Home Directories in FreeNAS

I present home directories in FreeNAS as an academic exercise only. They appear to hold great promise. One of the benefits of home directories is that it’s not necessary to create shares for each individual. All that’s required is a share for the home root under which the individual directories reside.  That’s where the promise ends though.

There are a number of disadvantages of using home directories that take the shine off them.

  1. It’s not obvious from the FreeNAS GUI how much space is being used under each home directory;
  2. They’re not compatible with volume shadow copies; and
  3. They don’t support the Export recycle bin feature of SMB shares.

To begin our journey on home directories, let’s start by having a look at what shares are offered on my FreeNAS server.


Step 1: Create a home dataset.


Step 2: Create the home share.

Make sure you check the box Use as home share.


Step 3: Assign a home directory to the user


Repeat this step for each user on the FreeNAS server.

Now, logging in as the user we see two additional shares offered by the FreeNAS server. There is a user share basil and a homes share for the home root.


Step 4: Hide the homes share

While visible, the homes share is not accessible to the user. It will only lead to questions being raised and confusion. Let’s make it disappear.  Edit the home share in Advanced Mode and uncheck Browseable to Network Clients 


Now, when viewing the shares on offer, FreeNAS users will only see their home share and other network shares.



  1. Using Shadow Copies with FreeNAS
  2. Windows (SMB) Shares
  3. Home Directory Recommendations
  4. Recycle bin only keeps folders, files do not appear in recycle bin

1 Comment

  1. Excellent tutorial on a topic not covered well in Freenas documentation. Works great thanks for taking the time.

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