This seems to be a pretty common problem, and not something you can find a very distinct write-up on. So I created one. If the drive is healthy you should not lose any data with this method, but I can't guarantee that. In my case, I have all my SATA and IDE ports used up in my FreeNAS, so I am limited to using a USB external for an additional redundant backup. This volume is a Seagate Desktop Backup+ 4tb, it is of the SCSI-6 interface type. After any shutdown or reboot, this backup drive becomes inoperable and "DEGRADED". Curiously, a SMART test in shell reveals a OK health status. Really, it is a matter of FreeNAS not liking USB drives, the database probably gets out of sync. Important Considerations: You shouldn't use a USB external unless the data you are storing there is not essential. [In my case, they are just redundant Rsync backups of our MyDocuments folders] It is always a good idea to perform a SMART test, even if you are sure the drive is healthy. Never hurts, takes seconds. Just figure out what BASH string command works for your device. In my case, I need to use: 'smartctl -a -d scsi /dev/da1'. the -d scsi was needed, usb would not work (seagate desktop+ is SCSI-6). Look up your Device info Utilizing a ZFS volume for USB, if possible, is probably a better way of handling this. Auto-Import works a bit smoother, and zpool export/import is nice. Solution: Detach/Reattach Volume (without losing data) A more in-depth write-up is located here. Follow these steps: unplug the USB from your external Hard Drive, wait a few seconds for device removal on FreeNAS if you have any shares configured for the drive, you'll have to remove them. Any relevant RSync tasks or other tasks can be left alone. go to 'Storage', and choose "Detach Volume" for the drive affected. Be sure to leave existing data. Replug the USB to the drive, Refresh after succesful detachment, go back to 'Storage' and click on "Import Volume" Select the volume you wish to import, select the type [for my case, UFS], Name it, and click OK Reconfigure share points, if any And success!!! The External USB drive is imported without Data loss. Unfortunately this method will probably have to be ran after every shutdown. I might even create a cron job to do this sometime, if I take the time to figure out all the BASH commands for Shell. Cheers! Let's hope this saves some headache for another helpless soul.