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Not sure where to start - Copying files to system from Windows/Mac/Linux over network while traveling

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I haven't tried this before and have no idea what I need, so I'll just explain my use case and resources.

 

Use case

 

Family members have Mac and Windows laptops, and I have Ubuntu on my laptop.

Family members don't trust online services and want to "back up" (copy folders) content from their devices to a networked location while traveling.

The most important need they have is for the backup location to keep their "date created" and "date modified" information about their files when copied back and forth.

They've tried doing this with external drives but for some reason it hasn't worked (my guess is filesystem differences, e.g. FAT instead of HFS).

Backups only need to be done rarely, so there isn't a need for an always-on NAS.

 

 

Resources

 

I am putting together a system with an i5-3000 series processor, 8GB of DDR3 ram, a 4TB WD Red HDD, and a 2TB WD Blue HDD. It has all basic peripherals and a wifi card.

The computer would reside in a family home and be turned on whenever someone wants to copy files.

I'm competent enough to be able to figure out how to set up a server OS, mapped network drives, or whatever software might be needed.

 

 

My thought was to partition the 4TB HDD into 1.5TB NTFS, 1.5TB HFS, and 1TB Ext4 so that every file system has a compatible partition to copy to/from. The 2TB HDD would be split 1TB NTFS and 1TB HFS to store essentials in case the 4TB drive fails.

I'm just not sure what OS or software I need to use in order for the family members to be able to access and write/read files over the network, especially while they're traveling.

 

Thoughts?

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Won't a drive be accessible to all systems with ol'FAT32 ?

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11 minutes ago, justanoobhere said:

 

My thought was to partition the 4TB HDD into 1.5TB NTFS, 1.5TB HFS, and 1TB Ext4 so that every file system has a compatible partition to copy to/from. The 2TB HDD would be split 1TB NTFS and 1TB HFS to store essentials in case the 4TB drive fails.

I'm just not sure what OS or software I need to use in order for the family members to be able to access and write/read files over the network, especially while they're traveling.

The filesystem for the nas won't matter, so Id make it all ext4 or  native os for the server.

 

Software wise, Id go with nextcloud here. Pretty easy to use, nice web gui and good sync client for windows/mac/linux

 

14 minutes ago, justanoobhere said:

he most important need they have is for the backup location to keep their "date created" and "date modified" information about their files when copied back and forth.

They've tried doing this with external drives but for some reason it hasn't worked (my guess is filesystem differences, e.g. FAT instead of HFS).

This is likely due to the waay the files are being copied, if you use somethinglike robocopy or rsync you have a option to keep the dates on the files. I think linux + windows + osx can all use the date/time on fat32 and exfat

 

 

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I hope you've explained to them that this is going to be more failure prone and isn't really a sound backup strategy? Don't trust a multi-million dollar cloud backup service with 99.9% uptime but trust a computer built with decade old hardware in Uncle Ron's broom closet?

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9 hours ago, justanoobhere said:

I haven't tried this before and have no idea what I need, so I'll just explain my use case and resources.

 

Use case

 

Family members have Mac and Windows laptops, and I have Ubuntu on my laptop.

Family members don't trust online services and want to "back up" (copy folders) content from their devices to a networked location while traveling.

The most important need they have is for the backup location to keep their "date created" and "date modified" information about their files when copied back and forth.

They've tried doing this with external drives but for some reason it hasn't worked (my guess is filesystem differences, e.g. FAT instead of HFS).

Backups only need to be done rarely, so there isn't a need for an always-on NAS.

 

 

Resources

 

I am putting together a system with an i5-3000 series processor, 8GB of DDR3 ram, a 4TB WD Red HDD, and a 2TB WD Blue HDD. It has all basic peripherals and a wifi card.

The computer would reside in a family home and be turned on whenever someone wants to copy files.

I'm competent enough to be able to figure out how to set up a server OS, mapped network drives, or whatever software might be needed.

 

 

My thought was to partition the 4TB HDD into 1.5TB NTFS, 1.5TB HFS, and 1TB Ext4 so that every file system has a compatible partition to copy to/from. The 2TB HDD would be split 1TB NTFS and 1TB HFS to store essentials in case the 4TB drive fails.

I'm just not sure what OS or software I need to use in order for the family members to be able to access and write/read files over the network, especially while they're traveling.

 

Thoughts?

Why not just set it up as a nas with a VPN server and let them connect to it that way. Could run unRAID or truenas and handle that well.

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9 hours ago, justanoobhere said:

I haven't tried this before and have no idea what I need, so I'll just explain my use case and resources.

 

Use case

 

Family members have Mac and Windows laptops, and I have Ubuntu on my laptop.

Family members don't trust online services and want to "back up" (copy folders) content from their devices to a networked location while traveling.

The most important need they have is for the backup location to keep their "date created" and "date modified" information about their files when copied back and forth.

They've tried doing this with external drives but for some reason it hasn't worked (my guess is filesystem differences, e.g. FAT instead of HFS).

Backups only need to be done rarely, so there isn't a need for an always-on NAS.

 

 

Resources

 

I am putting together a system with an i5-3000 series processor, 8GB of DDR3 ram, a 4TB WD Red HDD, and a 2TB WD Blue HDD. It has all basic peripherals and a wifi card.

The computer would reside in a family home and be turned on whenever someone wants to copy files.

I'm competent enough to be able to figure out how to set up a server OS, mapped network drives, or whatever software might be needed.

 

 

My thought was to partition the 4TB HDD into 1.5TB NTFS, 1.5TB HFS, and 1TB Ext4 so that every file system has a compatible partition to copy to/from. The 2TB HDD would be split 1TB NTFS and 1TB HFS to store essentials in case the 4TB drive fails.

I'm just not sure what OS or software I need to use in order for the family members to be able to access and write/read files over the network, especially while they're traveling.

 

Thoughts?

Backblaze for like 6 bucks a month and you can backup your entire machine - its unlimited backup on Windows and Mac (they don't have a linux client for their standard home use because.... they know what would happen if they did. Unlimited backup on a linux box, lol.) You can set your own encryption key, so there is no reason to worry about the security. If they don't trust encryption with a key they personally hold, they need to stop using the internet and all electronic devices, because nothing is going to be more secure than that.

 

But, if you are determined to do this on your own hardware (I have a truenas NAS set up in my homelab, and I backup critical information to backblaze B2 a few times a week automatically as well, because again, RAID is not a backup, and the data I actually want to retain I have backed up to the cloud because I actually want to retain it, and a single server can't be trusted for that), you can set up a NAS and a VPN, and VPN in when your away from your LAN and everything will work exactly the same as when you are on the LAN.

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Set a VPN relay using wireguard, connect all the machines then use syncthing (send only on the clients) with receive only on the server host.

 

Best solution I can think of outside self hosting nextcloud.

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