Quick start


Please take note of the information in our Pre-Install Best Practice (PBP) guide. Though not strictly required, it may help avoid problems during the installation process.

Getting up and running with Rockstor is easy and only takes a few minutes. Briefly:

  1. Download the ISO and create a bootable USB drive

  2. Install Rockstor

  3. Visit the web-UI at https://<IP_ADDRESS_OF_THE_SYSTEM>

Minimum system requirements

Rockstor is a complete Linux distribution “Built on openSUSE” intended for direct hardware installation. Virtual Machine installs can work but are not recommended without full drive or preferably whole drive controller pass-through. Hardware raid, or md/dm software raid, underneath btrfs, Rockstor’s chosen filesystem, will weaken data integrity assurances. Multi-layered raid/drive-management arrangements, including any LVM, are not supported. Raid controllers, if used, should thus be configured to HBA / JBOD operation.

  • x86_64 celeron/AMD equivalent, or ARM64 A53 processor (2+ cores i3+ or A72+ recommended).

  • 2 GB RAM (4 GB+ recommended).

  • 16 GB drive dedicated to the Operating System (32 GB+ SSD recommended, 5 TB+ ignored by installer). See USB advisory.

  • One or more additional drives dedicated to data use (less than 5 GiB ignored, 16 GiB+ recommended). See Data drives advisory.

  • Ethernet interface (with internet access for updates).

  • All drives must have unique serial numbers (real drives do); not all VM systems default to, or are capable of this. See: VMware advisory.

  • A UPS (recommended) that is supported by NUT.

  • USB port and 1 GB+ USB key for the x86_64 installation media; or a DVD drive. Raspberry Pi 4 / RPi 400 / ARM64EFI .raw.zx installers are self expanding system disk images, and so do not require a separate install media.

USB advisory


Rockstor cannot work reliably when installed on regular USB keys. Only fast variants, or preferably HDD and SSD class devices are appropriate. If USB is used then 2.0 is bare minimum and 3.0 and better is recommended.

Data drives advisory


Rockstor v4.1.0-0 and older have a 1 GiB ‘ignore’ threshold. See if your device is small in the btrfs wiki regarding our 16 GiB recommended minimum. Note: Rockstor does not use the “–mixed” format option; irrespective of drive size.


Raid requires compliant drive members: NAS capable drives are strongly advised. I.e. drives that can at least support a 7 second max:

  • Time Limited Error Recovery (TLER) - Western Digital.

  • Error Recovery Control (ERC) - Seagate.

  • Command Completion Time Limit (CCTL) Hitachi.

Non NAS drives often default to unlimited error recovery time, causing the entire drive to be reset via the linux kernel’s 30s block layer timeout. N.B. non NAS drives may also not persist error timeout reconfiguration over a power cycle.

VMware advisory


For VMware ensure you have disk.EnableUUID="true" in your .vmx file.

Download Rockstor

Visit our Downloads page to download an ISO appropriate for your architecture. Then, create a bootable USB installer, or system disk, and proceed to the Installation section.


You can also create a custom installer based on your specific needs or preferences. See our rockstor-install GitHub repository for more details.

Making a Rockstor USB install disk

The downloaded ISO must first be restored to a physical device to create the install media for a physical machine install. Depending on you desktop/laptop OS (Linux, Windows or Mac), there are GUI as well as Command Line programs with which the install disk can be created.

GUI options

On a Linux Unity or Gnome Desktop see our Rockstor USB install disk using Gnome Disks.

On a Windows Desktop consider using a fairly intuitive solution like balenaEtcher.

Please note the following USB image writing programs have been found to produce NON working USB install disks when used with the Rockstor ISO and their default settings.

Please also see the Install Rockstor from USB flash drive and the Boot order changes sections of the Small Office Fileserver with Rockstor document for more information on making and using the USB install disk.

Command line options

To create a USB install disk on Linux or Mac one can use the dd command. For example if your USB device is /dev/sdc then from within the directory containing your downloaded or self-built (see rockstor-installer) file (ISO for x86_64’s) the single line command would be:

dd if=Rockstor-Leap15.4-generic.x86_64-4.5.8-0.install.iso of=/dev/sdc

Note that the installer file name will vary depending on the Rockstor installer profile used: i.e. the base OS version, the general or machine-specific nature (i.e.: “generic”, “ARM64EFI”, or specific Pi4), and the target architecture. If the suggested edits were not performed during the DIY installer builder method, then the file name & required single line command will be more like:

dd if=Rockstor-NAS.x86_64-4.5.8-0.install.iso of=/dev/sdc

The Pi4 specific installer, when downloaded, is a raw.zx image of a self-expanding system disk. To transfer this file to the example proposed system disk of /dev/sdc, the following single line command could be used:

xzcat Rockstor-Leap15.4-RaspberryPi4.aarch64-4.5.8-0.raw.xz | dd bs=4M of=/dev/sdc iflag=fullblock conv=notrunc status=progress

If you built your own Pi4 installer via our rockstor-installer instructions, then you can forgo the initial xzcat extraction step and use (single line command):

dd bs=4M if=Rockstor-Leap15.4-RaspberryPi4.aarch64-4.5.8-0.raw of=/dev/sdc iflag=fullblock conv=notrunc status=progress

For the more technically interested, we create our xz download image files from the raw installer created by the kiwi-ng system. Our rockstor-installer is a configuration for kiwi-ng via xz --threads=4 --memlimit-compress=80% Rockstor-...raw to enable multi-threaded decompress.

The ARM64EFI generic images, when downloaded, are available in both the raw.zx file format, like the Pi4 images, and in pre-sized (16 GB) qcow2 formats. For the raw.zx downloaded files, the single line command is identical to the Pi4 raw.zx example above, except for the filename (single line command):

xzcat Rockstor-Leap15.4-ARM64EFI.aarch64-4.5.8-0.raw.xz | dd bs=4M of=/dev/sdc iflag=fullblock conv=notrunc status=progress

N.B. The qcow2 images of the ARM64EFI profile do NOT self-expand and are set at 16 GB. However, our rockstor-installer can configure this via the <size unit="G">16</size> parameter.

When built via the DIY rockstor-installer, the resulting images are the qcow2 type. These files can be booted directly on most common Hypervisors.

Another option on linux systems is the ddrescue command, which gives more reassuring feedback whilst the USB key is being written. This tool can be installed via:

  • on openSUSE/SuSE: zypper in ddrescue.

  • on Debian and Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install gddrescue

  • on Fedora/RehHat: sudo dnf install ddrescue.

Use is similar to dd above, only using the following single command:

sudo ddrescue -d -D --force Rockstor-Leap15.4-generic.x86_64-4.5.8-0.install.iso /dev/sdc

Mac OS X

In macOS X (tested on El Capitan), you can also use dd and the diskutil program to create the USB stick.

Insert the USB stick and open a terminal window (open LaunchPad and type terminal and click on the icon). Determine the device name below, make sure you specify the USB stick and not your OS X disk. If you are unsure which is which, don’t go any further.

diskutil list

Under the IDENTIFIER column, you should see a disk# (you may see a disk#s# but just note the disk# since we need to format the whole USB stick). Unmount and burn the Rockstor ISO to the USB drive using the following commands, replacing disk# with your IDENTIFIER name (this will DESTROY all data on the USB drive).

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk#
sudo dd if=~/Downloads/Rockstor-Leap15.4-generic.x86_64-4.5.8-0.install.iso of=/dev/rdisk# bs=1m

Note the ‘r’ is placed in front of the disk# and ‘bs=1m’ is for blocksize. There is no progress bar, you will return to the command prompt when the command finishes. Once that happens, eject the disk and you are done.

diskutil eject /dev/disk#


There is also dd for Windows but this is untested, please see our GUI options.


Rockstor 4

Installing Rockstor 4 is particularly quick and straightforward. See the following dedicated doc section for details Rockstor’s “Built on openSUSE” installer.

Rockstor 3

Since Rockstor 3 is based on CentOS and uses its anaconda installer, the installation looks similar to that of a CentOS or Fedora. Note, however, that not all non-default configurations within this installer are supported by the resulting Rockstor 3 install. It is thus advised to stick to the defaults where possible.

You can also read (for a Rockstor 3 example) The Rockstor Install section of our Rockstor in Virtual Machine Manager guide for more information about our older Rockstor 3 installation.


Important! Installing Rockstor deletes existing data on the system drive(s) selected as installation destination.


If you need further assistance during or post install, you can post a topic on our Forum or send an email to support@rockstor.com

  1. Boot your machine with the Rockstor CD or USB and the splash screen will appear. Press enter and the graphical installer will start momentarily and display the Installation Summary screen.

  2. Installation Summary screen

    On this screen, multiple parameters can be configured together.

    1. Click on the Date & Time to change the default timezone.

    2. A network connection is required and the installation will not proceed otherwise. The default is DHCP, which the installer automatically picks up. You can configure the network manually, but make sure your system has a working IP address for the installation to proceed.

    3. Under the Installation Destination there may be further action required if there are partitions on sda. By default the sda hard drive is selected and set to be auto partitioned but only if blank. If not then an exclamation icon indicates the need for attention. Please see our Wiping the system disk for more details.

      For the default automatic partitioning, just click DONE.

      If you are an advanced user, you can go with a custom partitioning scheme. However, note that Rockstor only supports BTRFS for its root filesystem.


    Important! Installing Rockstor deletes existing data on the system drive(s) selected as installation destination.

    1. Once the installation configuration is complete and there are no amber icons, click on Begin Installation button to start the package installation.

  3. Package Installation

    On the next screen, package installation begins in the background and you must set the root password. You can optionally create an additional user.

  4. Boot into Rockstor

    Package installation takes a few minutes and once it’s complete, you can reboot, remove the install cd and boot into Rockstor. Once the system boots up, the url for web-UI is displayed above the login prompt. The url is simply https://<IP_ADDRESS_OF_THE_SYSTEM>.

  5. Setup Rockstor

    Go to Rockstor’s web-UI from your web browser and complete the initial setup.