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Testing Sync w/Windows 10 and a MyBook NAS

Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:03 pm

Hello:

This thread is a spin-off of my NAS thread. I decided to spin it off and start this one in the Windows subforum because even though it's storage and network related, what I really need is to learn how to do all this in Windows 10 Pro. At this time, I don't need these instructions for Mac or Linux.

Here's the test I want to do, but am struggling with the concepts as implemented in Windows 10 Pro.

Set up 3 folders, one each on my workstation, laptop, and MyBook NAS. The first two run Windows 10 Pro and the MyBook runs the factory OS for that device. The firmware has been updated on the MyBook.

Here are the steps (in plain language) that I "think" I need to perform. I just don't know how do do them in Windows:

Test 1:

1. Define a "remote/cloud" test folder on my NAS and make it visible on my home network. This will be the "cloud sync" interim folder. If I go live with this, the interim folder will not be backed up.
2. Define a "workstation local" test folder on my Windows 10 Pro workstation on a partition other than "C:". It will contain files of different types, and would be backed up (if this were a permenant setup). If I go live, this folder would be backed up as part of my normal workstation backup strategy.
3. Put some copies of various files into the worstation local folder.
4. Point the workstation local folder to the empty NAS folder created in 1 above.
5. Sync the workstation and NAS folders. The NAS folder should now have the SAME files in it as the workstation local folder.

Test 2

6. Define a "laptop local" test folder on my Windows 10 Pro laptop on a partition other than "C:". If I go live, this folder would be a part of my laptop backup strategy.
7. Point the laptop folder to the NAS folder that was created in 1 above.
8. Sync the laptop and the NAS. Now the laptop, NAS, and workstation should have the same folder contents.

Test 3

9. Add a file to the laptop folder.
10. Sync laptop with the NAS. Confirm that the new file should have been copied to the NAS.
11. Sync workstation with the NAS. The new file should now be present on all three devices.
12. Automate the Workstation and Laptop syncs, then play around, adding, deleting, and changing files on either the laptop or the workstation. Confirm that all actions on one PC get replicated to the NAS and then to the other PC.
13. Confirm that laptop, NAS, and Workstation play nice and don't accidentally result in deleted files or changes not being replicated.

I think I should be able to do this with a combination of Window's setting for "Always available offline" and the Windows "Sync Center" running on both computers. But I'm in over my head a bit here as to the configuration I need to do. The articles I've found online are really not very helpful.

Can anybody give me some guidance on how to do this, or where there might be some decent documentation? I'm happy to self-educate. :)
 
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Re: Testing Sync w/Windows 10 and a MyBook NAS

Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:27 pm

I've found one one possible path. It has some pros and cons. You'll see below that I probably won't take it, but it was an interesting learning opportunity, so here you go...

1. On each computer, map the network drive to a drive letter (Not really required; this is for convenience of finding it fast in File Explorer).

2. On each computer, locate that network drive with File Explorer, right click, and select "Always Available Offline". This allows each computer to maintain a local copy of the file and to always access the local copy.

Details:

The network share gets updated "later", as does the other computer's "local copy". Based on my reading, this synchronization is done automatically with a default of either 60 minutes or 120 minutes; not sure, but is configurable in the Group Policy Editor.

Each computer's local copy of any "always offline" files is stored in C:\Windows\CSC\, and it's done this way only to achieve the speeds of locally-attached data (in this case, my C drive which is on an SSD).

CSC stands for "Client Side Cache". It's Windows-managed, which means it is basically a "ball of wax" that is locked down from the user. You can't view it, you can't use "properties" to see how much data is in it, and it even seems that it can't be redirected to another drive partition.

Here is the best article that I've found on Offline Files: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/lib ... 67(v=ws.11).aspx

Pros:
P1) I can use my own network drive to store stuff (well of course).

P2) I can access it from all my devices (of course).

P3) It mostly should work at local data transfer speeds, at least at the times I want to access the data.

Cons:
C1) If you're using "Always Available Offline", then your C drive on each machine must have enough freespace to support the size of the network folder you're sharing.

C2) You can't monitor or redirect the CSC folder because is restricted from user interraction. You will have to monitor freespace on the C drive.

C3) You must back up the network drive, because if you lose that, I don't think you can recover from the CSC folder. I really wanted to avoid backing up a slow device (it's on the network and it uses those awful "green" drives), so this is a bad con for me.

My Plan:

I probably won't use this for most stuff. I need something more along the lines of DropBox, where the data is represented in a physical local folder that can be redirected and backed up with my standard tools. And of course, it should be automatically replicated to the cloud device and be "somewhat immediately" available to my other devices.

If my cloud/NAS breaks, I should be able to just replace it or reinitialize it and let my PCs repopulate it. Simple; done.

I looked at Owncloud, and it looks like it requires more than simple configuration on my old "My Book" NAS than I want to do. So I'm thinking that I may need to look more closely at my options for expanding my use of Dropbox, iCloud, or One Drive, and just get on with my life. I have all of them already, so it's doable. The problem there is that I *HATE* subscriptions. I hate them with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns! :evil:
 
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Re: Testing Sync w/Windows 10 and a MyBook NAS

Sun Aug 20, 2017 1:15 pm

Not that i have used extensively, but "robocopy.exe" via Task Scheduler is likely handy.

And Win 10 Pro has an NFS mount tool available via "Turn Windows features on or off" called: "Services for NFS".

Ive never used its own native Sync features.
 
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Re: Testing Sync w/Windows 10 and a MyBook NAS

Sun Aug 20, 2017 3:02 pm

Yep, I considered automating Robocopy, or possibly Freefilesync, which is what I use right now to syncronize my download folders across both PCs.

The only concern I have is that anything I cobble together will require development time (configuring, strategizing, scripting, and/or scheduling). Throw in the complexity of the NAS, and at some point all that stuff needs to be managed and maintained. By me.

I need to think more about this, but my gut feeling is that I'd rather not create some huge complex mousetrap that constantly needs to be oiled, tweaked, and debugged.

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