How FreeNAS Kept My NetBook From Being Retired
Sometimes it is more expensive to fix a computer than it is worth! I recently had this situation with an old netbook computer. The price of the LCD screen was more than the machine was worth in perfect working order. When this is the case, you usually have to salvage what you can and should recycle the machine. I was planning to retire the netbook, but I came across FreeNAS and realized that this broken machine could still serve me greatly as a lightweight storage server.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, FreeNAS is an open source project with all sorts of features that you can read about here. Being in the business of computer repair, I have a variety of computers with Windows, OS X, and multiple Linux distributions. Using FreeNAS allowed me to create cloud shares for each operating system and since it is designed to fit on a USB drive, I can use the internal hard drive as the cloud storage device. I did not need a functioning LCD screen on the netbook because I could use the FreeNAS web interface to maintain the system.
The netbook has been running for about a year now without any issues. I configured my router to assign a static IP address so that all of my machines can access the shares easily. If the power goes out or I need to move it, it boots back up without any problem at all. I use these shares every day and include them in my normal backup routines.
There are pre-configured NAS systems available, but they generally cost as much as a mid grade tablet. Using FreeNAS on a machine that would have been otherwise retired has cost me only the couple of hours it took to get it up and running. Before you throw out that old notebook, consider FreeNAS. This solution could save you the cost of your cloud storage subscription as well as keep your data private.