NAS backup systems

Jan 23, 2009
Thread starter #1
I am wondering if anyone can offer any advice / recommendations re NAS backup systems? I have an ever-expanding collection of videos, currently standing at about 3TB (and I want backups of everything too) and I am having to back up between USB connected external hard drives.

I am looking at something along the lines of a 4-bay NAS system which will allow hot-swapping of drives, and don’t need anything in the way of encryption or RAID setups. So nothing fancy – just an expandable home networked file system, I guess….

Trouble is, I don’t really understand the blurb and am spoilt for choice – Google it, or look on Amazon, and I am presented with a thousand options and have no idea really of how to choose between them. Would be grateful for any advice that can help me choose...
 

Digerati

Active Member
Apr 27, 2015
Nebraska
#2
When you start talking about hot-swappable, you are talking about "fancy".

Got an old computer you are not using or rarely use? Make a NAS out of it. That's what I did with an old XP system that refused to die. I loaded it up with drives, blocked Internet access to it through my router and viola, I had a NAS and kept my old system productive and out of the landfills. And since even a small mid-tower case will typically support 6 or more drives (many support 8 - 10 drives), expandability is not an issue. And in a pinch, I had a spare computer.

And being a "network" attached storage computer, you can locate it anywhere there is network access, either by Ethernet or you can add an inexpensive wireless card to the computer and access via wifi. This way, it can go down in a basement closet (if cool) and out of sight. This is nice for "physical" security - in the event your home is broken into and the bad guys steal your computer, and the external drive/NAS sitting on your desk next to your computer.

An actual NAS system will work, but they are dedicated uni-taskers and if you know who Alton Brown is, you know the only good unitasker is a fire extinguisher. If your NAS power supply dies, you typically have to buy a new NAS. If your PC NAS power supply dies, you just buy a new power supply. If your NAS network adapter dies, you typically have to buy a new NAS. If your PC NAS adapter dies, you buy a new adapter. Piece of cake.

Plus you can put Linux on it - great for expanding your knowledge. And of course, Linux is free.

If you are stuck on getting an actual NAS device, we need more information. What is your budget? Do you have the drives already and only need a diskless NAS? Or do you need a full NAS populated with drives?

While meant to be more a comparative review, here's an informative read: 2017 Guide: The Best NAS Drives for Homes and Small Offices.
 
Jan 23, 2009
Thread starter #5
I am leaning towards your idea..... partly because it's cheaper and, as you say, it utilises an otherwise underused resource, but also because think it will actually suit my needs better. From what I can make out, NAS systems come with their own OS, and so rather than show up within Windows Explorer as extra drives, are accessed via a browser interface, and tasks are carried out via various apps launched from that. I really would prefer the simplicity of drag-and-drop within Windows Explorer. But perhaps I've misunderstood - I wish I could find a simple, clear explanatory introduction to these systems. All one comes across are specs that kind of assume you know what you're looking for/at already....
 
Jan 23, 2009
Thread starter #7
Thanks for that - but I think I am going to go the "old PC" route - it will serve my needs, is far cheaper, and will put an under-used resource to better use!
 
Jan 23, 2009
Thread starter #8
Well, I've got it all set - my old PC now with 4 hard drives, 3 of them 6TB each... and all working great across the network - by "sharing" them they can be accessed by any of the other computers .. except for one, which steadfastly refuses to see it. The computer is listed in the Network locations, but as soon as I click on it I get a message saying it can't be accessed because the network path is invalid. ??? Both computers are (still) running Windows 7, and the offending machine has the same settings as others that are behaving perfectly (one other W7 machine and a W10 one.) I've Googled this and tried all sorts of suggestions to no avail... unless someone here has some bright ideas it looks like I may have to resort to reinstalling Windows on it altogether... :( I can only assume something's got corrupted.
 

Digerati

Active Member
Apr 27, 2015
Nebraska
#9
If all but one works, I don't see how re-installing Windows will do anything but set you months or years behind in security. And you rarely learn anything that way in order to prevent recurrence of the problem. This sounds more like a firewall or security program setting problem.
 
Jan 23, 2009
Thread starter #10
Well, I've tried turning the firewall off and disabling the AV program. No help. My suspicion is it's some service or profile that is corrupted, hence the thought to reinstall - but yes, I am loathe to do that really.....
 
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