Make copy of NAS to USB external

I have a WD Mycloud mirror (4TB of data) connected to my mac.

I simply want to make a copy of it.

  1. Do i just drag using finder - if so do I drag the share itself or the files in it
  2. Do I use the usb backup option within the WD app - if so does it store the shares or the individual files?

Or are there any options I have not thought of?


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I generally like “Drag and drop”. I do it in several chunks, in case something goes wrong. At the end, I run a file comparison program to make sure everything copied correctly.

I have used the USB backup app. It works fine; although the “file structure” it puts on the external drive is a bit dopey. It does have the advantage (I believe) is that the USB backup program actually uses the NAS CPU for the copy operation. . . which makes it faster than doing it from the MAC.

PS: Don’t do major drag&drop from a MAC using WiFi. You want it wired to the network.

Thanks, good points

I am direct connect no worries there. However, I have found when copying large amounts of files finder always chokes. I have 4TB to copy, and prefer not to sit there and baby sit it.

IF i use the WD USB backup, what did you mean bit dopey? I have two large shares each with ALOT of files. If i use WD USB to the external drive, can I do something to get them as individual files?

By dopey - - the USB Backup will have all the folders of the share in a weird subdirectory structure. Easy enough to sort out afterwords, however.

Thanks @NAS_user As long as the underlying folders and files are in tact, then I should be ok. Moving the files via finder would be PAINFUL as I would have to babysit it and so a ton of small chunks. The NAS and external HD are both USB 3.0 which should make it go quicker.

Part of my request is simply for backup purposes (my NAS was running REALLY bad which got me to thinking it was about to die - however since posting a reboot helped alot).

The other part of why I want this is I am thinking of going with a new NAS provider (Synology). The WD mycloud mirror I have is very old and no longer supported. I have heard great things about sinology.

Btw @NAS_user Since this is a brand new external, do I need to format it in Mac OS first (journal)

I don’t know enough about Mac world to know if you need to format it. If you only have it hooked up to the NAS - - → then probably not (The NAS runs a version of Linux). If you want to hook the drive up to the MAC directly - - → then probably yes.

I have a synology unit. The DSM software DOES provide drag&drop file/folder transfer capability within the NAS UI. I have in fact copied data from the WD NAS units to the Synology unit using the synology unit as the brain.

You CAN do this with WD NAS; but it requires that you use something like WINSCP through an SSH connection. You also need to use the Nohup commands to allow the process to run on the WD NAS after you close the terminal window on your PC (or - -you leave the window open). (I have only done this for a few files in a testing environment)

Thanks, good stuff.

IF have a screenshot of the dopey format and cool to share (pvt) feel free. Formatting the drive isnt a big deal. I will be using it on the mac so mights well format for it.

Which Synology do you have? How do you like it? Have you ever had WD and their portal - if so curious how they compare. I’m hearing WD is good but just hasn’t changed much in years whereas Synology is more current

OK - - - I am going to be blunt.

I have 2 x WX2 Ultra; 1 x Gen 1 MyCloud, 1 x Synology DS220

The WD units have not been refreshed in YEARS. The tech is late 2010’s
The MyCloud single disk units were replaced by stuff in the home line.
I believe the only new products WD produce are in the “Home” line.

The home line has highly lobotomized software such that one really has to question if they qualify as NAS units. For one thing; they require external authentication from WD servers to permit access (or some such) - - > or at least they did a while back. Keeping NAS units off the internet is sort of the point, correct? As such - – -avoid the “Home” line of products.

The current WD “proper” NAS drives such as the EX2 have not changed in several years. There was an update to the OS from OS3 to OS5 a few years ago. While the OS revamp fixed several issues, it was quite clear that

  • WD was looking for a way to monetize NAS units with subscription services (EdgeRover → Which failed to get out of limited release phase)
  • WD was making decisions about NAS functionality to facilitate cloud services, to the detriment of the normal NAS functionality (An aggressive but tremendously inefficient indexing process that would just about knock the unit offline for a week periodically)
  • WD was not interested in refining the initial release of the OS/5 software. Some obvious core functionality was missing from the web apps (i.e. copy); and they steadfastly refused to consider changes to the basic OS/5 functional spec (This is good for engineering budget control; terrible for users)
  • With OS/5; the units appeared to have LOTS of web traffic for a local network device. Combined with the way the indexing process was developed; I at least became distrustful of exactly what the OS systems were doing with my data.

Synology, on the other hand, has been constantly updating both their hardware and software.
This is reflected in the fact that the hardware tends to be more feature rich and more capable.

This also translates to a more expensive product.

Let’s be honest: As a file server, the WD EX2 ultra has perfectly fine hardware. It’s only when you start using the devices as computers (i.e. running media server software like PLEX) that more powerful hardware is needed.

As a file server, the synology is superior because of the GUI interface, which allows for Drag and drop functionality controlled by the NAS. That change in BASIC functionality is worth the price of admission.

For drag and drop file handling from a PC. . .the units are functionally the same.

As for WebSecurity and internet access. . . . . I can’t comment. I went full tin-foil hat and put all my NAS units behind a dedicated router. . .that lacks a WAN connection. To access the NAS units; I actually switch networks on my PC’s. Further, I rolled back the OS/5 units back to OS/3.

These simple security measures also make the units unusable for Remote access and as Media servers.

I realized that for “music”; my PCs are just fine as media servers; and a 512 gb flash drive is more than adequate for storage AND portability. For video - - > Honestly; these days I just stream stuff. If I have a major trip - → I transfer stuff to my tablets (512gb SD cards hold a large number of movies. . .and I am not travelling to watch movies)

WOW… great write up

Some of that I recently found out via research but not the depth you provided.

For me, I would be ok with WD. Its only use is to feed my Apple TV - music, movies, tv shows. As I’m on a mac, and with apple tv and this setup - works perfect.

But I don;t like being behind technology. I find WD to be “old”. I have been reading so much and watching so many youtube videos (and synlogy vides). So yes WD might be ok for me, but what about down the road - WD leaves me with a narrow road while Synergy would give me a freeway.

I’m a big fan of you get what you pay for. So yes Synergy may be more but…

I currently have two 4TB’s which at raid 1 gives me 4 TB. I’m not far from exceeding that. So my thoughts are Synergy diskless frame with 2 6 TB drives at raid one. I can’t see exceeding that for years. By then I either up the drives or go with something else

So thank you for your detailed and honest response’

Oh, I rarely, if at all, access NAS remotely from say my tablet or remote computer. WD made that pretty painful and really never got it to work. Im sure from what you wrote Synology would be better.

Finally as my WD is off support there is NO iPad or Iphone let alone desktop portal to access content. The only portal I get is suer basic at best - for settings, shares, users etc