc via Web” button a couple of time. You will be presented with the graphic below. Follow the instructions below to fix the bug, it’s an known issue and hopefully I’ll be able to remove the instructions below when fixed.

Boot Problems

If you find yourself left at the UEFI Interactive shell (see below).

Type exit and follow the steps provided.

  • Select Boot Maintenance Manager
  • Select Boot From File
  • Enter
  • Select <EFI>
  • Select <debian>
  • Select grubx64.efi

This will boot the VM and get you to the login prompt, you may have to follow the steps titled “Fix UEFI boot loader” and make the fix permanent.

Fix UEFI boot loader

Login and type the following.


At this stage in the install, I usually change the IP Address to a static IP address outside my DHCP range and remove the VNC Server from the installation.


Building a new home FreeNAS server

My home server is now 9 years old, so I’m thinking it probably about time that I build a new one. I’ve been very lucky so far, probably best not to chance my luck any more,  as consumer hard drives usually only have a 3-5 year guarantee.

After a bit of thought and research, I’ve decided to change from Linux to FreeNAS, this blog post will track my progress and choices as I build my Server over the next couple of months.


I’m going to start with 16Gb and upgrade if needed (Type dependent on motherboard)

Needs to support 4 SATA drives without an additional PCI card, with the possibility of expansion to 6 drives if needed. I intend to run a few VM’s and a few jails, so I need to buy a motherboard that, if needed, I can put a more powerful CPU in.


The server is going to be in my loft, so I don’t feel the need to keep it small or unobtrusive, that and the airflow should be reasonably good in a larger case. If I decide later to move the server somewhere else in the house, I may repurpose the case.

microATX form factor
MicroATX motherboards are the most popular size for FreeNAS servers, mostly because entry- level server motherboards based on LGA 115x platforms tend to use this form factor.

After a bit of thought about the specifications, I’ve decided to go with the Skyline motherboard and processor, socket LGA 1151, this should be a good starting point, as the motherboard supports 6 SATA port and a whopping 64Gb of memory it should be good for all my needs in the future.

Power Supply

There’s a really good article here about calculation the required power supply wattage. I’m initially going to use 4 drive but might over time upgrade to 6.

  • Each drive will need approximately 35 Watts each.         6 X 35 = 210W
  • Approximately 25W for the motherboard.                                         25W
  • The motherboard supports a maximum CPU wattage of                  80W
  • 4 slots available on the motherboard for memory                4 X 6 = 24W
  • 2 built in fans on the Fractal Design Case + CPU Fan       3 X 30 = 90W

By my calculations that approximately 429W. Multiply the wattage by 1.25 to give a reasonable margin of error gives us about 536.25W

So, I’m looking for a 550 Watt power supply and since it seems to be recommended on the Freenas Forum, I’m going to buy the Seasonic G550 550W 80+ Gold Certified PSU after reading some good reviews about it here and here.

Cost so far

  1. Fractal Design – Define Mini                                     £78
  2. Supermicro X11SSL-F-O                                         £176
  3. Intel Core i3-6300                                                    £105
  4. Memory Mr Memory                                                 £172
  5. Seasonic G550 550W 80+ Gold Certified PSU        £87
  6. 4 x Western Digital Red 3TB                                    £400
  7. 2 x SanDisk Ultra Fit 16GB USB 3.0 Flash Drive     £22

The Finished Product