Why I chose ClearOS
ClearOS is based on CentOS and RHEL Linux server distributions, but has been tailored for use as a remote headless (without monitor) system.
I'd previously looked at Ubuntu and Fedora Core as possible operating systems but I liked the simplicity of ClarkConnect, especially their web administration tool (better than Webmin for the limited things I wanted to do with it). In 2009 ClarkConnect evolved into ClearOS.
Download the free Enterprise Edition ISO file and burn a bootable
CD from here:
(Remember you are burning a "ISO disk image", rather than just copying to disk)
- Plug in monitor, key board, (temporary CD Drive if one isn't fitted) and network connection to computer.
Note - at this stage I'm only installing the operating system onto the small operating system drive, the large 3.5" drive that I'll be using for shared file storage will be installed manually later, see "Adding Extra Hard Drive".
- Adjust boot sequence in BIOS to allow booting from the CD
- While in the BIOS check the hardware has been detected correctly, check the time and date are correct and ensure 'ACPI' is enabled if you want the unit to shut down with the power button.
Now restart the computer and follow the instructions as ClearOS installs...
- When prompted, press [enter] to start the install
- Select Language required
- Select Keyboard Type required
- Select media type "Local CDROM"
- Select "Install" when given the option of install or upgrade
- After reading the warning about erasing ALL hard disks, type ClearOS to proceed.
- Select the desired system mode "Standalone mode"
- Select "Dynamic IP configuration (DHCP)" - (Letting your router allocate the IP address)
- Enter the IP address for your Nameserver / Domain Name Server (DNS) - (this will be the IP address of your router)
- Enter a password for the 'root' user (remember this as you'll be needing it later)
- Select "Use Default" for the drive partitioning scheme
- When asked what software modules you want to install, select at least
the following (you can always add the others easily later)
- Page 1
- Graphical Console
- Page 2
- Windows Networking
- File Server with Flexshares
- Database Server / MySQL
- Page 1
- Confirm your happy with the configuration settings, and the installer will then copy all the files onto the hard drive
- When prompted remove the CD and reboot
Web based setup wizard
The first time you remotely access the server from your PC you have to run through a setup wizard to finalise the installation. First determine the new IP address of the server; the easiest way to do this is to log into you router which should list all attached network devices.
From your PC remotely login to the box through your internet browser with the following address:
(replacing the xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx with the IP address that your router has allocated to the server)
- Enter the username root, and the password you previously selected
- Select your language
- Verify your network and DNS settings and press next
- Select your time zone
- Select a domain name for your LAN - I chose home.lan - this isn't important unless you plan to use your sever as a PDC
- Enter your details in the organization page (this is used for security
- Internet Host Name: black-box.home.lan
- Organisation: home
- Street: enter your details
- City: enter your details
- Country: enter your details
- You should then be presented with the ClearOS administration webpage.
A final task is to register for ClearSDN, this will give the server access to online updates and services provided by Clear Foundation. This can be done via the link on the ClearOS administration webpage.
All future connections to the server (via the URL above) will go directly to the administration webpage, from here you can monitor and administer your server remotely...
Finally shutdown the server and remove the keyboard and monitor, then connect the hard drive you plan to use for your main file storage and proceed to the instructions on how to manually format and mount the drive (see here).