How do I set up laptop wirelessly with external hard drive. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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ICARRY2
07-17-2010, 13:37
Recently, I bought a new laptop an a N linksys-cisco router.

I am giving my outdated desktop to my sister kids.

What I want to do is automatically save all of my doc/pics/etc to an external hard drive without savings anything to the hard drive on my laptop.

I am hoping to do it this way so that if I take my laptop with me somewhere and it is lost/stolen someone else won't have any of my stuff. Is this possible?

If not, how can I set it up the laptop to automatically backup my files on the external hard drive without it being connected directly to my laptop. Preferrably via the router.

Thanks.

Drjones
07-17-2010, 14:35
You have two options.

The first, and IMO best, is to get an NAS - Network Attached Storage. It does exactly what you want - it connects to your network via your router and you can store whatever you want on it. AND it has two hard drives so when one dies, you don't lose your data - you just swap in a new drive and your data is mirrored over two separate hard disks.

The other option is to get a router with a USB port built in, assuming your new one doesn't, and you can plug any USB hard drive into it and use it as an NAS.

I would without question go the first route because it provides you the redundancy of dual hard drives and it is designed for exactly what you want. Since really the only copy of your files will be on this other drive, be it a plain external or this NAS, I would REALLY recommend the NAS because of the dual-drive redundancy, AND I would recommend dropping $100 or less on another external drive to backup the files on your NAS. Redundancy & backups are not the place to be pennywise.

The units I like & recommend are the Netgear ReadyNAS. I own one and have helped a couple friends buy & configure them and they have all been great. You can also access your files remotely over the internet.

As far as how to get all your stuff onto it automatically, the easiest would be to just make a habit of saving all your stuff onto the NAS - you can map it so that it appears as just another drive on your PC.

You can configure MS Office and other programs to save to the NAS instead of onto your computer, and you can probably even re-map your various folders; My Documents, My Pictures, etc. to live on the NAS.

You can also do all sorts of cool things with the ReadyNAS like stream pics, movies & music to your home theater, share photos with people, etc. It's got tons of features & flexibility.

Hope that helps.

ICARRY2
07-18-2010, 01:40
DrJones, thank you very much for the information.

I really like the NAS setup and would like to get one in the future. But for now I may need to go with the second option.

My router does not have a USB port. Can I use an adapter that goes from USB to ethernet to connect the external hard drive to the router? And will that also work?

I do have one question that I forgot to ask. I have a roomate and his computer is connected to the router. Will he be able to access an external hard drive or NAS?

Thank again. Your information was very helpful.

JimmyN
07-18-2010, 05:12
You can easily change the location of your 'My Documents' folder, or any of the 'shell' folders, to an external drive or NAS. Right click on 'My Computer', then 'Properties', then 'Target' and browse to the location you want to use. It's simple and easy to do.

In my experience external USB drives connected to a router for LAN access tend to be pretty slow. They are OK for backups, or small files, but transfer of larger files will take a bit. They are too slow to serve DVD files on the network, the player tends to pause and stutter, though music files will play OK. And since there is no 'user' for the drive connected to the router, setting permissions and access is problematic. You'll likely have to plug the drive into your PC first and set up the folders and access, then plug it back into the router for use. Otherwise all the files on it are accessible to any user on the LAN. I'd just plug the drive into your laptop, it will work just as well as plugging it into the router, and you can control shares easier.

You could install FreeNAS on the old desktop and have an NAS for free. Adding a few more drives to it would be cheap and give you a lot of storage space. That would provide you with the means to access your files with a secure connection from anywhere, even when on the road, or run a small family webserver on it. The NAS can do your backups for you automatically as well. An NAS is an excellent addition to your network.

Your roomate will be able to access anything you want to share with him, whether it's a drive or folder on your system or files on a NAS. You can decide what he can access and what he can't.

Pierre!
07-18-2010, 11:00
Pickup a copy of TruCrypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/) and encrypt a portion of your hard drive.

I believe you can even hide the encrypted drive... it works that way on a USB drive anyway. Then just relocate your MyDocuments to the encrypted zone on your hard drive.

Should work with any version of Windows, and you will not bust the encryption used to protect your data. DO NOT LOOSE YOUR PASSWORD! Don't ask how I found this out... :rofl:

Best part is that this is free!

Got to ask - why take your notebook if you have no data on it? Use the internet? Sooner or later I have to reference something that I have collected or created. But then I work from/with my notebooks.

Just curious...

Sgt. Schultz
07-18-2010, 11:30
DO NOT LOOSE YOUR PASSWORD! Don't ask how I found this out... :rofl: What he said ... :crying:

Pierre!
07-18-2010, 11:49
What he said ... :crying:

Let's hear it for that >EXTRA< backup... :cool:

Sgt. Schultz
07-18-2010, 12:05
Let's hear it for that >EXTRA< backup... :cool:Agree, I keep encrypt backups in several off site locations ... better safe then sorry.

IndyGunFreak
07-18-2010, 12:14
You can easily change the location of your 'My Documents' folder, or any of the 'shell' folders, to an external drive or NAS. Right click on 'My Computer', then 'Properties', then 'Target' and browse to the location you want to use. It's simple and easy to do.

In my experience external USB drives connected to a router for LAN access tend to be pretty slow. They are OK for backups, or small files, but transfer of larger files will take a bit. They are too slow to serve DVD files on the network, the player tends to pause and stutter, though music files will play OK. And since there is no 'user' for the drive connected to the router, setting permissions and access is problematic. You'll likely have to plug the drive into your PC first and set up the folders and access, then plug it back into the router for use. Otherwise all the files on it are accessible to any user on the LAN. I'd just plug the drive into your laptop, it will work just as well as plugging it into the router, and you can control shares easier.

You could install FreeNAS on the old desktop and have an NAS for free. Adding a few more drives to it would be cheap and give you a lot of storage space. That would provide you with the means to access your files with a secure connection from anywhere, even when on the road, or run a small family webserver on it. The NAS can do your backups for you automatically as well. An NAS is an excellent addition to your network.

Your roomate will be able to access anything you want to share with him, whether it's a drive or folder on your system or files on a NAS. You can decide what he can access and what he can't.

Very interesting post... thanks. I might have to check that out. I'm curious, after initial setup, etc.. would the NAS machine need a display, keyboard, etc?

Pierre!
07-18-2010, 13:04
Very interesting post... thanks. I might have to check that out. I'm curious, after initial setup, etc.. would the NAS machine need a display, keyboard, etc?

Sparked my interest as well... it can also be used as an iSCSI device! THAT would most definitely be FAST enough!

RAID 0, 1 , and 5 - Not disk "cheap" but RAID 5 is quite workable.

I just read this past week that a new version of Windows Home Server will be coming out - Not Vail, a more recent one! - and it will support up to 25 users in a non domain network.

Could be just the ticket for advanced SOHO operations. Mine did really well till it let me down couple weeks ago... but that's another story. :wow:

Lots of new developments in storage. I really like the FreeNAS idea, and will probably work to set one up for eval. Tie my Mozy backup to it and see how that works!!!

JimmyN
07-18-2010, 15:29
You only need a keyboard and monitor for the initial install, after that you access it as you would a router using a webgui for most admin. I also connect to it with WinSCP for access to restricted shares such as the backup drive. I use putty when I need a terminal interface.

Mine only has a power cord and an ethernet cable connected to it, that's it. I even removed the cd drive after the initial install. You can boot and run the system from a thumbdrive or CF adapter if you don't want to waste any disk space on an operating system. The one I have here is built from an old P4 Gateway computer, and it stops the drives after 30 minutes inactivity, so it takes very little power. I have built three so far, as the President and VP of the company both wanted one for their home network. It was a good use for old outdated equipment we had.

FreeNAS comes with CIFS/SMB, FTP, SSH, NFS, rsync, ISCSI, ZFS, an iTunes server, bittorrent, and a webserver (lighttpd). Just enable whatever services you like. Mine has three drives full of movies and music, so they can be accessed from any PC on the LAN. I did add a gigbyte NIC card for the ethernet, that and two drives is the only money I put into it everything else I had.

IndyGunFreak
07-19-2010, 17:25
You only need a keyboard and monitor for the initial install, after that you access it as you would a router using a webgui for most admin. I also connect to it with WinSCP for access to restricted shares such as the backup drive. I use putty when I need a terminal interface.

Mine only has a power cord and an ethernet cable connected to it, that's it. I even removed the cd drive after the initial install. You can boot and run the system from a thumbdrive or CF adapter if you don't want to waste any disk space on an operating system. The one I have here is built from an old P4 Gateway computer, and it stops the drives after 30 minutes inactivity, so it takes very little power. I have built three so far, as the President and VP of the company both wanted one for their home network. It was a good use for old outdated equipment we had.

FreeNAS comes with CIFS/SMB, FTP, SSH, NFS, rsync, ISCSI, ZFS, an iTunes server, bittorrent, and a webserver (lighttpd). Just enable whatever services you like. Mine has three drives full of movies and music, so they can be accessed from any PC on the LAN. I did add a gigbyte NIC card for the ethernet, that and two drives is the only money I put into it everything else I had.

OK... I setup FreeNas in Vbox today, to give it a run through.... Vbox is on my PC w/ Linux as the Host.

Setup... Follow the User guide, and it's easy peasy.... There is one thing it doesn't really discuss relating to the use of Vbox, and it took me some Googling, and finally going to FreeNas's IRC channel to get an answer. Make a long story short, when using Vbox.. check the network settings for that appliance, and set the ethernet device to "Bridge".. it's internet connection. This will cause the virtual machine to have it's own IP assignment from the router..... Once I done that, I was able to ping all machines on my network, etc.

After getting through that bit of confusion(which took quite a while), I logged into FreeNas from my laptop just messing around with it.. This was as simple as pointing the browser on my laptop at the IP that FreeNas assigned itself (192.168.1.14).. Logged in w/ default username and password, and really that was it. The final adjustment I made, was to make the IP for FreeNas static, so I wouldn't have to worry about it changing.

Unfortunately I got tied up repairing a computer, and haven't had a chance to get deeper into it than just basic settings, etc.. I plan to do that later.

So far.. this no doubt looks like something I'm gonna be doing..

IGF

TBO
07-19-2010, 17:33
tagged

JimmyN
07-20-2010, 06:54
Install normally only takes about 10 minutes. Since install is so easy you don't need to backup any of the OS files, in fact there's nothing to back up, just the one configuration file located at /cf/conf/config.xml. All your system settings and config are stored in that one file to make things simple.

If you really mangle the OS playing around you can install it again and copy your saved config.xml back to the conf directory. In 15 minutes you're back up and running. But most likely you won't even need to re-install just replace the config.xml with your saved copy.

One caution, it is FreeBSD so it will eventually corrupt a NTFS drive if you write to it. It will play OK with Linux ext2 and 3 file systems. You can install a NTFS internally, or USB, and use it as formatted but writing to it is risky. It's best to format all the drives to UFS, the native BSD file system.

IndyGunFreak
07-20-2010, 10:11
Install normally only takes about 10 minutes. Since install is so easy you don't need to backup any of the OS files, in fact there's nothing to back up, just the one configuration file located at /cf/conf/config.xml. All your system settings and config are stored in that one file to make things simple.

If you really mangle the OS playing around you can install it again and copy your saved config.xml back to the conf directory. In 15 minutes you're back up and running. But most likely you won't even need to re-install just replace the config.xml with your saved copy.

One caution, it is FreeBSD so it will eventually corrupt a NTFS drive if you write to it. It will play OK with Linux ext2 and 3 file systems. You can install a NTFS internally, or USB, and use it as formatted but writing to it is risky. It's best to format all the drives to UFS, the native BSD file system.

Yeah... I found the setup very easy. The install is very quick, then about another 5min setting up your IP and testing it to make sure it works.

Once you log in to the GUI... there's a lot of settings... How I basically done it.... FreeNas obviously could be used for many things, but I really like the idea of it as a file server for my network. I got it set up in that manner this morning. It really isn't that hard, but I did need some help with it. For the most part, the folks in the FreeNas IRC channel are a pretty friendly and helpful group. Just to test it out, I used my wireless laptop, and copied a few full length movies to the FreeNas virtual drive that is on my main PC, and then watched the movies from that location. The movies transferred plenty fast enough(about like transferring to a USB drive), and playback was smooth, just like I was watching on a local drive.

I haven't tried accessing the UFS drive from a Windows Machine yet.. I'll probably do that later today.

I can't believe as much as I get into Open Source stuff(especially the last 2-3yrs)... I've never heard of this project. And to think I've been buying enclosures for my old hard drives... :).

Thanks again JimmyN, for bringing this to my attention.

IGF