How to Set Up Windows SMB Shares on FreeNAS

In this tutorial, we are going to show you how to set up an SMB share on your FreeNAS machine. To share data with Windows clients, FreeNAS uses CIFS, also known as SMB or Samba. SMB shares are also compatible with macOS offering great flexibility for client operating systems. Before you get started, you should already have a pool configured in FreeNAS. To learn how to configure a pool, see our FreeNAS ZFS Pools Overview tutorial.

Setting up a FreeNAS User Account

First, we will go ahead and set up a FreeNAS user account, which allows you to securely access your shares. Go to “Accounts” then “Users” on the left menu. I’ll be creating a new user called “homeuser” and adding a new primary group with it. I’ll be configuring the new share to use this user and group, but be sure to substitute your own users and groups as needed.

Setting up a Windows (SMB) Share

Go to “Storage” then “Pools” on the left hand side. Open the pool options by clicking the 3 dots on the right of the pool then, “Add Dataset

  • I’m calling this ‘windowset’ and setting the share type to ‘SMB’. Click “SAVE” when done.

Next, we’ll create the Windows Share. Go to “Sharing”, and “Windows Shares (SMB)”.

  • Click “ADD
  • Click the folder icon, and browse to the path of the dataset you want to share, which was “windowset
  • Give your share a name. Let’s call this one “windowshare
  • Select Allow Guest Access if you would like guests to view your files without a password *Note that some Windows 10 and Server systems have Guest Access disabled by default, and on MacOS you will need to set the “Connect as:” option to “Guest”.
  • Click “SAVE” when done. It will ask you to “Enable Service” for the SMB protocol.

Editing ACLs

For this next step, we’ll need to assign the user we created earlier with the Share. From the SMB window, open the share options by clicking the 3 dots on the right, and “Edit ACL”.

On the left side, leave “root” and “wheel” as the original owners of the dataset. To give another user ownership permissions, click “Add ACL Item”, then choose “User” for the “Who” field, and “homeuser” for the “User” field. You may copy the same settings as the ACL items above.

These settings on the right side allow you to configure the dataset’s Access Control List according to your network and security needs. Note that when we set the Share Type to “SMB” earlier, the ACL options will default to that specific configuration, which is shown there. Refer to the FreeNAS documentation for configuration recommendations for ACLs.

Click “SAVE” when that is done.

Enabling SMB Services

Go to the Services page, and make sure “Running” is enabled next to SMB. To ensure that SMB is always running after FreeNAS reboots, check “Start Automatically”. For additional options to configure the SMB service, you can click the “Edit” icon here. More information about these options can be found in the documentation, but the default values will work fine.

Accessing SMB Share from Windows

Head on over to your Windows machine.

  • Open up File Explorer, and type in “\\” followed by your FreeNAS IP address
  • You should be able to see your share here.
  • Right click that shared folder and click “Map Network Drive”.
  • Check the box “Connect using different credentials” then click “Finish”.
  • Enter the login details of the account you created in the beginning, which was “homeuser”.
  • You should now be able to add, delete, and create files or folders.

Thank you for reading this tutorial! Be sure to check out our other tutorials and videos on our YouTube channel.


  1. Bill Pope

    after a week of trying, this tutorial finally got me there. thank you so much

    • Joon Lee

      You’re welcome! Glad we could help out!

  2. 小小空


  3. Ben

    Hi there, pretty well article. But poorly i´m still stuck with it, coz i´m using and Windows Domainintegrated freenas.
    Is there any article like this for sharing with different domain-groups?

    Thanks a lot!

  4. Francky

    Excellent tuturial! Could you also make a similar one but then for NFS-shares? Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise have a NFS-Client built in, but it is diffecult to get this running and to access NFS-share via Windows. Though the performance shoud be better if it all works.

  5. Shivam

    Excellent tutorial.
    Great help.

    • Joon Lee

      Thank you for your support! Glad it helped you out.

  6. Mike G

    How can I connect to a FreeNAS SMB share on a Mac?

    • Joon Lee

      SMB sharing to macOS is very popular with the one limitation that Spotlight is not fully supported.

  7. john

    is there a way of setting up a share on a pool that does not require an account creating?
    I have tried “allow guest” and it fails to connect from a Mac and I did make sure to “connect as guest” on the Mac as well .

    • Joon Lee

      You will need to add an @Everyone ACL to the dataset you are sharing for this to work.

  8. Mike

    None of this works for me on W10. I’ve gone through all of the following:

    Followed every single step here to every minute detail. Referenced 3 other tutorials to validate all of the steps. I see windowshare, but homeuser cannot access anything.

    Searched the forums and found several posts with videos from 4+ years ago using a version that doesn’t exist anymore. Followed the steps as best as I could. Homeuser still cannot access anything.

    Checked group policies to allow insecure connections, removed any conflicting windows/generic credentials. Homeuser still cannot access anything.

    Disabled all firewalls, all antivirus software, user account control, turned on network discovery and file sharing. Homeuser still cannot access anything.

    Enabled the deprecated windows features for SMB1.0/CIFS sharing support. Homeuser still cannot access anything.

    Am I missing something or is FreeNAS just not good for clients using windows?


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