View Full Version : Opinions on how to back up my NAS

07-03-2017, 12:08 PM
I have a Qnap TS231 NAS with 2 x 4TB WD red drives in a striped array I use for most of my file storage.
I also have 2 x 4TB Seagate green drives that have been sitting in my gaming computer as a software dynamic disk backing it up once a week using a scheduled robocopy script.

Thing is I don't really like using the gaming machine for that purpose and it's the only PC I have with drive bay space to do it so I'm looking for some way to have it all happen without the PC being involved.
I put the 2 Seagate drives into a 4 bay USB 3.0 drive enclosure I have and plugged it directly into the NAS but that failed (after a few hours), I believe the enclosure is faulty and this last attempt at using it seems to confirm that.

Currently I have the 2 drives in a dual bay USB 3Dock which is not Ideal, they have to be formatted as individual drives and it's really slow. Currently it looks like it'll take about 4 days to do the initial backup of around 3.5 TB

So, any thoughts on how best to achieve this preferably using the 2 drives I already have? A new dual bay enclosure possibly with RAID functions?, 2 single enclosures for simplicity and price?, put the disks back in the PC and live with it?, a second NAS ?(pricey), find an old low power PC to use just for that?, something else?

I'm not concerned with separating the backup to another location, nothing on it is really that critical. I just like to have a backup to prevent me losing stuff due to stupidity on my part or a hardware failure. Don't bother suggesting RAID solutions, RAID is not a backup.

07-03-2017, 03:57 PM
My :2cents:

Same As I have here.

Use an old PC, can be low powered that can be hidden under a desk, cupboard outside someplace, doesn't need a KB/Mouse or Monitor, run either a Old OS like XP, or dedicated NAS software. One of mine has atom CPU + 2 GB Memory ( real grunt machine ) :D

Theres a few free ones about, but I personally use the Free version of https://www.open-e.com/products/data-storage-software-v7-soho/ Download page https://www.open-e.com/download (https://www.open-e.com/download/open-e-data-storage-software-v7-soho/)

The Free version takes upto 4TB of drives. You create a free account to get a licence number - that's it. The paid options allow you to add on more storage, but from memory you can get several free codes.

Its set up as a separate NAS storage and can be accessed like any other NAS. ( takes a little bit of setting up unlike the Store brought NAS software, but its all in the instructions).

Then on a computer set up sync program to sync what ever you want from one PC to the NAS. I been using EaseUS Sync, http://www.easeus.com/file-sync/works great, set it and then forget it. I've got mine setup so certain folders are monitored all the time, and any changes are sent to the NAS automatically, it's set to sync only one way.

Got the program installed on a Customers setup. They have a NAS, as well as a backup PC (actually has a Vista OS) , some of the staff access the NAS others Access the backup PC, there are Literally thousands of Photos and folders on both and both need to be kept in sync with one another.
Its not uncommon to have 3-5 people dumping their work or working on various files on one or the other all the time, and of course the software automatically syncs them both. Any changes to documents automatically sync, as well as any additions. (software is set to add/ sync, but not remove/sync files).

The First sync will take the longest time as it has to copy from one to another, but after that - really forget about it, unless you want to make the odd check now and then. :)

OK so maybe :2cents: :2cents:

07-03-2017, 04:29 PM
Forgot to add in, the E-Open OS is installed on a flash Drive plugged into the rear of the computer, then has separate Hard Drives.

07-03-2017, 05:30 PM
Been running Amahi on an old P4 for about 5 years solid as a rock sits in the garage gathering dust and chugging along.

07-03-2017, 07:06 PM
Looks like pretty good software, another thing to add to my list of options. Something Else I'm considering is using my NUC running windows 10 to do it, but that means some kind of external storage device. Currently it's used as a media PC in the lounge but it's pretty efficient and quiet and I already have it. Another advantage is I can use the NUC to record TV once TiVo shuts down, unfortunately I can't seem to get anything but windows to recognise my Avermedia network tuner and it's software is not wanting to save files to a network drive but that's another issue for another day.

For my uses I only need a 1 way sync as a backup and prefer it to be scheduled rather than real time, maybe I'm thinking about this wrong but it seems like a real time backup would duplicate my mistake if I deleted something I shouldn't. All I want is something that can automatically duplicate all the files on the NAS at least once a week without any input from me most of the time and that it's easy to recover them from if the need arrives or the NAS is playing up (rare but it has happened). The old setup worked fine but requires the power hungry gaming machine to be running and is a little annoying if I'm gaming when it happens.

07-03-2017, 07:12 PM
For my uses I only need a 1 way sync as a backup and prefer it to be scheduled rather than real time

As they say, Piece of cake:


Options are yours :)

07-03-2017, 07:29 PM
EaseUS sync looks good, but I note the Qnap can backup using Rsync and the software yourself & Gary suggest both seem to have Rsync support. If I could get that to work there would be no need for any other devices to be running and the NAS could back itself up.7914

07-03-2017, 07:48 PM
What happens with these real time automatic backups if the source computer gets screwed, eg virus, cryptolocked, or just corrupted in some way?

Will the backup also suffer the same failure?

07-03-2017, 07:54 PM
That's my concern too. It's why I have stayed with weekly scheduled backups so far.

08-03-2017, 07:17 AM
What happens with these real time automatic backups if the source computer gets screwed, eg virus, cryptolocked, or just corrupted in some way?

Will the backup also suffer the same failure? It can do, but with something like a cryptolocked event, it can go right through a whole LAN in a matter of seconds, so any PC, NAS what ever thats always connected can get hit. The only real safe way is when the backups are not physically connected to a LAN / Device OR even online storage. AND what usually happens is people forget to reattach the backup drives & do backups - so they never get done.

08-03-2017, 10:27 AM
Best one I've seen, I used to attend monthly LAN parties and one time someone had a Virus on their PC that duplicates itself as an .exe with the same name as every unprotected folder on the network and puts that file inside said folder (very sneaky, looks legit to a casual observer and could easily get clicked) My Anti-virus went nuts blocking it from every shared folder on my system for several minutes, that's what taught me to password protect my shared folders at LANs :) With realtime sync it would have been in twice as many places potentially.

The Virus in question spread around the LAN like crazy, great place to have problems though with all that tech support on hand :)

I'm looking for a Cheap PC that will take 2 x 4TB storage drives to try out some of these solutions, but I'm starting to lean towards one or 2 external enclosures connected to the NUC and an automated sync tool mainly because I already have it and it only gets used once or twice a week on average.

09-03-2017, 01:02 PM
Found some Cheap itx systems on trademe and bought a couple
Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM and 4 SATA ports

Should be perfect for NAS use. If it works well I'll consider a case and psu upgrade later.
Now to decide what OS to run and what functions it needs :)

10-03-2017, 01:04 PM
I had the same TS-231 NAS and was backing up my main rig to it. I was then backing the NAS up to a FreeNAS box I had laying around. The FreeNAS box had double the storage of the NAS itself so I was spoilt for space. It worked really well and I was only doing a full backup once a week (Wednesday) and then an incremental on Tues/Thur/Sat.

I did not have any issues with either of these. Obviously your first backups will take the longest depending on how much data you have, in my case my first backup took about 2 days across both the QNAP and then FreeNAS box. Too be fair I had dual NICs and a separate VLAN for backup traffic specifically which was running at 1Gb (averaged about 500 - 650 Mbps across the network... with peaks at about 750 or so).

As I said though once the initial backup was done backup sessions would take only about 2-3 hours or so depending on how much data had changed since the last backup which is pretty much expected. I was averaging about 5-7GB changes over a week (maybe 10GB at its peak) across full and incremental backups.

If you have a spare rig laying around pop FreeNAS on a USB and fill it with drives then backup your QNAP NAS to that.


12-03-2017, 01:19 PM
Thanks guys, all sorted now.

TL;DR Out of frustration and an increasingly short temper I bought another copy of windows 10 and went back to doing it how I know.

I had been trying to sort this since Friday afternoon and decided it's not worth my time. I ended up with 3 functional core 2 duo itx systems as it happens, and although they all work getting any of them to do what I want was stressing me out.
I'm sure any of the 3 solutions I tried below could have worked if I persisited but after spending a whole rainy weekend on it I decided enough was enough.

So the story for any that care:

Tried windows XP pro x64 because I had a licence, had a lot of trouble activating and updating it but got it working eventually. Got a robocopy script going to back up to 2 individual drives still formatted from use in a previous machine. Then deleted the drive partitions to try software RAID (want a single volume to match the source) and discovered it wouldn't let me use the full size of the drives any more. Tried to fix it for a while then gave up. I think it's a limitation of the driver as Linux, windows 10, and the BIOS all see 4TB drives just fine and I'm sure XP pro x64 can use large drives.

Tried Open-E DSS briefly - didn't really give it a chance once I was faced with a text based screen and started trying to figure out how to set it up. Two things killed it for me before I even got going. First I prefer a GUI right from the start, and second I don't really want or need to set up a second NAS or File server. The goal here is a automated backup and nothing else. Also when faced with the first screen the next step wasn't obvious and I was getting irritated thanks to earlier fights with XP.

Tried various versions of Linux and gave up in anger. - This story is a bit longer.
First it failed to install to a USB Stick, don't know why everything went blank and unresponsive somewhere near the end and I had to force a power off. Next I tried to dual boot with windows XP so I'd have a familiar system to fall back on - and because it was still on the hard drive from earlier attempts. It kept failing and the error message was just question mark symbols.

So I tried XP some more, managed to switch it to AHCI in windows and the BIOS, still couldn't format 4TB drives, then tried the Linux installer again and got past the previous issue. Seems it doesn't like IDE mode for some reason. Then it refused to install with some kind of partition restraint error, so I deleted all but the windows partition and installed it successfully - I thought. Played with Linux for a bit, got it to see the NAS and mount a couple of directories locally in preparation for trying to back them up. Then loaded Gparted to see if I could partition the storage drives to a single large volume. Now I discover Linux in a bastard move worthy of windows had installed itself onto one of my blank storage drives and left the 400GB of space I cleared for it on drive 0 untouched.

Pretty much had enough at this point, played with Linux a bit longer to see if I could figure out how to back up from the NAS to a local drive if I reinstalled it where I wanted it. Tried a couple of different solutions and gave up. Just don't have the patience after the previous failures. Linux Mint did impress me with the almost incredible speed the live USB disk boots and how fully functional as a general OS it is in that state these days but that's still not enough to win me over.

Incidentally - minor notes for the windows 10 haters to ponder. Windows installed from the official USB stick faster and easier than Linux did. Worked 100% with no additional drivers. Let me create a striped 8TB volume in 1 easy step, and has all the tools I need to create an automated backup without any additional software.

12-03-2017, 02:38 PM
Whew, glad you have settled that one! Nothing like using something you know.

Never seen any win10 haters, here, Dugi. Yeah, right.

12-03-2017, 06:03 PM
Good you got it sorted after all the trying. BUT ( and theres always a but)

Two things - Last time I installed Open-E, its ONLY the first screens that have text based to install, and even then the only thing you only need to install it to a USB drive, leaving the main drives for storage. Even then as I mentioned used the defaults and after that you log into the web based interface ( the IP address is displayed in the first run on the text)

Secondly ------- OK bit late now, but you didn't have to buy W10. :( For future reference if you download The ISO from MS for the version of key you have, Home or Pro, then when installing simply use the W7 -W8.1 Key and it goes straight in and activates. (Still did up till last Thursday anyway)

You cant do an upgrade but you can do a fresh install.

The Second BUT :D YES its always easier to work with software you know. :)

12-03-2017, 06:43 PM
Thanks Wainui but I don't recall saying I had a spare 7 or 8.1 key floating around :) This is an old machine without an OS I started with.

Yeah I knew Open-E used a web interface once you get it running, but as I said really wanted a standalone machine that will backup the NAS all by itself rather than another NAS or file server as such. And the first screen put me off, partly because although they give you instructions they recommend not installing to a USB flash drive for reliability reasons.

12-03-2017, 07:14 PM
Sorry my mistake for some reason thought you had another key. As for the Flash drive -- got Two NAS's running, ones been going for at least 4 Years, the other for at least 2 years, only time they have ever given a problem is when the drives filled up on one of them :).

Then there's the windows Home Server - coming up to 10 years and still chugging along. These days its used mainly for Centralized backup of the computers. All the contents / files/ programs/data are backed up to an external HDD.

The W10 you have installed, as you have found out, piece of cake to setup the drives as well as other tasks.

13-03-2017, 08:33 AM
Just a thought re having backups online, are you covered for ransomware attacks?

I have an offline drive I use monthly as I reckon my NAS drive will get hit if ransomware strikes.

13-03-2017, 12:20 PM
It's a scheduled regular backup on a machine with no network shares, presumably if I got ransomware on one of my computers and it managed to encrypt all of the data on the NAS I would have until the next scheduled backup to shutdown the backup machine and stop the backup process from duplicating the problem.

The only real issue with that is if the backup machine itself got hit as that's the only one with full access to both copies, but as it will not be used for anything else (except possibly PVR duty) it seems unlikely. Currently I have it scheduled for daily copies but I'm contemplating setting it for weekly and shutting the machine down most of the time to save power and wear etc.

And if the worst happens and I lose everything - I'll survive there's nothing that important really. Probably should make an offline backup of my personal Photos but they are a bit scattered and I haven't got round to it.

13-03-2017, 05:44 PM
Incidentally - minor notes for the windows 10 haters to ponder. Windows installed from the official USB stick faster and easier than Linux did. Worked 100% with no additional drivers. Let me create a striped 8TB volume in 1 easy step, and has all the tools I need to create an automated backup without any additional software.

Shh don't tell BM he will shoot you down in flames