Thecus N4100PRO NAS Server ReviewNemo - July 19, 2010
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Now that the drives are installed the device is on the network and powered on it's time to configure the N4100PRO for use. The way we begin the process is to use the Setup Wizard contained on the installation CD provided with the unit. If you don't have autorun enabled, you can launch the wizard directly using the autorun.exe on the root of the CD drive. You will be presented with a welcome screen showing a selection selection menu covering several different models from Thecus and you'll need to click on the N4100PRO button. From there you'll be taken to a menu specific to the N4100PRO where you can access the soft copy of the user's manual, a quick installation guide, the setup wizard and the backup software.
The setup utility can not be run directly off the CD and must be installed on your local machine. Clicking on the Setup Wizard button begins the installation process, and once you've specified the drive location for the installation, the process is fairly quick and you will see the Setup Wizard start screen once the install is complete.
Pressing the Start button launches the Setup Wizard where it automatically begins the Device Discovery process which scans the network looking for Thecus NAS devices. Once it has detected the device, you can highlight it in the list and click Next to proceed. In order to begin the setup process you need to log in to the system using the default user name/password of 'admin/admin'. Pressing the Next button takes you to the Network Configuration screen. You can assign the network host name here, which defaults to N4100PRO; that's good enough for us since it's the only N4100PRO on the network. The setup defaults to a fixed IP address of 192.168.1.100 which is likely to conflict with anything already installed on that subnet, so we'll go ahead and assign it a new IP address and DNS server. The other option is to check the DHCP radio button and let the DHCP server on your network automatically assign a dynamic IP address. Clicking the Next button moves us to the Change Password dialog where you can assign a new administrative password to the system; it is always a good idea to change the default password and to use a strong password of at least 10 characters.
Once you press the Apply button you'll get a small confirmation dialog of what you changed and once you hit the OK button, you'll be able to choose to set up another device or proceed to the web-based management UI. You can also select the End button to exit the setup wizard without doing anything else.
We want to go into the management user interface and begin configuring the device so we just click on the Start Browser button. We can also launch the management UI manually by typing in the host name or IP address in the browser address bar. This will take you to the login page where you can use the credentials for the administrative account to log in. The user name is 'admin' and the default password is 'admin', unless you changed it to a different value in the Setup Wizard. Once you've successfully logged in you will see a disclaimer page from Thecus. Unless you want to see this age every time you log in, be sure to check the checkbox in the lower left corner acknowledging the disclaimer and then press the Apply button. Once past the disclaimer page you see the Product Information page showing the product information, the firmware version and the up time.
This review unit arrived some time ago and I didn't have time to get to it until now, which is a serendipitous delay because the unit shipped with firmware version 2.01.04 and the latest version, 3.00.05, offers an entirely new AJAX-based interface with several new features added. That means the first step in getting the NAS up and running is to download the latest firmware version from the Thecus web site. The setup software CD provides a quick and easy way to go to the Thecus web site, where you can then navigate to the N4100PRO product page and from there choose the Firmware option under the Download section. Save the download file, N4100PRO_FW_3.00.05.bin, which we'll use in a moment to upgrade the firmware. In the management UI on the NAS, select the System>Firmware Upgrade option to bring up the Firmware Upgrade page. You can use the Browse button to locate the .bin file you downloaded and then click the Apply button.
Before the upgrade process begins you'll have an opportunity to confirm that you want to upgrade the firmware. Once you click OK the process starts and will take just a couple of minutes to complete. As with any firmware upgrade you need to be careful to ensure nothing interrupts the process whether it be intentionally trying to end the process or an accident such as a power outage as this could leave your NAS unusable. Once the upgrade has successfully completed you will get a message dialog that the NAS must be rebooted for the changes to take effect.
Once the system reboots, you will be greeted with the new look and feel of the AJAX interface as we'll see in the next section.