Don't post much in computers but have a computer question...

Discussion in 'Computers, Hardware, and Operating Systems' started by VE3GZB, Nov 16, 2021.

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  1. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page


    At home I have a few computers (a Dell Win 7 PC and a couple of Macs). And after getting tired of a sneaker-net between computers I decided to struggle with setting up a Ubuntu-based Samba file server along with passwords to protect digital files of importance.

    Movies, music and family photos plus various software installers, once downloaded, are also put on the server. Everything of course is running behind a firewall/router.

    Ubuntu is ok. The price is nice (free) but all of this command line nonsense drives me up the wall, it's like going back to hand-crank to start our cars and I sure cannot remember all of these cryptic commands.

    Would some legit version of Windows server be of any use at home for the purpose I've outlined above for just a couple of users, absolute no interaction outside of the house? If so, which version should I look at buying and who would be a reputable reseller in Canada?

    Thanks and 73s,
    geo VE3GZB
    KC5NYO likes this.
  2. KC4WEB

    KC4WEB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    VE3GZB - I have a Win 11 laptop (WiFi) and Win 10 PC (Ethernet). These are networked over my home network (Netgear Router). I use a program called GoodSync to synchronize my Quicken, financial and tax documents folders between the two computers. Photos, music, movies and everything else are synchronized between the two computers over Microsoft OneDrive. OneDrive is free for up to 5GB and works in Windows and Mac environments.. I have Microsoft 365 which includes 1 TB of storage for up to 5 users. OneDrive also syncs three weeks (65GB) of security camera files to the cloud.

    I also have a Ubuntu VM that runs on the Windows PC. That is not currently sync'd but it is possible to use a shared folder to move files back and forth.

    Hope this helps.

    Web - KC4WEB
    VE3GZB likes this.
  3. W1GNL

    W1GNL Ham Member QRZ Page

    You can legitimately install Windows 10 for free, the only thing you don't get with an unpaid Windows is the ability to modify certain settings. I'm honestly not sure if that restriction also carries over to file sharing or not. That being said, you can obtain a key via something like CDKeys and register your copy of Windows 10. While it's not free, it can be deeply discounted. I've used CDKeys and similar to register several copies of Windows 10 and/or Office over the years and haven't had any problems with it. I'm not paid or sponsored by them or anyone else for the matter just sharing my experience.

    Having said all of that, you could also looked into tools for Ubuntu that would help you graphically manage your SMB shares. I'm not very active in the Unix (any flavor) world these days, but have many many many hours of Unix experience (both personal and business) on nearly every flavor of *nix there is. Sadly however I would have to look up how to mount shares for the network with samba (or whatever they use these days) from the command line. I'd be happy to help though, but it might take me a few days. Please get in touch if you're interested.

    Using cloud storage is great but largely only as backup and only if you have unmetered internet (ie: unlimited data) and if you have a decent sized upload pipe to the internet (I feel like I do, but it's only 40mbit/s up but 980mbits/s down) and we pay extra for unlimited bandwidth.
    VE3GZB likes this.
  4. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Something like TrueNAS might be easier to setup and manage, but you could also setup your Win7 machine to share it's drives and just have your Mac talk to the SMB shares.
    KF5RRF, VE3GZB and N0TZU like this.
  5. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I tried Win 10 when it came out and I even have a store bought copy. But I realized soon what a piece of spyware it really is, so I bought this PC from a computer shop which manages business computers (off lease from a bank, apparently our banks still use Windows 7 - bank data is wiped and the shop installs factory fresh Win 7 Pro) to avoid the pitfalls of Win 10. Win 7 does exactly what I need for ham radio and digital stuff.

    None of my machines have enough hard drive space individually for saving vacation pictures, videos from holidays, program installers, important documents - especially the Macs which nowadays have soldered-on solid state hard drives. And I only use the Win 7 PC for ham radio stuff so most of the time it is shut off (not asleep but really off).

    That's why I'm looking to have my own file server in-house and not depend on anything external to the house simply because I don't have much trust in most of what goes on the internet these days.

  6. NG1H

    NG1H XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's really overkill from your description. A NAS is pretty cheap and will work well. Plus you get hardware RAID and remote access built in. And you can get a complete system (less drives) for less than the OS cost.

    If cost is the primary factor I've found the WD My Cloud devices are decent.
    If you want high reliability and performance I've had good results with Synology.

    WD is pretty simple to set up. Synology is (or at least used to be) more difficult but not too bad as long as you follow the instructions. Both are fairly simple to maintain.

    As to drives the short answer is spinning rust = large capacity and cheap cost but can be noisy. SSHD = silent but expensive and smaller.

    Edit - If redundancy is important consider a 4 (or larger) drive solution. Have one drive as a hot spare and the rest as RAID 5.
    VE3GZB likes this.
  7. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    What is the security and the administrative interface like in WD products? And can I plug in an external USB drive for a secondary backup?

    I thought about SSDs but they do have a limited number of write cycles. Speed of read/write isn’t of prime importance to me as is reliability. I’ve had magnetic HDs last 10 years or more and even picked up some smaller (500mB) drives from a scrap place and they still functioned, their data still readable.

  8. K6CLS

    K6CLS Ham Member QRZ Page

    What make and model router do you have? Many later ones have a USB port, exactly for your purpose:. Host an disk and serve it to your network via SMB, called SAMBA in the Linux world.

    You'll likely need a USB to SATA jumper, there is not much to configure, one and done.
    VE3GZB likes this.
  9. W1GNL

    W1GNL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ubuntu isn't much better, you can disable all the spyware stuff in Windows 10 pretty quickly. But I agree until then it's annoying.

    The WD products are web based as far as I know and pretty easy to setup, but you can accomplish that graphically with Ubuntu (well Linux in general) as well. The biggest difference here really is expansion. From what I recall looking at them they're pretty much baked from the start and don't offer hot swap and the like (systems that do are more expensive than the WD solutions I recall). You really want to make sure you're using a switch with those things though they are ridiculously chatty (seems like most retail NAS solutions are).

    N5AL and VE3GZB like this.
  10. VE3GZB

    VE3GZB Ham Member QRZ Page

    I’m using a business router, a Pepwave Surf SOHO that I got a few years ago. I looked into it’s settings and didn’t see anything that would permit mounting an external HD and giving it an active place on the home network.

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