While in the early days of their existence TerraMaster garnered a reputation for ‘decent hardware without user-friendly software’… TerraMaster has spent a ton of time and effort correcting this image. The end result is pretty much the easiest NAS appliance we have delt with to get up and running from a software point of view. To be blunt the entire software setup process is focused with laser like intensity and is there to step you through the process as painlessly as possible. So much so it is basically impossible to mess up this stage as long as you follow along the steps in the automated wizard… and DO NOT PANIC.
The downside to this approach is more advanced features are MIA even in the GUI after it is up and running. Some of this is due to this being a dual bay unit, but mostly it is because TerraMaster wants to avoid any scenario where a first time NAS appliance ‘administrator’ becomes confused. Honestly, there is a lot to be said for TerraMaster approach to software configuration, but more experienced NAS admins will be a wee bit frustrated with this ‘walled garden with walls 5 miles high’ approach. Basically, in order to make it darn near impossible to mess up the setup and configuration of it TerraMaster has dumbed down the GUI. So, while it is an amazingly great, and a large step in the right direction TerraMaster may have overcompensated. Given the leaps and bounds of improvements… we would be very surprised if in future UI releases they get the balanced a bit more fair without sacrificing ease of use. At which point Synology, QNap and the others had better be ready to step up their game.
There are a couple ways to actually start the software configuration. You can do it the TerraMaster Way and type in ‘start.terra-master.com’ in your web-browser of choice and follow along with the steps listed. For truly novice users the list of guides and help will remove any and all doubts you have in getting your first NAS up and running. For more advanced novices, you can skip a couple of the steps TerraMaster suggest and simply navigate to “download.terra-master.com/download.php?lng=en&tid=1562” and download the TNAS PC App (windows or Mac version depending on your OS of choice). For actual advanced users we would not recommend typing in the IP address for the NAS with “:818/wizard/” as the app is worth the bandwidth.
So even for novices our recommendation is simple… ignore the included instructions and download that app. Install it. Run it. Click the found NAS and select the configuration option in the new options underneath it. This is easy mode, and the app will come in handy later on when you want to map your ‘Z drive’ in your OS’ file manager. You are welcome.
In either case, when you do click on it your web browser of choice will connect to the NAS and you will be greeted with the NAS gateway’s built-in setup wizard. It is a mainly white screen and while TerraMaster needs to hire a UI designer to make it more pleasing (i.e. take notes from Synology and their calming blue color scheme) and informative (more on that in a minute) its pretty decent. Just remember… don’t panic. It is one of the easiest, pain-free processes you will find in the industry. It just is not soothing to look at.
The next observation is… DO NOT PANIC when it warns you if you are not using NAS hard drives. For example, if you try to start this process with Seagate BarraCuda 2TB’ers the above scary screen will pop up. Ignore it. TerraMaster does not force you to use specific drives they are just telling you that your choice of drives is not optimal for NAS duties. So click the confirm button and continue on as if TerraMaster did not just scare the #$@% out of you.
When you do hit the confirm button, assuming it popped up, you will be given an estimate for completion. It is about as accurate as Windows 95’s transfer time to compilation estimates. So go grab the adult beverage of your choice and come back in 25’ish minutes. You will thank us as you will skip the scary part.
We say this as soon as it hits 98 percent it will swap over to a new screen and tell you in tiny red letters that its going take another 15minutes. Once again… don’t panic. This is normal. The red words are not meant to be a warning or scary… it is just TerraMaster being TerraMaster (who need to hire a graphics designer who is not a sadist).