NAS

What's a good alternative to Drobo?

Synology 4-bay RAID

Episode 1541

Rick from Edmonton, Canada

Rick bought a Drobo 2, and it's a bit flakier than his gen 1 Drobo. If it gets jostled, it has to reboot and rebuild. He's concerned that it's a single point of failure and he'll lose his data. Leo says that Drobos are a RAID (called Beyond Raid) where if one drive fails, it rebuilds form the other drives. So it's not really a single point of failure. But if all the drives go bad, then he's in a world of hurt.

Why isn't my NAS visible on my network?

Western Digital NAS

Episode 1529

Paul from Lake Forest, CA

Paul's WD NAS can't be seen on his network after changing the cable connector. There's a red light that says "I'm not working." Leo says he could try to use another computer with the dashboard software and connect directly, bypassing the router. If he sees it, then there's some issue connecting through the router. Leo says that Western Digital's NAS is terrible. Definitely not his preferred NAS. They fail more often than others. Leo prefers Synology.

Why is my NAS to slow?

Synology NAS

Episode 1522

Aaron from Hannibal, MS

Aaron has a Synology NAS, and he handles a lot of really large image files. But they load really slowly. Leo says that while loading it can bog down and there are several issues in the chain. He shouldn't treat his NAS as local storage. He should transfer his data to a hard drive. It still shouldn't be that slow, though. Leo suspects a misconfiguration issue. Aaron should make sure SMB File Sharing is turned on. That could help.

How do I wrap my tech for a cross country move?

iMac shipping box

Episode 1518

Dr. Mom from New York, NY

Doctor Mom may be moving cross country and wants to know a safe way to pack her technology, like her computers and her NAS. Leo says that pulling the drives out and wrapping them separately in bubble map is a good idea. Then she can place them together in a box with plenty of shipping material. But the iMac is tougher because she can't take that out. And then there's the huge screen. Ideally, if she still has the box, she can encase it in that with the original packaging. Otherwise, she'll need to just wrap it judiciously in bubble wrap.

Why do I have to reauthorize my Synology backup with Time Machine?

Synology DiskStation DS216

Episode 1508

Tim from Franklin, OH

Tim uses Time Machine for his backup, but the backup fails intermittently. His Synology NAS is citing improper credentials as the cause. Leo says that encryption certificates need to be renewed from time to time, and if he's encrypting his data on backup, that could be the issue.

There is a post on Synology forums about this: Time Machine, Making it Work. Learn from my Suffering. There are some steps that can help.

Can I fix my crashed hard drive?

Hard disks

Episode 1486

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ

Chip has a failed hard drive and doesn't really want to spend over $500 to repair it. Is there a way to do it himself? Leo says that a hard drive dying can mean a lot of things. It could be a hardware failure or it could be a software failure. It could be a corrupt sector on the boot record. Software failures are easy to fix and inexpensive. Hardware failures will cost a lot. Drivesavers charge a lot because they have a clean room with all the parts, and can replace bad parts and recover the data.

How can I rip all my DVDs and play them on a network?

Synology DiskStation

Episode 1483

James from Las Vegas, NV

James has 300 DVDs that he'd like to put on a media server and watch using Amazon Alexa to launch them. Rich says that the first thing James would need to do is "rip" them to a hard drive. He can use a combination of HandBrake and VLC Media Client to get them into digital files. Then he can put them on a network attached storage device.

Can I mix hard drives in my NAS?

QNAP NAS

Episode 1476

Josh from Sutter, CA

Josh wants to know if he should buy all one brand of hard drives for his QNAP NAS or if he could mix them. Leo says that there's no problem with mixing drives, but he should make sure that the drive size is consistent, as most RAIDs will manage according to the smallest size. If he's buying it all at once, then it makes sense to buy the same drive, but if he's getting a great deal on different hard drives, then by all means, he should save the money.

Why can't I use DropBox as a file server?

Synology DiskStation DS218play

Episode 1476

David from Austin, TX

David works with about ten other people in a small company, and they all share files using DropBox. They're getting conflicts, however with certain database files that they have stored on DropBox. Leo says if he has two programs accessing the same file at once, they will have problems. David wants to set up a VPN, and he was able to configure Hamachi. Leo says this won't fix the fundamental problem, though — it has to support record locking. David says that Microsoft Access supports locking, but it doesn't work with DropBox because people are accessing the file on their local systems.