A way forward (FreeNAS 11.3 to TrueNAS Scale on slightly damaged hardware)

I built a custom server a couple years ago with FreeNAS. I used it as a local file server and for backups. I archived a bunch of files on it (mostly images, some videos, some non-media). I think the total space used was a few terabytes.

I had limited space to physically place the computer in my house, so it ended up living in the entertainment console. My young daughter would forever play with the blue light (power button) on the computer, resulting in several unexpected power outages. Eventually I have up and just left it turned off. A while later we moved into a very small shaded space, and I simply didn’t have a good place to set the computer. It ended up in a corner of the living room, unplugged and collecting dust.

We are now living in our own space (we built a house!). I have a dedicated room for my office with a walk-in closet. I had some shelves installed in the closet to hold my computer equipment.

After settling in the house, I decided to get the server up and running again. When I plugged it it, smoke and crackling noises immediately started emanating from the chassis. I unplugged it and opened it up. The cables plugged into one or two of the HDDs had melted and was clearly burned.

The computer has eight WD Red drives in a RAIDZ6 configuration. I never got around to setting up remote backup for the server, so the data archived on there is the only copy I have. (I know…)

I’m going to replace the damaged drives. Once I do and the resilvering process is complete, how do I upgrade to the latest version of TrueNAS Scale? I’m currently on FreeNAS 11.3. I think I upgraded from version 10.x. I have previously attempted to update to version 12 when it came out. I had to roll it back because IIRC version 12 removed support for the older encryption scheme, and I wasn’t able to access any of my data. It was already cumbersome enough after updating to FreeNAS 11, and I had to load a geli key to unlock the storage!

I’d like to move to the latest version of TrueNAS Scale with encryption. Is my only option going to be backup to a remote service and restore to a fresh install after reformating the HDDs? That seems dangerous and excessive. What do I do?

(Sorry this post is so long!)

At this point I would not trust any of that hardware with continued operation, including the drives that seem fine enough to repair the volume. I would set up all-new hardware exactly the way you want it, and transfer files over the network. Then maybe you can repurpose the equipment (especially the drives which are suspect but working) in a way that is useful but not critical - maybe use them as a onsite or offsite backup (if you do this, make sure to test it at least quarterly but preferably monthly)

Okay wow that’s basically the worst answer I was fearing! I suspect the root issue was dust getting in and shorting out a connection somewhere, with only localized damage. Why do you recommend throwing out everything? Could the fire have caused some other electrical damage to other components? It wasn’t really anywhere close it the motherboard.

Because you clearly had one or more shorts going on (just dust in a computer doesn’t catch fire), and if your PSU didn’t immediately trip an internal protection then it is suspect. A suspect PSU can then damage all the other components of the system.

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That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying.