network attached storage

Can I fix my crashed hard drive?

Episode 1486

Chip from Cherry Hill, NJ
Hard disks

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.

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

Episode 1476

David from Austin, TX
Synology DiskStation DS218play

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.

What can I do if my NAS has gone bad?

Episode 1468

Bruce from Villa Park, CA
Western Digital Sentinel DX4000

Bruce has a network attached storage (NAS) drive and he's getting an error message. He's worried he's lost the data. Leo says that if the network RAID was set to RAID 0 or "scary RAID" then there's a chance that's the case. But if it was set as "redundant" then if one drive has gone bad, replacing it will fix it. The error message Bruce is getting indicates the entire Western Digital NAS has been corrupted and the only thing he can do is reboot the NAS and see if it self-corrects. Bruce also said that the error occurred with all the drives taken out of the machine.

Why can't Windows see my network storage?

Episode 1453

Keith from Orange County, CA
Synology DiskStation DS216

Keith has two NAS drives attached to his network and none of his Windows-based computers can see the shared data folders, but his Android devices can. Leo says that since Keith's Chromebook and Android devices are based on Linux, it can probably see it without any emulation or extra drivers. The NAS could have a non-standard file sharing protocol that won't allow Windows to see it because it can't understand it.

What NAS should I get?

Episode 1422

Eric from Hutchinson, KS
DiskStation DS416

Eric is looking to get a new NAS and wants to know whether he should get a Drobo or Synology? He wants everything on RAID that can be swappable. Leo says that Drobo is USB and is essentially a very large, fast USB external drive system. But for network attached storage, Leo prefers Synology. It's a computer with massive storage on his network.So it really comes down to what he'll want to use it for.

How can I sync both my computers without losing data?

Episode 1378

Angelo from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
File Sync

Angelo bought a Toshiba Laptop with Office 365 and One Drive backup in 2013. When he started to back it up to the cloud, he bought a second computer and now he's lost a lot of data because files were removed when syncing to the secondary computer. So it's deleting files off his original computer. Microsoft doesn't know what to do about it. Leo says that's a good reason to have more than one backup. One Drive is not a backup. It's a file sync system that matches two folders, or two hard drives to make them equal. That means syncing deletes as well as copying files.