I’ve finally gotten back to this. This post attempts to document what I found – and may surpass anyone’s interest.
As review, I had 3 issues about the WD NAS disk:
- It was abysmally slow.
- It would not accept certain “properties” (of unknown sort) of files that I wanted to copy to it.
- It reported that WAY MORE space is used for my backed-up files than is used for those files on my primary NTFS disk.
Re speed, that turned out to be my network setup. After installing a gigabit router, and after connecting my computer via direct-wired Ethernet rather than via Wi-Fi, speed is no longer an issue. The different backup approaches that I tested each had different strengths – some were better at large files and some were better at small files. But overall, for the mix that I commonly back-up (4339 items, and 1.31 GB), speed was pretty close to the same for all of them. For reference, to establish an upper limit on what could be expected, I did the backup to a Seagate USB 3.0 drive, formatted as NTFS, directly connected to my computer – ie, no network involvement. It took 1:28 (ie, 1 minute and 28 seconds), and gave no “properties” error popup. Then I got these results doing the backup across the network:
- To the WD NAS drive: 3:49, with “properties” error.
- To the Seagate drive, but connected to the router’s USB 3.0 port: 3:55, with “properties” error.
- To the Seagate drive, but connected to a second Ethernet-wired computer on the network: 3:45, with no “properties” error.
So when I tell you that before the network speed improvements, the backup would take more than an hour, you will understand how happy I am with under 4 minutes.
Re the file “properties” problem, I think I will just live with it. Interestingly, the problem is NOT just with the WD NAS drive. As someone in previous posts predicted, the problem seems to be independent of the drive. As indicated above, when using the Seagate drive connected to the router, the properties problem still occurred, even though that drive is NTFS. In any case, the problem seems not to be critical for my backups, and the speed improvement actually helps the properties problem, indirectly. That’s because the previous slow speed caused such a long delay before the properties error popped up (more than 30 minutes), but you must wait for the popup before you can tell it to continue with the copy. Now, with the speed improvement, it only takes 2:40 to get the error popup, which is OK.
Re the disk space problem (which gave rise to the Subject I used for this thread), it seems severe. For my 1.31 GB case above, it takes up 1.33 GB on an NTFS disk, but takes up 4.89 GB on the WD NAS drive! However, I don’t know if those numbers can be trusted, because of this bizarre (to me) observation: in the case of the NTFS Seagate drive connected to the router’s USB port, even pre-existing files were reported as using much more space than they really used on the NTFS drive!!! So the NAS interface does not really report the actual space used on the disk! The only way to get around this problem is apparently to use an NTFS disk connected to another computer on the network. But I think I will just live with this problem also.
Which does lead to another question: how can I determine how much space is used (even though it might be a lie) on the WD NAS disk? Right-clicking on the drive doesn’t even produce a “Properties” choice (the normal way to see disk usage), and choosing “Properties” for the root-level folders reports 0 bytes for each folder.