Best Practices for backing up laptops and streaming the backed up data

I’m using WD Smartware to back up a few home computers, each of which have some music on them (iTunes, ripped CDs, etc). This is working great so far. I’m using the simple backup mode to store the data on a My Cloud drive. I’d like to stream this data to a Sonos system, and this is where I’m unsure of the best approach. Here’s what I’ve considered, and why I don’t think they are ideal.

  1. Separate “Music” share on MyCloud. This seems to require manual intervention (e.g. copying new files), and this would be a separate copy beyond the one from the machine backup. More work & more storage used.

  2. Stream from backup folders like “WD SmartWare.swstor”. This removes the manual step, but it’s clear that it wasn’t designed for this purpose. Updated/moved/renamed files appear multiple times.

  3. Rip straight to WD, stream from that share. I don’t want the version of the files on the WD device to be the only copy, and I’d like the music to be available on the laptop without a network connection required.

The “This PC\WDMyCloud\Music” view hints that the device supports exactly what I want, but I can’t figure out how this view (or one like it) can be made available to the Sonos. Any ideas?


Why not consolidate all your music collections from the various PCs into one repository on the MyCloud? Then access this music library from each PC?

I have all my music stored on MyCloud, and access it using MediaMonkey as a network drive on two PCs, and via DLNA using various Android devices. I have no media stored on any of these devices.

I back up the MyCloud to a USB HDD. I don’t use any of the WD backup or sync apps…

This might help you with the DLNA side of things:

Thanks for the idea. It sounds like that could work, but it requires the additional HDD for backup and doesn’t leave a copy on the laptop for off-line access.

but it requires the additional HDD for backup and doesn’t leave a copy on the laptop for off-line access.

I did wonder whether you would want offline access…

So, here’s another suggestion.

Use a decent file backup tool* to backup files from your various PCs to a common media repository on the MyCloud. Make this a one way backup (‘mirror’) from PCs to MyCloud only, not a bidirectional sync.

Point the Twonky media server at your combined music repository on the MyCloud, so you can stream the combined music library to Sonos or other streaming media player.

If you wanted to, you could retain personal ‘libraries’ within the common repository.


Fred’s PC:
[disk]\Media\Music backup to [MyCloud]\Media\Music\Fred
Bob’s PC:
[disk]\Media\Music backup to [MyCloud]\Media\Music\Bob
Jill’s PC:
[disk]\Media\Music backup to [MyCloud]\Media\Music\Jill

Provided you maintain a consistent folder structure under each library (e.g. AlbumArtist\Album\Track), Twonky will find the albums (assuming they have good metadata tags), and will serve them up transparently, when viewing by Album, Artist, . When viewed ‘By Folder’, they will appear under their personal library names.

* You will need a good backup/sync tool with the ability to specify a partial or fragmented tree structure. I use FreeFileSync to do a similar task, creating a number of rules to backup (mirror) or sync (sync…) various bits of my disk folder structure to the MyCloud and other backup hard drives.

I think that’s more the direction I had in mind… If I use another tool to backup the media files, I’ll probably want to exclude them from the WD backup so I’m not taking up twice the space. I haven’t poked around the software too much but I assume it can handle that.

If you switched to a ‘decent backup tool’, you wouldn’t need to use the WD tool…

But, if that’s what you’re using, I recall that it creates a backup directory for each device you’re backing up. If you set it to back up the media folders on each PC, you can simply point Twonky to the relevant folders in the backup locations. Then you won’t have any unnecessary duplicates, and your will be able to serve media as a combined library.

See “Q. Where should I put my media so Twonky finds it?” in:

You would simply have a number of file locations specified as containing ‘Music’:

/FredBackup/<media path>/Music Music
/BobBackup/<media path>/Music Music
/JillBackup/<media path>/Music Music

It would be a good idea to read the rest of the FAQ to find out how to stop MyCloud breaking your settings every time it reboots…

This is what I’m doing now, but see item #2 in my original post.

I’d missed or forgotten that…

Can’t SmartWare be persuaded to do a simple mirror backup for the media? i.e. turn off versioning and get it to simply replicate the exact file structure of the master (deleting/renaming/moving as required)?

If not, we’re back to the suggestion of a decent, versatile backup tool that can be made to work in the way you want.

Now that I have most of my metadata sorted, I don’t modify my media files much, except to add new ones. And I tend to do that as a job lot, and do a manual backup as necessary.

For my day-to-day files, I have a FreeFileSync script that does sync/mirror (as appropriate for my needs) on folders I want to backup, then shuts the machine down. So I use it as a shutdown script when I’ve finished working on the PC. FFS also puts files in ‘normally named’ folders of my choice, rather than some bespoke file structure.

Yes versioning can be set in Smartware. The range is apparently from 1 to 25. If I remember right the default is 5. See page 67 in the Smartware User Manual.

One can enable Media Serving through the Dashboard on the Smartware folder making all the contents accessable to the Twonky media server, or as was previously pointed out one can manually specify the folders to use (or skip) via the Twonky administration page.

Backup versions seems to be a global setting, though; can’t see immediately how you can customise behaviour on a per-folder basis.

Yes its only a global setting last time I used the software. Obviously like anything else with the WD software for the My Cloud, want more capability or options, go third party.

Thanks all for the ideas.