Raspi 4B and externel usb hd - formatting and mounting

Hi you all, I’m trying first time to set up a freedombox, after some experiences with nextcloud without and with yunohost.
Neither in the manuel nore in (very old) videos i found informations in which function the hd can be used.

  • moving the content from sd-card to hd
  • using as data partition or backup partition?

In the manual I found, that cockpit will format the hd, but it cannot format to btrfs. Where to put snapshots?
From that I’m further unsure how to define the mountpoint.
What happens if i use “/”?


I found your post slightly unclear, but I’ll respond based on my understanding:

  • Moving Content from SD Card to HDD: Yes, it’s possible to move content from the SD card to an external HDD on FreedomBox.
  • Using HDD for Data or Backup: An external HDD can serve both as a data partition and a backup partition.

To give you an idea, here’s how my setup looks, which might help, though others may have different suggestions:

  • On my SD card, I have /boot (formatted as ext2) and both / and /.snapshots (formatted as btrfs).
  • For media, shares, and backups, I use a separate external HDD formatted as NTFS. This setup is convenient because I can easily unplug the HDD and access the files on any computer.

In my experience, FreedomBox automatically mounted my pre-formatted HDD when I plugged it in. You also have the option to format the drive using Cockpit, depending on your needs.

I hope this information assists in setting up your FreedomBox. If you could clarify your question a bit more, I might be able to offer more specific advice.

Hi @alwi,

I think @fefekrzr has a good thought about using NTFS on your external disk. Even if you use BTRFS you won’t be able to use the snapshots feature in FreedomBox because that applies to a BTRFS root filesystem. NTFS will give you the option to connect this to other computers.

The complete list of steps to get this connected are probably available through Cockpit:

  • Partition the device if you have not done so
  • Create an NTFS filesystem (again if you have not done so)
  • Mount the filesystem. You may need to choose a directory and I’ll suggest that you make one under /media following this guidance.. Let’s call the mount point directory “/media/usbdisk” but you can choose your own name for it.
  • Use the option to mount the filesystem automatically at boot

If you want to start transferring files you could use Samba to create a network shared folder at “/media/usbdisk”. Samba will make that disk a Windows SMB shared folder that your client computers can use. Samba is available as a FreedomBox app.

@ joseph

Thank you for your effort in understanding my request, you succeeded. Thank you for replying so quickly.
There are probably only a few people on the forum who are older than me. I would therefore like to receive as concrete instructions as possible for the rest of my life (Time economy ;=) ). I don’t want to criticize. Maybe my tips can help you communicate Freedombox better, because I got a positive first impression. I like the concept.

Managing the server reminds me a lot of Nextcloud, I can find my way around.
While there are fairly up-to-date presentations, tips and videos there and also for Yunohost, I was rather confused by 4-year-old videos about Freedombox.
The Freedombox manual leaves you with questions: If it mentions BTRFS as a prerequisite for snapshots and at the same time doesn’t give any specific information on how this can be implemented with SD cards and/or external HD/SSD, the beginner is confused. As I told earlier - the manual says cockpit can format btrfs, but trying it fails.
Then come your references to ntfs. You don’t know that I’ve been working with Linux for over 20 years and, after giving up my office 15 years ago, I’m completely free of the giant from Redmont. So why NTFS? Raspberrypi, with which I started early and without any problems, shows the way.
I don’t need instructions for DynDS and routers either, but I was also hoping for a practical explanation of the concept of how the apps are addressed as parallel servers after installation.
Due to time constraints, I didn’t delve further into the concept of how additional users are practically integrated with passwords and how rights are granted to them. This seems to work a little differently than with NC and yunohost.
Unfortunately I had no success with the AMD64 version. I flashed the image onto 2 different sticks one after the other and wanted to start it on 2 different computers. The sticks are not recognized. In the counter test, however, this works with other OS.
The instructions for verification after downloading are clear and unambiguous.

I would like to try again with Freedombox because I would like to put the Nextcloud I built into the hands of a local community and start over. But I can only do that with some kind of Freedombox cookbook.
I am grateful for your commitment to the forum. Without people like you there could be no community.

In my understanding, Freedombox currently provides no official support to use an external HDD/SSD.

However, it was confirmed that using “btrfs replace” to move the root fs to an external HDD/SSD is perfectly safe (it can be done while the machine is running normally). So to anyone asking to use an external HDD/SSD, I would recommend doing that and nothing else. I think it would be nice if plinth could trigger that, so that people uncomfortable with command line can do it too.

Since you mentioned other things:

  • I don’t use snapshots (I never felt I am missing something, but perhaps I am?)
  • I don’t use cockpit (and I never felt I am missing anything)
  • I do remote backups to another machine (I don’t see the point of local backups)
  • besides the “btrfs replace” operation, I have not configured anything with command line