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Getting started

In this guide, we cover how to prepare your flash device, boot the system, and configure your first array. The entire process should take less than 15 minutes.


Before you begin:

  • You should have your server assembled and connected via power and Ethernet.
  • You should have a monitor and keyboard attached for the initial configuration and to be ready to alter configuration settings in your BIOS.
  • You will also need a high-quality, named-brand USB flash device that is at least 2 GB in size with a unique GUID (Globally Unique Identifier). To simplify manual installs we recommend 32 GB max capacity, but larger devices can work as well.
  • Your system must be capable of booting from a USB device.

Hardware requirements

As of the current release of Unraid OS, the minimum system hardware requirements for data storage are as follows:

  • A 64-bit capable processor, that runs 1 GHz or higher.
  • A minimum of 4 GB of RAM for basic NAS functionality.
  • Linux hardware driver support for storage, Ethernet, and USB controllers.
  • Two hard disk drives to ensure data protection with a parity disk.

Additional requirements apply when adding applications or virtual machines.


Plan ahead for any containers or VMs you want to add to your Unraid server, consider the hardware requirements for each one. For example, if you add a Windows 11 virtual machine to Unraid, you must meet the minimum requirements for that OS, in addition to those required for Unraid, to maintain functionality.

Virtual Machines, in particular, require that you have a CPU and chipset combination that supports hardware virtualization. In the enterprise space these are usually identified by the Intel VPro® or AMD Ryzen Pro® badge.

Application Servers

To run many applications, your system should have at least a quad-core CPU (2.4 GHz or faster) and 4-8GB of RAM. As you load more applications, you’ll need to add additional resources.

Creating Virtual Machines

To run VMs, you must have hardware-assisted virtualization (HVM) support on your processor/motherboard (Intel VT-x / AMD-V). To assign host-based PCI devices, like graphics and sound, to your VMs, your CPU and motherboard must also support IOMMU (Intel VT-d / AMD-Vi).

Each of the three types of VMs have slightly different requirements for virtualization support:

  • Virtual Servers: HVM Required, IOMMU Not Required
  • Virtual Desktops: HVM Required, IOMMU Not Required
  • Hybrid VMs: HVM Required, IOMMU Required

For more information, see our VM documentation.