For those who had the same questions about this that I do, having gone thru this process just today, I’ll answer my own post and hopefully that will spare others who keep searching and get no answers, neither from experienced members on this forum, nor from WD Staff who probably know the answers.
Firstly, removing your drives to swap with new or anything along the lines of recreating the Volume on the EX2 WILL wipe out the apps you have installed !! proceed with caution on that, if you have apps that you may be relying on in order to restore or recover stuff you put on an external drive before doing your swap. That includes WD’s own USB Backup app. I am somewhat surprised that happened, thinking apps and app data would be stored somewhere on the board and not the drives which can be swapped by a user. Disappointed about that, but i’m not at a complete loss – and I know some disgruntled forum trollers on here would read along and drumroll hoping to hear I lost all my data so they can laugh – i have 3 duplicates of my data, so I feel comforted about that.
Since you WILL lose the USB Backup app entirely, when you swap new drives into your ‘lovely’ EX2 enclosure … you will need first need to recreate all the share structure you had before. I recommend you create all your shares from the dashboard, set your permissions, options etc. at this point in time. It is the fastest and easiest way to do it. Do not try to copy a backed up share onto the NAS it will just be a folder and not a proper share.
Brush up on using terminal/putty, using ssh (enable it in the dashboard first), and basic linux copy commands such as cp or rsync. I chose to put back all my files using cp, from USB → EX2. To do this, you first ssh into your NAS, then issue a few
cd.. commands until you’re at the root folder and can see the mnt directory. if you
ls that directory and recursively look in HD and USB you will be able to locate the share folders (in HD) as well as the contents on the USB you want to put back on your NAS.
Note the paths of your source (USB) and destination (NAS), write them down if you want or just list them in a terminal window so you can reference. begin to copy your stuff using the command of your choice back to the NAS. I chose to use
cp with the -rvT options. I chose these because I wanted to copy only the contents (sub-directories and files, recursively) and without copying the source folder to the destination (that is what the T option is for). So I did this for all my shares, from the smallest size share, to the largest, using individual cp commands for each share.
Just a word of caution, it would be wise to keep the computer you’re using to ssh awake/on while the copy is working, and keep the terminal/putty obviously open do not close or exit out while it is copying.
i switched from a single drive WD red to a dual drive Brand X 7200 RPM RAID 0 configuration. the performance gains when accessing files from file explorer (or finder) are VERY noticeable, and ssh copy operations look they are on adrenaline compared with the outgoing single-drive 5400 RPM arrangement. It will still take some time to copy TB’s over, but i estimated that it took about 1/3 the time to manually restore my NAS content now as opposed to the pretty sad 50+ hrs that it’s taken in the past.
although impressed by the performance boost i got, i was let down somewhat and in the dark completely with no detailed information in the manual about scenarios users would encounter outside of the ‘initial setup and get going’ that you find provided by WD. They tell you absolutely nothing about what happens to your configuration, apps, etc. when you change the Volume type or try to add disks in JBOD and cross your fingers hoping you’ll still have access to what you’ve already configured. obviously changing disk arrangement erases content, but everything a user can setup in the dashboard in my opinion should be intact and shouldn’t be dependent on the drives in it to store settings.
as i suspected, the USB Backup app was useless for a recovery. WD could have done a better job describing how it actually works and point out that YOU CANNOT use the RECOVER button after creating a new volume with new drives – because the freakin’ USB Backup app disappears, along with the Job(s) you created ! so when you swap drives in the NAS, prepare to copy your stuff back to it the manual way such as I described. if you wish to forego using ssh and prefer to do it with file explorer or finder … i very strongly recommend that you directly connect the NAS and backup drive to your computer to copy files as opposed to doing it over a network or wifi – copying over wifi will take a very very long time if you have TB’s of data