Guide: Setting Up NFS In WHS 2011

by Damian on December 23, 2011 · 41 comments

in Guides

Two years ago I put together a guide for using NFS with Windows Home Server v1. Since then a new version of Windows Home Server has emerged (WHS 2011), so naturally I have gotten questions about if/how NFS could be applied to WHS 2011. Up to now there was really very little I could do to investigate as I am still running Windows Home Server v1. However, a few days ago my Mini-ITX test server running WHS 2011 came alive (stay tuned for my writeup, a sneak peek can be seen here), so I decided to tackle the question of NFS. Digging around on the web all I could find was reference to setting up NFS on Windows Server 2008 R2, but since I believe WHS 2011 has its roots in Windows Server 2008 I was hopeful I could somehow use Server 2008 as a reference point for WHS 2011. Sure enough, although it wasn’t a perfect match, I was able to successfully set up NFS on my WHS 2011 server. Let’s take a look to see what was needed.

DISCLAIMER – setting this up was a bit of a stab in the dark on my part, so I can’t guarantee that this guide will be 100% reliable or complete. In fact, I am hopeful that as more experienced members of the community read along they can provide feedback so we can make a definitive NFS for WHS 2011 guide :)

Installing Services for Network File Systems (NFS)

In WHS v1, Services for NFS was not part of the Operating System so you had to actually go and download from Microsoft’s website. Fortunately with WHS 2011 it is included as a component, just not installed.

Go To Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> Server Manager (or you should already have the Server Manager icon on your toolbar)

With “Roles” in the left pane highlighted scroll down the “Rolls” section in the right pane until you get to the “File Services” section. Under “Roll Services” you should see a roll service called “Services For Network File System” which is currently uninstalled.

Click on the “Add Role Services” directly to the right of the “Role Services” header which should bring up the “Add Role Services” prompt. Place a check next to “Services for Network File System” and click “Next”

Dialogue should now appear simply confirming your install choice as well as a message that you may be required to restart your server. Click “Install”

Once the installation is complete simply click “Close” and restart your server (you must do this manually, you will not be prompted to restart).

After your server had been restarted go to Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> Services (or you can get there from Server Manager as shown in the screenshot below) and you should now see a service called “Server for NFS” which should have a status “Started”. If you see this your NFS installation was a success!

Sharing Folders Via NFS

Now that NFS has been installed, next up is to assign NFS sharing to your folder(s) of choice. Locate the folder you want to share, right click, and select “Properties”. You should now see a tab called “NFS Sharing”, so click the “Manage NFS Sharing” button

Check the “Share this folder” option at the top and click the “Permissions” button (I left all other options at the default settings)

Under NFS Share Permissions decide what type of access you want to grant (I left at Read-Only) and check “Allow root access”.

You can add additional users/permissions by clicking the “Add” button. For the “Add Names” section you can specify what devices can access your NFS share. In order to add the device must be visible on the network from your WHS 2011 server. Simply go into the Network Browser to see a list of all devices accessible, and for the ones you want to add simply type in the exact name as it shows in the Network Browser. However, for the “Names:” section I am unsure how you would add.

Here is a screenshot with various devices on my network added.

Playback/Performance:

Of course the final step is to actually confirm that NFS is actually working on your WHS 2011 server, and the only way to do that is to try and access a file from another machine that can act as an NFS client. Since my PCH A-300 accepts NFS, I strolled over to the player hoping it wouldn’t prove me to be a failure. On the PCH you can access your NFS shares two ways, either through the Network Browser under NFS_Servers or by manually entering in the share information:

Under NFS the network share address would be nfs://MyServer:/Videos (take note of the additional “:”).

Sure enough, I was able to successfully navigate to my Videos share which I had set up for NFS sharing:

Here is a picture of my video playing silky smooth over NFS:

One final test I wanted to do was to confirm network performance versus smb. The main advantage of nfs over smb is better network performance. This isn’t overly critical for video playback as smb is perfectly fine for playback (including high bitrate content), but some people may find that for whatever reason smb implementation on their network is flaky and nfs is a better alternative. Using my trusty Planet Earth bird scene I was able to play back without issue the 100 Mbps clip via nfs (only able to play back up to 70 Mbps via smb).

Additional Notes:

1) Once Server for NFS is installed you should now have a new option under Start Menu -> Administrative Tools called Services for Network File Service (NFS) where you can access the various Services for NFS settings

2) In the NFS setup guide for WHS v1 we were able to set up User Name and Group Mapping. For WHS 2011 I am unable to do this. Under Start Menu -> Administrative Tools -> Services for Network File Service (NFS), if I right click on “Services for NFS” and go to “Properties” there is an option to enable User Name Mapping but no matter what host name I input it doesn’t work.

However, after reading around in the Help section I saw this note which may indicate that User Name Mapping no longer exists in the same fashion that we used for WHS v1.

User Name Mapping has changed. Server functionality no longer exists, but client functionality is present. Services for NFS can still retrieve mappings from existing legacy User Name Mapping servers.

Furthermore the notes state that some of the components are applicable to Windows Server 2008 R2 only (and the .maphosts file references below I could not find anywhere in WHS 2011):

Specify how Server for NFS obtains UID and GID information for users:

  • Before using Active Directory Lookup, you must install and populate the Identity Management for UNIX Active Directory schema extension, included in Windows Server 2008, or use an equivalent schema that includes UNIX UID and GID fields. Identity Management for UNIX greatly simplifies this aspect of Windows-to-UNIX user account management in Active Directory Domain Services.
  • You can specify the IP address of the User Name Mapping server instead of the name of the server.
  • Before using User Name Mapping, the computer running Server for NFS must be listed in the .maphosts file on the computer running User Name Mapping.

While in the Services for Network File Service if you right click on “Server for NFS” and go to “Properties”, there is an option for “Netgroups” which looks like it may be an option to help manage access to the NFS shares, but I couldn’t find much information on how to use.

Final Thoughts:

I am still surprised how easily I was able to set up NFS on my WHS 2011 server (granted it took me hours of digging around, searching around on the web, trying to cross reference against articles such as the one for Windows server 2008 R2, etc… Really the only question left is if there are more optimal settings that should have been done. Maybe not, and I am letting the fact that setting up NFS on WHS v1 was so involved cloud my judgement! The only thing I can think of is how to assign groups to the NFS shares instead of just allowing access on a device level. I hope everyone finds this guide useful, and I welcome any comments/feedback.





Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 40 comments }

Jon December 23, 2011 at 7:51 am

Thank you so much Damian You are the Best ! When i get home i will Try it on my WHS2011 HP ProLiant N40L Ultra Micro Tower.. as i am setting up the EX495 for WHS2011 .. All while Drinking Scotch and Wrapping presents

Jon Aka Jonthomasdesigns Aka DrShockerMC Aka DrShocker.com

Lol i should condense my Online presence on of these days

Jon December 27, 2011 at 9:37 am

New Challenge !!! Can you get NFS to work with Driverbender ? lol .. That would be More than Amazing

Damian December 28, 2011 at 1:50 pm

LOL, never just happy with what you get :) I haven’t installed any of the DE replacement add ins (Drive Bender or Stablebit) yet, but if/when I do I will definitely see if I can set up NFS. I would assume it should work as long as WHS actually sees the Drive Bender / Stablebit share as a folder?

Diogo January 2, 2012 at 10:03 am

I have FlexRaid install and I couldn’t get it to work with NFS.

For what I have been reading, none of the others “DEs” are the same has the old DE! I really miss it!

Ducky January 3, 2012 at 11:50 pm
Fabio January 4, 2012 at 11:54 am

Hi, i followed your guide. Thanks a lot. I’ve a Popcornhour A-200 and a Microserver N36L with windows home server 2011. I’ve a problem. I’m able to view the NFS Share, and content listing but when I try to play a film, the popcorn still in loading mode and nothing start…. Could you give me an hand? Thanks in advance, and sorry for my poor english.

Damian January 11, 2012 at 7:22 am

Hi Fabio,

Are you still having issues?

Fabio January 11, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hi Damian, I solved my issues setting NFS TCP instead of NFS and now all works fine. Thank you!

Jon January 13, 2012 at 7:11 am

I Can Confirm that using NFS TCP solved a bunch of my issues as well , i tested a few things and will giving it a rugged testing session this weekend : )

Diogo January 13, 2012 at 7:50 am

Whats the diference in setting it up? Did I miss something in the guide?

Jon January 13, 2012 at 7:57 am

Its not in the Guide , its a Setting on the PCH A-300 … During network browsing , when you select “Videos” or whatever , it bring you to the page where you can name the Network share on the PCH (and select NFS,SMB,NFS TCP) .. just select NFS TCP from the dropdown menu .. its easy peasy

Diogo January 13, 2012 at 8:02 am

I have a PCH-110, don’t think that I have that option. Will check. Thanks.

Bazrah January 14, 2012 at 4:12 am

Used this and it’s worked great on my stuttering bdmv. The only problem is that I shared the folder “Films” which had one test bdmv in it and 4 NTFS folders into which I’ve mounted the external drives so that to the popcorn it sees one share. The problem is that if I browse to the Films folder on the pch, all I can see is the bdmv and not the folders with the mounted drives.

Any ideas?

Damian February 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

Hey Bazrah,

Sorry, lost your comment in the mix. Are you still having this issue?

WHS February 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Hi, there, I tried to set it up and it is running under services. I do have drive bender but installed a third and separate HD that is not in the pool for NFS. Now I made a shared folder in there called “videos for NFS”

But the error I get when I hit the manage NFS folder button is :

“the system cannot find the file specified”

when I hit the advanced sharing button, I get similar message but it also says “the Administrator has blocked me from running this program.”

can you help? thanks.

Damian February 21, 2012 at 8:47 am

Hmmm…. not sure. I haven’t used Drive Bender so I don’t know if it is causing the conflict. Hopefully some other DB users can chime in.

David February 24, 2012 at 5:03 am

I seriously love you… thanks.. :)

David February 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm

OK so the NFS Server is working great except for one quirk.. when i access my video folder from the media player(TvIX6600N) the shadow copy folders are visible.. the folder names are: .@GMT-2012.02.24-19:00

I did a fresh install of the server yesterday, so I only have two shadow folders whoing up.. weird thing is they are NOT visible through windows, even with ‘show hidden files’ selected.

Any ideas on how to sort this out?

Damian March 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

That is odd, I didn’t get shadow copies to show on my PCH when I connected to my WHS 2011 machine.

Simon May 28, 2012 at 3:36 am

Funnily enough, I get exactly the same thing when connecting my TViX HD N1 box to my WHS2011 server (which I didn’t get with WHSv1).

Simon

Simon May 29, 2012 at 1:53 am

One way I have found to stop this happening in to disable Shadow Copies on the disk where my media resides. This is fine for media files that reside on a disk by themselves where the versioning feature offered by Shadow Copy are probably irrelevant. I’m still digging to see if there is a better way.

Simon

David June 14, 2012 at 4:22 am

Sorry guys, i forgot i posted this! – Maybe it’s a TViX thing? Another weird thing is that after 4 instances of shadow copy folders show up, they clear.. and then start again at a rate of 2 a day.. no surprise there.

I don’t want to turn off shadows because all my business data sits on the RAID volume… so i dunno – its irritating, but at least they don’t endlessly accumulate.

David June 14, 2012 at 4:25 am

I’d love to resolve this, but there’s nothing on the net that remotely comes close to the same issue.

BUT – Pretty soon I’m going to buy a new media player and the PCH is the top of my list, so Damian, its good to hear you don’t have the same problems with yours…

Damian June 18, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Did you get your PCH yet, curious to hear your thoughts?

David June 18, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Not yet, I’ll pick it up in about a month.. I’ll let you know what I think when I get it.

Also, I said earlier that the shadow folders disappeared after 4 updates.. well, they’re not now, so the folders are now just accumulating…

It’s a weird issue, but not the end of the world. I wonder if you can turn off shadows for a specific folder?

Mike Russo February 6, 2013 at 9:43 am

I have a completely unrelated setup, but just came in to say I’ve found the mount option “nordirplus” fixed this for me. I had to add this to my fstab file on the NFS client and now I can see everything just fine.

TRaSH June 9, 2012 at 12:38 am

i follow your guide and everything is working,
only i got 1 issue i cant seem to solve.

i installed the NFS service and all is running.
made some NFS share’s and they work partly
the NFS shares for example made on “F:\#MOVIES\” work i can access them from my HTPC (running xbmc)
but the NFS shares i made in the serverfolder (the folders that are created with the dashboard) i’m not able to access from my HTPC i can see the shares but i’m not able to access what’s inside.
if i choose the same folders under SMB i’m able to access them.
could it be that NFS shares don’t work when using the dashboard SMB shares ?

Damian June 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I think right now that is a potential issue, where NFS is having some problems with user created shares

trekker99 August 10, 2012 at 9:36 am

It is a security setting issue. Apparently, the authenticated user group must be present (r/o or r/w access depending on your nfs access req) which is apparently not included by the dashboard smb shares. I successfully added a read only AU group to a SMB share and can access it from Ubuntu.

Michael December 29, 2012 at 2:18 am

I have this exact problem, could you please explain what you did to get the NFS shares working. Thanks

Ian March 23, 2013 at 4:45 am

Hi,

I had the same problem. I could the nfs shares (e.g. F:/Serverfolders/Movies/ in XBMC, but could not access them or add them to the database.

I tried to follow the steps, trekker99 described. In order to share “Serverfolders” via NFS, you have to add an “authorized user” under the folder properties -> security. Look at the security properties of most other folders. There is always an authorized user with full access. Ad the same user to the security properties of the folders you would like to share and you can access it from XBMC. It works for me :)

devin1000 August 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

I’m really frustrated, please somebody help!

I followed the steps in this guide, but everytime i try to install Services For Network File System i get a failure.

Anybody?

sergio November 2, 2012 at 6:05 am

Hello
Thanks for the tutorial
When I try to General server settings
not what I have to put.
help
thanks

harvey November 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

Hello Damian,
Would you happen to know where I can get the “bird scene” from planet earth. I can’t seem to find a good link.

Damian December 4, 2012 at 5:37 am

Here are two of the bird scenes:

http://www.multiupload.nl/QHBA0S1ORJ

I can make more available if you would like

harvey December 5, 2012 at 7:08 am

Thank You very much

Matt January 19, 2013 at 8:44 am

Hi – great guide.

Wondering if someone can help with a problem. Have followed the guide to the letter but rather than start automatically my server for nfs setting just sticks at starting. Rebooting doesn’t help and when I right click on properties all options to start, stop, restart etc… Are greyed out.

Any ideas ?

Thanks

Matt

Damian January 23, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Any luck finding what the problem was? Sounds like maybe you missed a setting when trying to set up. Did you try going back and walking through everything or re-doing?

Matt January 26, 2013 at 10:23 am

Been back through every step and still server for nfs says starting but never actually starts.

Very frustrating

Paul May 10, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Just wanted to say thanks
Tutorial was excellent.
I have changed all my XBMC installations to use NFS. I did this after having problems connecting with my Raspberry Pi on SMB and now all seems to connect/work every time with NFS.
For those having problems with DE equivalent plugins I use “Snapraid” to back up my media and there is no issue with the NFS.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

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