MBL Waste of time?

Been using external Hdds to back up my files. Wanted to make it even easier by having my files back up automatically via the network.

However, after tinkering with the MBL 3tb for 4 hours it seems like 100% complete waste of my time.

First, it’s nearly impossible to delete a file from the MBL once its been “backed up”. Must be hacked up in some way.

Secondly, I have a number of laptops that I use for both work and personal usage. Meaning, I have multiple users on each laptop containing different files that I want backed up seperately and easily accessed.

When trying to back up, it will just list the generic name for certain files i.e. pictures, music. documents, ect…without letting me choose the sub folders in them that I may or may not want backed up.

Worse, when using the WD Smartware, it doen’t even give me the option to send it to the public folder or the private folder. Just says backup and I have no idea where the heck it’s saving it.

Goodness, maybe I need a traditional NAS instead.

No, you’re confusing the NAS with BACKUP SOFTWARE.   They’re totally unrelated.

While the MBL ships with SmartWare, I personally have no use for that software.   I use Norton Ghost.

So, just keep in mind that the HARDWARE has nothing to do with the SOFTWARE, and don’t let the Software’s shortcomings taint your view of the hardware.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply.

The software is indeed useless to me since I cannot delete files.

Also, I have a number of user names per Laptop, when I click back up pictures, music, documents…it doesn’t let me choose specific files.

Worse, I have no idea where it saves it on the MBL. Doesn’t let me choose if I want it in a share or a specific account linking to some user.

Basically, it will back up most of my files but I won’t know where or how to get to them later. Will only be able to “retrieve” all of a category.

Do you have any advice on how to use this MBL without the WD Smartware?

I can find it by it’s IP address but it doesn’t allow you to manage files. It only allows you to manage settings (that are mostly important for WD Smartware).

Any help would be great.

Thanks very much.

Yes. I believe you answer lies with this very useful utility . . .


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The MBL is NOT a Waste of Time - It’s a pretty powerful and useful little device - and you can’t beat the $200 price for a 3TB home NAS.  However, you do need to spend a little time experimenting with and understanding what its capabilities are and how to properly use them.

The MBL is actually a linux server - on which there are multiple services running in the background to allow the NAS to make the various features available to users on the network - disk space shares, streaming media server, WD Photo Server, FTP Server, iTunes Server.  The disk space on the drive is formatted in a proprietary format - that can be used by different operating systems - Windows, Mac OS X, etc.

The Dashboard  (http://MyBookLive/UI) - is the configuration tool that you use to set up the operational paramaters of the drive.  You use the dashboard to create user shares and permissions - and to enable/disable other features of the drive.

The drive comes preconfigured with 3 Shares:  Public, TimeMachine and SmartWare.

The TimeMachine and SmartWare shares are special shares used by Apple TimeMachine and the WD Smartware backup program.  You can’t see or map to either of these two shares from a Windows desktop.

When you install WD Smartmare (which only works on a Windows Platform).  It installs a backup process that attempts to backup all user created files that it can find on the local PC.  The SmartWare backup stores those backups in the MBL’s SmartWare share - which is only accessible to the SmartWare and the user interface provided by SmartWare.

The SmartWare backup was not intended to be manually manipulated by the user - it is intended as a foolproof backup for user files - for users that don’t want to deal with the details of managing a backup.  SmartWare allows you to set the number of backed up copies it will keep for each file and it by default wants to backup by category and show the backup statistics in that manner.

The WD SmartWare backup application DOES NOT create a system image backup.  You cannot restore your complete system from the SmartWare backup - you can only restore user files.  If you lose your internal hard drive - you would still need to reinstall Windows and all of your software before recovering your user files from the SmartWare backup.

The Complete PC Backup functionality provided in Windows 7 - Professional and Ultimate - can backup your entire system to a private network share that you create.  The Complete PC Backup created by Windows 7 - can be used to restore your entire system to an empty drive.  For Windows Vista - the Complete PC Backup functionality is provided in the Business, Professional and Ultimate versions - BUT - it does not support backup to a network drive - only to a locally attached USB or Firewire drive.

For the backup you are describing - it sounds like smartware may be too simplistic for your needs - and you should probably consider a different backup program - such as Norton Ghost or the FileSync that was mentioned in this thread.

The /Public share is really intended for Media files (music, photos, videos, etc) that you want the video streaming services to be able to see and render to media player devices.  You should not be storing your non-media files in the Public share - for those files you will want to create a private share that will not be “processed” by the background tasks that will try to prepare your files for media streaming.

There is an extensive user guide provided on the install CD (and also in the /Public/Software share on the MBL).

The rest of your interaction with your files on the MBL is going to be achieved by using the Windows Map Network Drive option to map a Windows Drive Letter such as X:  to a share on your MBL - from there - you would use Windows Explorer to copy, move and delete files from folders within your mapped drive.

Keep in mind that a mapped network drive works differently than a directly attached external hard drive (USB/Firewire) in that when you move folders into other folders or vice-versa on the network share - the PC must completly copy the files in those folders (through the PC) into the new folder - which can be time consuming - unlike on a USB/Firewire external drive where moving a folder simply moves the folders pointer.

I hope you find this helpful as a nutshell overview of MBL.

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Actually, the SmartWare network share is accessible (a public share) and is a normal SMB network share managed my the Samba service. It’s just that Samba is configured not to reveal it. I guess accessing anything in the SmartWare share will be inaccessible as it’ll be a proprietary format backup files used. I personally don’t use SmartWare by choice as I need my backed up files accessible via FTP and to other machines on my network.

I want to thank you all for the great help.

It seems like these MBL are best for backing up a single machine and a single user’s media files for sharing with other media devices.

While I do indeed want to back up my media files, I also need to back up my work documents/ files. I also like to have all of them secured and not shared.

Lastly, to make things even more complicated, I have multiple machines with multiple users (work/ personal) and it just makes it that much harder for me to figure out a way to have this MBL manage all these machines/ users and having the ability to easily retrieve specific files should I need them.

Honestly, I was hoping that I could program certain files/ folders (such as one named “invoices” on one of my laptops) and just have it back it up automatically as I add to it.

Same with my “music folder” on the same machine but on a different user name.

While I am sure that the MBL may back up these files, it will most likely back up other files as well and accessing these files in the none shared locations seems difficult and time consuming.

Truth be told, I read through the 147 +/- page manual and still can seem to get it to do what I need.

The advice here is amazing and it seems like many of you are using the MBL, but with different software. Some may use the WD smartware, but I guess that they are sharing the media files so it works for them.

I was hoping not to have to only use external drives for back up, but as was stated above, it’s as simple as dragging files into it or right clicking and deleting ones that you don’t want.

Also, most Windows and or Mac machine machines will easily recognize the saved files.

Thanks sbeattie2, you’ve set me on the right path I think.

How do I securely wipe the backup data that I made with WDsmartware?

Try the program SyncToy. SyncToy is a free program from Microsoft that will let you backup (or sync) only the folder or files you choose. It is easy to use and you can setup several different sync scenarios and have all of them synced at once.

The most recent release of SmartWare includes the ability to select folders and files for backup instead of file types.

Microsoft’s SyncToy will get the Samba service in the MBL to panic and crash.  I’ve tried this.  Reported the problem to W.D. and got advised not to use Microsoft’s SyncToy.

Zenwood wrote:

Try the program SyncToy. SyncToy is a free program from Microsoft that will let you backup (or sync) only the folder or files you choose. It is easy to use and you can setup several different sync scenarios and have all of them synced at once.