Wireless NAS - Any experiences?

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Have to confess that I had become a little complacent and lazy about backups and had a bit of a wake up call after a very awkward uninstall of disk imaging trial. It just would not go after uninstall and made its prescence known at every boot. I was forced to reinstall Windows 7. My practice is to keep the OS on a seperate partition from applications and applications seperate from data. OS partition is (or should be :redface:) imaged meaning easy install without effecting applications.

So now I find myself needing 600GB of disk space just to image my system. In that case I think I should invest in at least 2TB and preferably 4TB. I know that I can purchase a couple of 2 terabyte Western Digital USB 3.0 or similar, however I was wondering about using a NAS enclosure and populating with HDD's which at least in theory (and to the best of my knowledge) may offer a more robust solution.

What I would really like to have is a wireless storage solution which will be in a seperate area (maybe a spare bedroom?) and offer a small degree of added security from theft or damage. I am fully expecting some hit on transfer speeds by using wireless but am unsure how reliable the technology is.

So would appreciate your thoughts and suggestions

Thanks
Tony
 

Growltiger

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You need to image the partition that contains the operating system and software. You should be doing normal backups on the rest of it. The system partition cannot possibly be 600GB. My system partition has a lot of software and is under 100GB, and when compressed is about 50GB.

Your idea that NAS provides a backup is misguided, it just provides a copy of your data in another room. If you have a fire, theft, or data corruption caused by a virus which could wipe or corrupt the NAS and the main system, you could still lose everything.

I suggest you buy two or three 2TB external USB3 drives like the ones you mentioned. Image your C: drive and do normal backups of the rest. Rotate use of the drives keeping one at a different location. Then you will have true backup which will keep your data safe.

I'm not against NAS at all but you need to understand that it has two disadvantages:
1. Slower than an internal drive - and wireless will be hopelessly slow with those data volumes.
2. It isn't a backup.
In favour of it is that it provides convenient shared data for a family or a small office where people work closely together.

I can't understand how you managed to get in a position where you had to reinstall. This is extremely unusual nowadays, except when you have a serious virus attack. Even if an uninstall utterly fails you can do a system restore to get your registry sorted out, and then manually delete the folder in Program Files. If it shows up at every boot that is easy to correct, you run msconfig.exe and remove it there.

Hope this helps.
 
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Thanks Growltiger have responded to your points below
You need to image the partition that contains the operating system and software. You should be doing normal backups on the rest of it. The system partition cannot possibly be 600GB. My system partition has a lot of software and is under 100GB, and when compressed is about 50GB.
True the system partition should not be 600GB, but take 3 OS partitions with 3 different OS flavours and 3 application folders then add a little room for manouever it becomes more believable :wink:

Your idea that NAS provides a backup is misguided, it just provides a copy of your data in another room. If you have a fire, theft, or data corruption caused by a virus which could wipe or corrupt the NAS and the main system, you could still lose everything.
Your idea that NAS does not provide a backup is as misguided as mine :smile:.
It does provide a copy of the data therefore it is a backup regardless of where stored. Point well made that in the catastrophic event you describe one location is not good. My advice to customers in IT has always been to use off site storage for sensitive irreplaceable data. Of course to extend this even further in case of civil unrest in this country also use offsite storage in Switzerland :smile:. Remember the old adage 'Data does not really exist unless it is stored in at least three different places' :wink:


I suggest you buy two or three 2TB external USB3 drives like the ones you mentioned. Image your C: drive and do normal backups of the rest. Rotate use of the drives keeping one at a different location. Then you will have true backup which will keep your data safe.
This may be the initial scenario I will go down and probably the least expensive. Although a good idea to rotate the drives I am not sure that it would be practical to keep one at a different location

I'm not against NAS at all but you need to understand that it has two disadvantages:
1. Slower than an internal drive - and wireless will be hopelessly slow with those data volumes.
This was the major concern, slower than an internal drive accepted. Also accepted that wireless would be slower still but at this time had no real feel for what this would mean in real time scenario - oh well technology may improve in time

2. It isn't a backup.
Oh, yes it is :biggrin:

In favour of it is that it provides convenient shared data for a family or a small office where people work closely together.
Agree the convenience factor had not escaped me while it is largely for my own benefit, being freed to work where I want, including even outside in the 2 weeks of summer we get - my family may also benefit :smile:

I can't understand how you managed to get in a position where you had to reinstall. This is extremely unusual nowadays, except when you have a serious virus attack. Even if an uninstall utterly fails you can do a system restore to get your registry sorted out, and then manually delete the folder in Program Files. If it shows up at every boot that is easy to correct, you run msconfig.exe and remove it there.
Briefly the reason for reinstall is simple, no System Restore points. Before you ask :smile: non due to two reasons a. Temp need to increase storage space 2. Get rid of suspected virus that would possibly remain in restore.
In theory removing at boot is easy using msconfig etc - in this case nothing shown. The program in question Acronis True Image 2011 the problem message at boot
"acronis loader fatal error boot drive (partition) not found". This issue has been pretty well documented by many other users and even attempting to fix MBR may not necessarily work. In my case I wasted too much time looking for a fix and decided to cut my losses and get on with it. I know that many users are very happy with Acronis and sing its praises but I for one do not want to use a program with what I believe to have such a poor uninstall app.
Hope this helps.
Thank you for your input, apart from some small differences of opinion your thoughts most useful
 
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Wireless nas drives are very slow for backups. I have a Qnap and a Synology. Both are connected wireless through the routers. Excellent for streaming but for backups you need to go wired.
 

Growltiger

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OK Tony - we are in broad agreement as you say.

May I suggest you cable your house. Have a gigabit switch next to the router and cables to the rooms you need access (this is what I have). This will get a NAS working at a sensible speed.

Why on earth do you have three OS partitions? I can't help thinking you are making life hard for yourself. I'm sure this is why Acronis got muddled.

If it is because you need to run ancient 16 bit apps, and you are running W7 64 bit, I have found the Pro version with its virtual XP machine within it, very effective. (Very few people need this I should add.)
 
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Wireless nas drives are very slow for backups. I have a Qnap and a Synology. Both are connected wireless through the routers. Excellent for streaming but for backups you need to go wired.
Riki, thanks for that I had looked at Qnap and Synology as contenders. Along with others you have also confirmed what I feared about speed of wireless.

Growltiger said:
....May I suggest you cable your house. Have a gigabit switch next to the router and cables to the rooms you need access (this is what I have). This will get a NAS working at a sensible speed.
Your suggestion of cabling is great and I would love to do this. However SWMBO would need a great deal of convincing :wink:. Or perhaps the dangling of a carrot - complete home makeover? Nah, this wont work I would rather spend the money on some new Nikon gear than a makeover :biggrin:

Why on earth do you have three OS partitions? I can't help thinking you are making life hard for yourself. I'm sure this is why Acronis got muddled.
Yes I am making life a little harder than needs be, running Windows 7 64bit, XP 32 bit and Windows 2003 server. Historically have always run a dual boot system, XP for me and Windows server for work related projects. Upgrade to Windows 7 64 bit fairly recent and kept legacy systems just in case MS had produced another lemon.
Ok, you have forced me into a confession :redface:. I really do need to consolidate my system and make it more suitable for my current needs including ridding of applications infrequently used :wink:
As to Acronis perhaps it did get muddled, or it just found my system so attractive and refused to go, causing me to forcibly evict it did not bode well in my opinion. A poorly written uninstall that does not do the job properly or at least warn the user of issues and a solution is not acceptable in this day and age. I know that many users swear by this solution - just hope that they do not end up swearing at it when they decide to remove for whatever reason

If it is because you need to run ancient 16 bit apps, and you are running W7 64 bit, I have found the Pro version with its virtual XP machine within it, very effective. (Very few people need this I should add.)
It is unlikely that I really need my ancient apps any longer so they are candidate for the bin!

Thanks again for your thoughtful input.

EDIT: This post has been very useful to me not least in highlighting my need to clarify to myself what I actually need vs what I think I need. I am now wondering if NAS would be more appropriate connected directly to my wireless router which is on Ethernet connection to my PC (no wireless capability -yet). The wireless portion is to merely serve one of several laptops that are occasionally connected. On the odd occassion I have been away from home and would have appreciated the convenience of accessing my files. So having an ftp server via NAS may offer some small benefit which I need to consider. In this scenario I wonder if the NAS solution connected to the Router which in turn is connected via Ethernet to main PC would suffer the same speed impact of a physically seperated wireless solution?
 
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Thanks Growltiger for confirming my new thoughts about the NAS solution with a direct connection.

The most difficult thing for me to let go has been the idea of a wireless solution hidden away in another location - perhaps a future project when speeds improve :cool:.

I have already (at last) started to consolidate and organise system by fearlessly and boldly deleting many files :eek: - or at least relegating them to the "maybe useful in the future folder". As I have a spare 500GB USB I will use this as a system image backup until I organise myself with better storage
 
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