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File storage in multiple-computer household

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-14-2007
GW
 

Posts: n/a
File storage in multiple-computer household
I am setting up 3 computers in my home on a network. I want my family to be
able to sign on to any computer on the network and be able to easily access
their files. I also need to be able to backup the data for everyone.

I have a Maxtor One Touch on the way to use as backup storage.

What I want to know is what's the best setup option(s) for this scenario?
If someone could point me to an article, white paper or other info source?

I was a network admin (12 years ago) and am a programmer now -- just to let
you know my skill level. I am using Vista Premium on 2 of the systems and XP
Pro on the 3rd one.

Any help would be grealy appreciated.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2007
Malke
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
GW wrote:
> I am setting up 3 computers in my home on a network. I want my family to be
> able to sign on to any computer on the network and be able to easily access
> their files. I also need to be able to backup the data for everyone.
>
> I have a Maxtor One Touch on the way to use as backup storage.
>
> What I want to know is what's the best setup option(s) for this scenario?
> If someone could point me to an article, white paper or other info source?
>
> I was a network admin (12 years ago) and am a programmer now -- just to let
> you know my skill level. I am using Vista Premium on 2 of the systems and XP
> Pro on the 3rd one.
>
> Any help would be grealy appreciated.


So, your Maxtor is connected locally to one of the machines? I assume
you already have set up your sharing and it all works. If you need file
sharing setup info, let me know and I'll give you the "boilerplate" for it.

Since you don't have a server on the network, you can't use roaming
profiles which would enable a person to sit down at any computer, log
onto their account, and have their profile. I don't think you'll want to
simply redirect their My Documents folder to the Maxtor because I'm not
sure how speedy redirection would be with a hard drive connected locally
via USB as opposed to a NAS device connected to the network via
ethernet. Someone else may know that answer. Of course, you could always
try the redirection and see how that works for you.

All that said, if you don't do folder redirection you can create user
folders on the Maxtor and share them out appropriately. Then create
shortcuts to those shares on each Desktop. Teach your family how to do
"Save As" and have them save everything to their folder on the Maxtor
instead of to their own computer. You can also change the default save
location for Microsoft Office programs to the right share on the Maxtor.

Obviously the computer that has the Maxtor connected to it always has to
be turned on for this to work! That's the beauty of NAS devices but not
all of them work with Vista.

Periodically burn the contents of the Maxtor to a DVD-R for
belt-and-suspenders backup because naturally the Maxtor drive can fail
and you'll want that DVD of your backup.

If this isn't exactly what you're doing/want, then please post back.


Malke
--
Elephant Boy Computers
www.elephantboycomputers.com
"Don't Panic!"
MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
Reply With Quote
  #3 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2007
GW
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
Malke,

Thank you for taking the time to provide so much detail.

A few corrections:
1. The Maxtor has not yet arrived. I had consider a 500gb LaCie NAS that
sells for about $199.00 but then I was advised that backup would be a bit
more difficult. So, I opted for the Maxtor. Since it hasn't arrived (and
has still not shipped) I can change my mind.

2. My inteded scenario was to have my family save all their files to thier
user area on the main pc (MAINSYS) and then use the Maxtor to backup
everything from MAINSYS. I would be setting up each user with identical user
ID's on each computer so that their access to their user area on MAINSYS
would be automatically handled by Vista in the Workgroup.

3. ANY information you can provide on the best practices for setting up
shares would be greatly appreciated.

4. Please elaborate on "Roaming Profiles" and whether or not that is
possible with the LaCie NAS.

Your time is grealy appreciated.

"Malke" wrote:

> GW wrote:
> > I am setting up 3 computers in my home on a network. I want my family to be
> > able to sign on to any computer on the network and be able to easily access
> > their files. I also need to be able to backup the data for everyone.
> >
> > I have a Maxtor One Touch on the way to use as backup storage.
> >
> > What I want to know is what's the best setup option(s) for this scenario?
> > If someone could point me to an article, white paper or other info source?
> >
> > I was a network admin (12 years ago) and am a programmer now -- just to let
> > you know my skill level. I am using Vista Premium on 2 of the systems and XP
> > Pro on the 3rd one.
> >
> > Any help would be grealy appreciated.

>
> So, your Maxtor is connected locally to one of the machines? I assume
> you already have set up your sharing and it all works. If you need file
> sharing setup info, let me know and I'll give you the "boilerplate" for it.
>
> Since you don't have a server on the network, you can't use roaming
> profiles which would enable a person to sit down at any computer, log
> onto their account, and have their profile. I don't think you'll want to
> simply redirect their My Documents folder to the Maxtor because I'm not
> sure how speedy redirection would be with a hard drive connected locally
> via USB as opposed to a NAS device connected to the network via
> ethernet. Someone else may know that answer. Of course, you could always
> try the redirection and see how that works for you.
>
> All that said, if you don't do folder redirection you can create user
> folders on the Maxtor and share them out appropriately. Then create
> shortcuts to those shares on each Desktop. Teach your family how to do
> "Save As" and have them save everything to their folder on the Maxtor
> instead of to their own computer. You can also change the default save
> location for Microsoft Office programs to the right share on the Maxtor.
>
> Obviously the computer that has the Maxtor connected to it always has to
> be turned on for this to work! That's the beauty of NAS devices but not
> all of them work with Vista.
>
> Periodically burn the contents of the Maxtor to a DVD-R for
> belt-and-suspenders backup because naturally the Maxtor drive can fail
> and you'll want that DVD of your backup.
>
> If this isn't exactly what you're doing/want, then please post back.
>
>
> Malke
> --
> Elephant Boy Computers
> www.elephantboycomputers.com
> "Don't Panic!"
> MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
>

Reply With Quote
  #4 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2007
Malke
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
GW wrote:

See comments inline:
>
> A few corrections:
> 1. The Maxtor has not yet arrived. I had consider a 500gb LaCie NAS that
> sells for about $199.00 but then I was advised that backup would be a bit
> more difficult. So, I opted for the Maxtor. Since it hasn't arrived (and
> has still not shipped) I can change my mind.


Personally, I always prefer network-connected devices to
locally-connected devices. However, there is a kicker with using Vista
with a NAS and that is that most NAS devices use some variant of an
embedded Linux for their OS. If you go for a NAS, then you absolutely
need to check with the NAS mftr. about sharing/access issues with Vista.
As for brands, I'm not crazy about LaCie in general although I have a
LaCie external firewire drive connected directly to my MacBook. I like
Maxtor, Western Digital, and Seagate drives much better than LaCie but
again, you really really need to check compatibility with Vista first.

> 2. My inteded scenario was to have my family save all their files to thier
> user area on the main pc (MAINSYS) and then use the Maxtor to backup
> everything from MAINSYS. I would be setting up each user with identical user
> ID's on each computer so that their access to their user area on MAINSYS
> would be automatically handled by Vista in the Workgroup.


That's fine. I really like Second Copy backup program (www.centered.com,
$29.95) for doing this sort of thing. You would create the user folders
on MAINSYS and share them appropriately. Then run Second Copy on MAINSYS
and have it back up all the user folders to the Maxtor. You'd still want
to burn a DVD-R regularly.

Or you could just redirect the other computers' My Documents/Desktop to
shares on MAINSYS. Either way works fine and it just depends on whether
your users are capable of understanding Save As.

> 3. ANY information you can provide on the best practices for setting up
> shares would be greatly appreciated.


It really depends on what kind of security you want and support you
have. If this is just for family members, you're not going to be as
concerned about security as you would for a business. And if you are the
tech support, then you're around to fix any glitches. ;-)

>
> 4. Please elaborate on "Roaming Profiles" and whether or not that is
> possible with the LaCie NAS.


Roaming Profiles are not available without a server running a server
operating system and using Active Directory. So don't worry about this
because it isn't applicable to your situation. Having a server with AD
for 3 computers is Way Overkill unless you have lots of money, time, and
want to learn how to be a sysadmin. ;-)

One of the primary rules in the tech world is to keep things as simple
as possible and only add a layer of complexity when it is really needed.


Malke
--
Elephant Boy Computers
www.elephantboycomputers.com
"Don't Panic!"
MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
Reply With Quote
  #5 (permalink)  
Old 10-15-2007
GW
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
More good information.

In regards to the sharing scenario. I've found that if I create the users
on MAINSYS (it sets up their user directories) and then create them with the
SAME userid on the other computers, Vista automatically gives them access to
their MAINSYS user dicectory at \\MAINSYS\Users\{username}. But, no one else
can access it. It seems to take care of the security both of us are
describing.

The Maxtor (if that's what I end up using) is the OneTouch system that has
backup capability built in. I think, though that it only automates the
backup of the machine to which it's connected. So, if there is any data on
the other network pc's that wasn't saved to MAINSYS, it won't be backed up.

The backup software you mentioned sounds like it might be a better option so
that I could backup user directories on ALL pc's on the network. Even if
they save their major data to MAINSYS, there's favorites, desktop info and
other items that wouldn't be backed up. Thoughts?

You're absolutely correct: I DON'T want to mess with AD. I've got some
experience with that at work and it would be killing a fly with sledge hammer.

Basically, the two major issues I'm trying to solve (to stay focused here)
is that I want 1) the users to be able to access their data from ANY PC and
2) provide a fairly easy way to back everything up.

Any more thoughts or info would be appreciated.


"Malke" wrote:

> GW wrote:
>
> See comments inline:
> >
> > A few corrections:
> > 1. The Maxtor has not yet arrived. I had consider a 500gb LaCie NAS that
> > sells for about $199.00 but then I was advised that backup would be a bit
> > more difficult. So, I opted for the Maxtor. Since it hasn't arrived (and
> > has still not shipped) I can change my mind.

>
> Personally, I always prefer network-connected devices to
> locally-connected devices. However, there is a kicker with using Vista
> with a NAS and that is that most NAS devices use some variant of an
> embedded Linux for their OS. If you go for a NAS, then you absolutely
> need to check with the NAS mftr. about sharing/access issues with Vista.
> As for brands, I'm not crazy about LaCie in general although I have a
> LaCie external firewire drive connected directly to my MacBook. I like
> Maxtor, Western Digital, and Seagate drives much better than LaCie but
> again, you really really need to check compatibility with Vista first.
>
> > 2. My inteded scenario was to have my family save all their files to thier
> > user area on the main pc (MAINSYS) and then use the Maxtor to backup
> > everything from MAINSYS. I would be setting up each user with identical user
> > ID's on each computer so that their access to their user area on MAINSYS
> > would be automatically handled by Vista in the Workgroup.

>
> That's fine. I really like Second Copy backup program (www.centered.com,
> $29.95) for doing this sort of thing. You would create the user folders
> on MAINSYS and share them appropriately. Then run Second Copy on MAINSYS
> and have it back up all the user folders to the Maxtor. You'd still want
> to burn a DVD-R regularly.
>
> Or you could just redirect the other computers' My Documents/Desktop to
> shares on MAINSYS. Either way works fine and it just depends on whether
> your users are capable of understanding Save As.
>
> > 3. ANY information you can provide on the best practices for setting up
> > shares would be greatly appreciated.

>
> It really depends on what kind of security you want and support you
> have. If this is just for family members, you're not going to be as
> concerned about security as you would for a business. And if you are the
> tech support, then you're around to fix any glitches. ;-)
>
> >
> > 4. Please elaborate on "Roaming Profiles" and whether or not that is
> > possible with the LaCie NAS.

>
> Roaming Profiles are not available without a server running a server
> operating system and using Active Directory. So don't worry about this
> because it isn't applicable to your situation. Having a server with AD
> for 3 computers is Way Overkill unless you have lots of money, time, and
> want to learn how to be a sysadmin. ;-)
>
> One of the primary rules in the tech world is to keep things as simple
> as possible and only add a layer of complexity when it is really needed.
>
>
> Malke
> --
> Elephant Boy Computers
> www.elephantboycomputers.com
> "Don't Panic!"
> MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
>

Reply With Quote
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2007
Malke
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
GW wrote:
>
> The Maxtor (if that's what I end up using) is the OneTouch system that has
> backup capability built in. I think, though that it only automates the
> backup of the machine to which it's connected. So, if there is any data on
> the other network pc's that wasn't saved to MAINSYS, it won't be backed up.
>
> The backup software you mentioned sounds like it might be a better option so
> that I could backup user directories on ALL pc's on the network. Even if
> they save their major data to MAINSYS, there's favorites, desktop info and
> other items that wouldn't be backed up. Thoughts?


I don't like the OneTouch backup software and don't use it. I use Second
Copy for my clients instead. Another great program is Acronis True Image
(Home version 11 for you) that you should look into. It does imaging and
incremental backups. I haven't used it for backups (I use the enterprise
version for imaging) so I don't know if it is as flexible as Second Copy.

With Second Copy running on MAINSYS, you could create a folder on the
Maxtor called something clever like "SC-backup". Inside, make backup
folders for each user. Then open SC and create profiles for each user.
Let's use you as an example. If you use the "custom" profile wizard
instead of the "express", choose your source location as
\\your-box*\C:\Documents and Settings\GW\ and only back up My Documents,
Favorites, and maybe the Outlook Express stuff if you use it for email.
Your target folder is the backup folder you made for GW on the Maxtor.

*If your-box is not MAINSYS.

You can create whatever profiles you like. Then you'd make additional
profiles to copy your user data folders on MAINSYS to the Maxtor. You
can do this in one profile or make separate ones for each user - your
choice. SC is extremely flexible and scalable while remaining easy to
use. Read the SC Help file for more details.

> Basically, the two major issues I'm trying to solve (to stay focused here)
> is that I want 1) the users to be able to access their data from ANY PC and
> 2) provide a fairly easy way to back everything up.


I think you've covered that. Have everybody's user account on each
computer. On each person's Desktop, create a shortcut to their folder on
MAINSYS. From MAINSYS, run backup software covering the users' data
folders and anything else on their computers you want not in the data
folders. Remember to burn the data on the Maxtor to DVD-R regularly and
put the DVDs in a different place from your computers.

Cheers and I'm sure you'll be just fine,


Malke
--
Elephant Boy Computers
www.elephantboycomputers.com
"Don't Panic!"
MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
Reply With Quote
  #7 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2007
GW
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
Malke,

Thank you so much for taking the time (and alot of it) to help. I am very
greatful but I dare to ask yet another question. I will also post this as a
new topic.

Do you have any opinions or preferences regarding a NAS for under $200?
I've looked at:
1. Maxtor's Shared Storage II 320gb (STM303204SSAB0G-RK / S01R320)
2. LaCie's Ehternet Disk Mini (301137U)
3. Iomega's 500 GB Home Network External Hard Drive (33455)

LaCie's and Iomega's list support for Vista OS. Maxtor doesn't specify
Windows OS but says "Windows PC". I'm still trying to find out more.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Glen



"Malke" wrote:

> GW wrote:
> >
> > The Maxtor (if that's what I end up using) is the OneTouch system that has
> > backup capability built in. I think, though that it only automates the
> > backup of the machine to which it's connected. So, if there is any data on
> > the other network pc's that wasn't saved to MAINSYS, it won't be backed up.
> >
> > The backup software you mentioned sounds like it might be a better option so
> > that I could backup user directories on ALL pc's on the network. Even if
> > they save their major data to MAINSYS, there's favorites, desktop info and
> > other items that wouldn't be backed up. Thoughts?

>
> I don't like the OneTouch backup software and don't use it. I use Second
> Copy for my clients instead. Another great program is Acronis True Image
> (Home version 11 for you) that you should look into. It does imaging and
> incremental backups. I haven't used it for backups (I use the enterprise
> version for imaging) so I don't know if it is as flexible as Second Copy.
>
> With Second Copy running on MAINSYS, you could create a folder on the
> Maxtor called something clever like "SC-backup". Inside, make backup
> folders for each user. Then open SC and create profiles for each user.
> Let's use you as an example. If you use the "custom" profile wizard
> instead of the "express", choose your source location as
> \\your-box*\C:\Documents and Settings\GW\ and only back up My Documents,
> Favorites, and maybe the Outlook Express stuff if you use it for email.
> Your target folder is the backup folder you made for GW on the Maxtor.
>
> *If your-box is not MAINSYS.
>
> You can create whatever profiles you like. Then you'd make additional
> profiles to copy your user data folders on MAINSYS to the Maxtor. You
> can do this in one profile or make separate ones for each user - your
> choice. SC is extremely flexible and scalable while remaining easy to
> use. Read the SC Help file for more details.
>
> > Basically, the two major issues I'm trying to solve (to stay focused here)
> > is that I want 1) the users to be able to access their data from ANY PC and
> > 2) provide a fairly easy way to back everything up.

>
> I think you've covered that. Have everybody's user account on each
> computer. On each person's Desktop, create a shortcut to their folder on
> MAINSYS. From MAINSYS, run backup software covering the users' data
> folders and anything else on their computers you want not in the data
> folders. Remember to burn the data on the Maxtor to DVD-R regularly and
> put the DVDs in a different place from your computers.
>
> Cheers and I'm sure you'll be just fine,
>
>
> Malke
> --
> Elephant Boy Computers
> www.elephantboycomputers.com
> "Don't Panic!"
> MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
>

Reply With Quote
  #8 (permalink)  
Old 10-16-2007
Malke
 

Posts: n/a
Re: File storage in multiple-computer household
GW wrote:
> Malke,
>
> Thank you so much for taking the time (and alot of it) to help. I am very
> greatful but I dare to ask yet another question. I will also post this as a
> new topic.
>
> Do you have any opinions or preferences regarding a NAS for under $200?
> I've looked at:
> 1. Maxtor's Shared Storage II 320gb (STM303204SSAB0G-RK / S01R320)
> 2. LaCie's Ehternet Disk Mini (301137U)
> 3. Iomega's 500 GB Home Network External Hard Drive (33455)
>
> LaCie's and Iomega's list support for Vista OS. Maxtor doesn't specify
> Windows OS but says "Windows PC". I'm still trying to find out more.


I've bought Maxtor NAS's for clients but they have XP-only networks. If
the NAS mftr.'s website doesn't say anything specific about Vista, I'd
avoid it. I'm sorry but I don't have any other recommendations for you.
I haven't put a NAS in anywhere there is a Vista machine on a network
yet since I don't recommend Vista for my small business clients at this
time.

Check out mainstream mftrs. such as Seagate, Maxtor, Western Digital,
and Buffalo. Google using something like "Maxtor [model name/number]
problems with Vista?" or the like.

Good luck,


Malke
--
Elephant Boy Computers
www.elephantboycomputers.com
"Don't Panic!"
MS-MVP Windows - Shell/User
Reply With Quote
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