external disk drive? - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 07:52 PM Thread Starter
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external disk drive?

Hey All,
I've been back and forth on getting an external hard drive, since the thread about the WannaCry virus, I'm thinking now's the time.
So I have a NetGear Nighthawk X6 R8000 router with 2 usb ports and 4 rj45's(2 free). If I were to connect a disk to the router, can I use
it if the PC is off? I'm looking to back up the windows pc, and also use it for pictures and stuff from 3 phones an ipad and a kindle.
Is this doable, or do I need to have the Windows 7 pc on, or can I set it up on the router and access wirelessly for the other gear?
What's a reliable drive? What do you have set up?

Thanks,
George


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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 11:43 PM
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Thumb drives are so big and so cheap, just keep stuff on them. I keep one attached to my puter full time as the main documents and downloads drive. Reduces write actions to my internal solid state drive. Just try the router ports and see what happens, easy peasy. Consider switching to Linux Ubuntu. Wayyyyy better than MS, in my psychotic opinion!

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 01:42 AM
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I've had good results with Toshiba Canvio portable hard drives. I have a 2 terabyte drive hooked up to my computer at all times and have it set for nightly backups. I also have two usb cords hooked into my computer that fit my camera, kindle fire, and phone. Anything from those three get saved to my computer and automatically get backed up every night. I also have a 500 gb drive that I keep away from the computer and about once a month I back up my files separately. I'm not constantly plugging and unplugging drives. I also keep a few usb sticks in case I want to move files to other computers.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 05:23 AM
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If you want the TL;DR; plugging a USB drive into your router should make it available to other devices without the PC on. Hard to say how the various mobile devices will access it though. They may not all support the routers file sharing method. Testing with a cheap USB may be a good first try. If you want to know how to solve this for a more advanced/complicated home network, keep reading.

I am in the information security field, so take my setup like you would some of these mustang build threads. It may be a bit more than what you want to commit to, but its an idea of how to solve the
problem, and probably some you don't have.

I have a Synology external drive array/network attached storage. My unit has 4 drive bays, but you can also get a dual drive bay version. The box is basically a little bigger than a stack of 4 disks. I can plug it in anywhere on my network (my house is wired with cat6 cable, so I have wall jacks in most rooms). However big or small your network is, it just needs a port on it somewhere. This is effectively the next step up from a USB external drive attached to a router.

Key differences:
- It is it's own device. It runs a version of Linux and has a web console to manage it. No other device is required to manage it other than something with a web browser. It doesn't matter what you use for your primary computer. You don't need to know anything about Linux to use it.
- It can manage redundancy for drive failure or speed. You can configure it for mirroring drives, or more complicated RAID solutions. It does this very easily.
- You can replace drives without shutting it off. They are hot swapable.
- It can run a variety of apps, including a full blown backup solution (not just a scheduled file copy), or PLEX media server. It has an app to mirror cloud storage like OneDrive or Google Drive as well.
- It has a variety of networking methods for connecting to various file systems.
- It's more expensive than a single USB.

How I use it:
- Run the Synology backup software and schedule a backup of my important folders to a mirrored drive.
- File share for photos so other machines can all access them
- Plex server for watching movies from my Roku on my TV. I don't have a DVD player by my TV.
- Mirror my OneDrive to Plex. My phone pushes all pictures to OneDrive. I can look at my pictures on my TV without doing anything, seconds after I take them. When I travel, my wife can see pictures on a big screen without me sending them or posting them on social media. My remote family can also see my pictures through the Plex app and my giving them access explicitly.
- A place to store my MP3 music.

With a couple Western Digital Red drives in this device, I have confidence in my decade + of family photos and CD/DVD/BluRay media content not disappearing. To avoid ransomware, I still need to be smart with how I access the content. For example, connecting to a remote share, most ransomware will still encrypt it. It won't get access to backups through backup software. If I access my media through a media server like Plex, it also wont get access to that.

A Synology box is like dropping in a crate motor. It's not as complicated as trying to put a fox motor in, but it's not as easy as just tuning your existing motor either. On the other side, there are a lot of benefits to having new tech with more options to work with, if you can use those features. It's also a significant upgrade from having no motor

Sorry, that was REALLY long winded. Hope it helps more than it hurts.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 07:32 AM
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Best Buy sells large NAS drives by Western Digital and Seagate. Just plug them in to one of the ethernet ports in your router and they'll be accessible by any device attached to your home wifi.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks All, I appreciate the ideas. Brad, that was not too long winded and helps alot, I'm going to look into that idea.
I didn't even think of trying it out with a thumb drive. I have a brand new one sitting in the package, I'm going to fool
around with that, once I see how it works, I'm definitely going to check out the other ideas.

Thanks again,
George


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 02:37 PM
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It's worth noting that some of the newer wares out there actively look for USB connected drives and seek to infect them. So just hanging a backup drive off your USB port is no longer a good idea. I doubt the same thing holds for such a drive plugged into your router (yet) but it's something to watch out for.
I've used multiple USB drives physically swapped out for weekly backups but some malware will now work quietly in the background to infect everything for weeks before it really switches on and ruins your life. So that particular multiple drive backup style is no longer a good solution either.
Sucks to make such efforts only to find it was all for nothing anyway.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 07:24 PM Thread Starter
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Good to know, thanks Gypsy


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GypsyR View Post
It's worth noting that some of the newer wares out there actively look for USB connected drives and seek to infect them. So just hanging a backup drive off your USB port is no longer a good idea. I doubt the same thing holds for such a drive plugged into your router (yet) but it's something to watch out for.
I've used multiple USB drives physically swapped out for weekly backups but some malware will now work quietly in the background to infect everything for weeks before it really switches on and ruins your life. So that particular multiple drive backup style is no longer a good solution either.
Sucks to make such efforts only to find it was all for nothing anyway.
This is a good point as any device that you can see with your PC, Ransomware will also encrypt. Unless you need permission, a password has to be entered, it is only as safe as your computer. If it is a shared network, any other computer on the network could potentially cause all your shared storage to be at risk. Using an external drive for a weekly, monthly backup and leaving it disconnected when not doing a backup would be a very safe option.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-20-2017, 09:25 PM
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The problem with thumb drives is they get lost very easily. Case in point, I currently know where none of the 5 I have data backed up on are located.


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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 08:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lizer View Post
The problem with thumb drives is they get lost very easily. Case in point, I currently know where none of the 5 I have data backed up on are located.
I have the opposite situation. I generally consider them a nuisance since they're so easy to lose therefore I don't use them. I have a few that I've collected that just sit in a drawer and from time to time a new one shows up that I don't recognize and figure the wife or kids put it there.

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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 12:50 PM
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Huh. I have a thumb drive that all the lettering is worn off because it stays in my pants pocket at all times. It has utilities and data that I want with me everywhere. Then a second in my briefcase with similar duties plus critical data backup. Then a third in my home desk which is a duplicate. These get cycled out in favor of larger capacity/faster ones on occasion but all are accounted for at all times. Outdated ones get cycled out to grandkids. Who use them once or twice and then eat them. Apparently.
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-21-2017, 01:04 PM
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I have a redundant WEB server which is actually on-line as I write this as I am going to upgrade the storage capacity and type (to a RAID5 array) of the main server. The backup server is powered up only when I want to mirror the contents of the main server and do updates. Otherwise, it is powered down and the main server is backed up daily to a separate drive on my work computer. I also make an image of each of my computers about once ever 2 - 3 months to an external HD in case I have the need to get them main OS drive back. All my devices are on battery backups including the cable modem and switches.

So hopefully you should never see my build site, forum or other services offline unless there is some other issue with my ISP. In case of a virus, malware I can swap out the server and rebuild anything else in a matter of hours.

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