Shares vs. SmartWare backup - difference?

New owner of My Cloud 3TB.  All of you here are way above my pay grade in networking and file storage knowledge.  Hope the purchase and this board will help me improve that.

Can anyone explain to me the differences and nuances between the share files and the back-up files?

Understanding this will go a long way toward helping me decide what to put where and how often.

‘Shares’ are WD parlance for ‘Folders’ or ‘Directories’. There are two types; let’s call them ‘User Shares’ and ‘System Shares’. As far as I know, there’s no ‘official terminology’ for this distinction; I’ve just made it up…

‘User Shares’ are intended to be used to store normal user data, as you would with any other disk drive. They include the Public Share, the Share named after each user, and any other Shares that the Admin (you) creates.

As standard, there are two ‘System Shares’: ‘SmartWare’ and ‘TimeMachineBackup’, which are intended to be used with the WD SmartWare backup utility and Apple’s TimeMachine backup utility. I use neither, so I have deleted both these Shares.

SmartWare, like many other backup utilities, may use its own internal format, and not simply mirror files. It is intended to allow you to back up devices to your MyCloud, and restore them if necessary, in both cases, using the SmartWare tool. I have not used TimeMachine, but I suspect that it too uses its own internal format, and is not intended to be a human-readable file structure.

Thus, users should stick to using their personal User Shares, and any other Personal Shares the Admin (you) creates and gives them access permission.

Users should not fiddle with the contents of the System Shares; they are for use by the backup utilites only.

There is a further tool, SafePoint, that is built in to the MyCloud to back up the entire contents your MyCloud to a USB drive connected to it, or to another network drive.

See Chapters 4, 8 & 11 of the User Manual.

Thanks so much, this does help.  

After populating both and seeing the results, it does appear as a redundant waste of space.

Here is what I am trying to accomplish:

I am a horrible pack-rat with my computer and it has become an out-of-control mess.  Cleaning up the mess is going to take weeks or months.  I need to be able to do it in steps, over time.  In addition to my laptop, I have a 750 GB WD My Book that is full (lots of messed up redundancies there to sort out, also).

I’m trying to find a way to back up the messy folders & My Book as they exist now (in one place), then do the cleanup on my laptop in increments.  It’s too easy to lose, misplace or accidentally delete things I don’t want deleted when doing that. So I want to retain those original folders/files (probably permanently).  I have plenty of space to do that.

I’m trying to figure out if I need to first create copies of the original folders and rename them for permanent storage.  If the SmartWare backup is completely segregated from the Shares, and I don’t set it up for automatic back-up, it seems I could get away without having to make mirror image copies before I start cleaning out on laptop.

I would then just regularly update the Shares folders as I work through the cleanup process.

I’m just worried about accidentally over-writing the original files.

Hope my explanation is making sense.  

So, if I use SmartWare initially to preserve the original “mess”, is it segregated from the Shares folders?  Does it sound to you as my thought process is going in the right direction?

By the way, I don’t care about being able to “restore from backup.”  When my computers get to the point of total crash, I’ll either do a fresh install or buy a new one.  As long as I have my data backed up somewhere, that’s all I care about.

My suggestion:

Create your own share, called ‘Backup’. Copy all your files from your laptop to this share, and then leave it alone; you could even reduce your permissions to read-only…

Sort out the files on your laptop. If you delete something you didn’t want to, you’ve got the backup.

Create another share, called ‘MyBook’. Copy all the files from your MyBook to this share. Then put the MyBook HDD somewhere safe; it’s now the backup. Sort out the mess using the MyBook Share.

These would 1:1 copies of your original, humanly-navigable file systems, rather than some machine-generated, compressed file system that might be impossible to extract a single file from.

When you’re happy with your tidying, you can delete the messy backups, and create new ones.

The risk of this approach is that you could lose your tidying efforts if your laptop or MyCloud dies (remember; any hard drive can die at any time, so always have at least one backup copy for irreplaceable data).

I’m not sure if SmartWare is a syncing tool (which might track your laptop tidying), or an accumulating tool, which, if you keep moving stuff around, would start to gobble space.

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Great ideas.  I’m glad you made sense out of my convoluted explanation.

Here’s the interesting part and info to tuck away for future reference:  the SmartWare backups seem to be complete user editable files.  I can even open them on my iPad and iPhone.  I was surprised by that because I expected computer mumbo jumbo, too.

Since SmartWare has an option for continuous backup, that sounds like it would accomplish the same function as a synchronized folder if I just used those files for every day work??

Anyway, I’m going to create a few dummy folders and mess around with different ways of doing things to see if I can get this system to meet all my needs.  But I am going to follow your advice and just create a separate share for permanent backup and put everything in there before I mess around with the rest.

I’ll paste a pic here of my drive heirarchy so you can see what the backup files look like.  Thanks for all your help.  I’m sure I’ll see you here lots in the near future.

 the SmartWare backups seem to be complete user editable files.

Including the file structure? Well, that is good; I don’t like impenetrable backups. As I said, I don’t use SmartWare, and was relying on memory of other comments I’ve seen.

 Since SmartWare has an option for continuous backup, that sounds like it would accomplish the same function as a synchronized folder if I just used those files for every day work

Having a play with a small file area, to see how it behaves, is a good idea: you’re on the way to being the forum’s SmartWare expert… :wink:

Thought about it some more.  Sounded good for a while, but realized that using back-up file as working sync file ends up with no back-up.  Doh.  Unless it would let me back up the back up to my laptop HD?  Hmmmmm . . .

Also prevents me being able to take my laptop somewhere without internet and work offline.

Hi, KathieO. It looks as though you might be able to help me. I got MyCloud a former computer ago. :wink:

I was advised by WD to use Smartware because it was a dynamic backup. I had the impression that a file I deleted from my computer would be deleted from smartware. Apparently not so because I now have all the former edits. Oh, well.

My biggest concern now is that new edits do not appear in my smartware backup at all! It started when I upgraded to Windows 10.