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External storage issue

ztrachtenberg
Aspirant

External storage issue

I have an R6400 router (latest firmware: V1.0.1.24), and want to connect a Seagate Backup Plus 4TB external drive to serve as back up for several computers in the house. Prior to connecting it to the router I connected it directly to my MacBook Air (running OS X.12.6)--and was coached to download drivers so I could use TimeMachine. I then copied some files onto it (not with TimeMachine). When I connected it to the router, it mounts and is recognized as USB Storage--but it doesn't show the files and reports 0 bytes.

 

I take it this is because the drive now has "special drivers" and so won't work with the router? Is there anything I can do about this--e.g. remove the drivers (and I guess live without TimeMachine). Or am I stuck with a drive I can't use on my network?

 

Thanks for any advice you can give me.

Model: R6400|AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Message 1 of 12

Accepted Solutions
antinode
Guru

Re: External storage issue

> More than me!

   Perhaps, but, as I said, my actual experience with ReadySHARE
consists of some (not much) reading.

> So advice is to forget about using this as a network drive through the
> router?

   The way I look at is this:

   You "copied some files onto" the disk, which, I gather, is still
formatted with a NTFS file system, as supplied by Seagate.  I assume
that if you eject and disconnect the drive from the Mac, and then
reconnect it, those files are still seen by the Mac (Finder).

   Then you eject and disconnect that disk from the Mac, and attach it
to the router, which seems happy enough, but now those files which you
know must be on the disk are not visible?

   Unless there are some odd-ball permissions involved (which doesn't
seem very likely), then I'd say that the Paragon NTFS file-system

software is doing something on that disk which confuses the GNU/Linux
NTFS file-system software on the router.  At least one of them could
have a bug, and file-system bugs are not particularly desirable if you
expect a backup (Time Machine or other) to be useful.

   One more thing I'd want to test would be if you could actually do a
Time Machine restore operation using a backup from that
ReadySHARE-served NTFS file system.  In principle, the normal Mac OS can
read a NTFS file system (without the Paragon software, which might not
be available in the macOS restore/recovery environment), and it should
be able to do network access, too, so it could work, but I'd want to see
it work before I trusted it.  Which would be true of any backup system.
A write-only backup system always looks good when you don't need it, but
tends to disappoint when you do need it.

   Around here, I use an old Seagate NAS220 network storage gizmo for my
Time Machine backups.  I don't know what the actual on-disk file system
is in that thing, but I believe that it's some native GNU/Linux thing
like "ext3".  But the NAS box runs software which presents the data to
the network as an Apple File System volume.  (You can see the Time

Machine XXX.sparsebundle files using the Finder Go > Connect to
Server... > afp://nas220 [...], just like any normal Apple-shared
volume.  ("Get Info" says: Kind: Mac / Where: Network.)

   There's still software involved (as usual; it's hard to avoid), but
the actual underlying file system is an OS-native one, and the only
worry is the Apple File Protocol layer on the NAS box.  And it did
actually work for me recently, when the (original) disk in my MacBook
(13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) died.  So, network storage for Time
Machine backups has worked in the real world.  Whether ReadySHARE with a
NTFS disk works, I don't know.

   If all you care about are Time Machine backups, then you might also
consider formatting this disk with an Apple-native file system, instead
of its original, Windows-friendly NTFS.  You'd still need to worry about
the router's Apple-file-system software, but it'd be a different stack
of stuff from the NTFS stack.  I'd still test it, and realistic testing
is the best advice I have for any proposed backup scheme.

View solution in original post

Message 9 of 12

All Replies

Re: External storage issue

The files probably won't do anything to make the drive invisible to Readyshare. Did it work before you added them?

 

Readyshare can be picky about the drives it works with, and the formats that it likes. There are even difference between how it works with the USB ports on Netgear's boxes.

 

This may help:

 

ReadySHARE USB Drives Compatibility List | Answer | NETGEAR Support

 

 

Message 2 of 12
ztrachtenberg
Aspirant

Re: External storage issue

Yes, I connected the drive directly to my MacBook Air and copied some files to it--worked fine.

 

I did check the list on the page you sent me--the product name is there, but with a slightly different model number.

 

The quick start guide to the router refers to "special drivers" on a disk: "If your USB device has special drivers, it is not compatible." I had downloaded software to make the drive work with the Mac file system--is that the "special driver?" Can that move be reversed?

 

Thanks for any ideas!

Model: R6400|AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Message 3 of 12

Re: External storage issue


@ztrachtenberg wrote:

Yes, I connected the drive directly to my MacBook Air and copied some files to it--worked fine.

 


Apologies., I should have been clearer. I meant to ask "Did it work on Readyshare" before you added the drivers?

 

The special drivers probably refers to drives that will not work anywhere without drivers. That usually means fancy stuff that is bigger than your PC can handle without help. If your drive didn't need any extra help to talk to your Mac then it probably doesn't apply.

 

You can always get back to square one by reformatting the USB drive. But that will wipe out everything on the drive so don't do that if you have important files that you don't want to lose.

 

 

 

 

Message 4 of 12
ztrachtenberg
Aspirant

Re: External storage issue

Got it--no I didn't try connecting to the router first.

 

Thanks for the tip--I'll try reformatting (I was going to do that anyway to put partitions in--unless that's a bad idea vis a vis ReadyShare. Do you know--is there any word around about whether ReadyShare doesn't play nice with TimeMachine?

 

Thanks so much for all your help--I really appreciate it.

Model: R6400|AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Message 5 of 12

Re: External storage issue

Partitions may not work. Readyshare is a pretty basic way of sharing things on a network. It can't handle anything complicated.

 

TimeMachine is beyond my knowledge. I can't afford Apple stuff. Well, I refuse to pay bloated prices for design and a "locked in" environment.

 

Message 6 of 12
antinode
Guru

Re: External storage issue

> and was coached to download drivers so I could use TimeMachine.

   What, exactly, did you download (and install)?  The Paragon
NTFS-for-Mac driver?  ("This driver provides write access for Seagate
external drives in Mac OS without having to reformat.")

> I take it this is because the drive now has "special drivers" and so
> won't work with the router?

   Installing a NTFS driver on the Mac should have approximately no
effect on the drive itself.  (If that's what you did.)

> I did check the list on the page you sent me--the product name is there,
> but with a slightly different model number.

   And who, beside you, knows what either of those model numbers is?

   NTFS is a file system designed by Microsoft.  The Paragon
NTFS-for-Mac driver is a third-party implementation of NTFS for a Mac
running macOS (Mac OS X).  The Netgear router uses a different

third-party implementation of NTFS for GNU/Linux.  In an ideal world,
all these NTFS implementations would be perfectly compatible, and one
disk could be read and written by any or all of them.  In the real
world, any of them could do something quirky which might cause trouble
for one of the others.

   There's much to be said for using a native (Mac) file system on a
disk which is connected directly to the Mac.  I've never tried to use
ReadySHARE, so I know nothing, but casual reading in these forums
suggests that it is supposed to work on disks with NTFS or Mac file
systems (using more third-party file-system software for GNU/Linux),
and, I'd guess, some native GNU/Linux file system (like ext4?).  And
people complain right and left about lost files and unreadable disks,
and so on.

   Perhaps Netgear's GNU/Linux multi-file-system software really does
work well, and is perfectly compatible with disks from Windows and Mac
systems, but I wouldn't bet my data on such a thick stack of software
from such a wide variety of vendors.  But what do I know?


> TimeMachine is beyond my knowledge.

   That doesn't make it unique.  It simply writes data to and reads data
from a file system.

Message 7 of 12
ztrachtenberg
Aspirant

Re: External storage issue


@antinode wrote:


   What, exactly, did you download (and install)?  The Paragon
NTFS-for-Mac driver?  ("This driver provides write access for Seagate
external drives in Mac OS without having to reformat.")

 

Yes--that's right.

   Installing a NTFS driver on the Mac should have approximately no
effect on the drive itself.  (If that's what you did.)

 

Makes sense--didn't see additional files on the drive (but thought maybe they were hidden)


   And who, beside you, knows what either of those model numbers is?


My model is SRD0PV0--other is on a page on this site somewhere.

 

   Perhaps Netgear's GNU/Linux multi-file-system software really does
work well, and is perfectly compatible with disks from Windows and Mac
systems, but I wouldn't bet my data on such a thick stack of software
from such a wide variety of vendors.  But what do I know?

 

More than me! So advice is to forget about using this as a network drive through the router?

 

 

 

Model: R6400|AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Message 8 of 12
antinode
Guru

Re: External storage issue

> More than me!

   Perhaps, but, as I said, my actual experience with ReadySHARE
consists of some (not much) reading.

> So advice is to forget about using this as a network drive through the
> router?

   The way I look at is this:

   You "copied some files onto" the disk, which, I gather, is still
formatted with a NTFS file system, as supplied by Seagate.  I assume
that if you eject and disconnect the drive from the Mac, and then
reconnect it, those files are still seen by the Mac (Finder).

   Then you eject and disconnect that disk from the Mac, and attach it
to the router, which seems happy enough, but now those files which you
know must be on the disk are not visible?

   Unless there are some odd-ball permissions involved (which doesn't
seem very likely), then I'd say that the Paragon NTFS file-system

software is doing something on that disk which confuses the GNU/Linux
NTFS file-system software on the router.  At least one of them could
have a bug, and file-system bugs are not particularly desirable if you
expect a backup (Time Machine or other) to be useful.

   One more thing I'd want to test would be if you could actually do a
Time Machine restore operation using a backup from that
ReadySHARE-served NTFS file system.  In principle, the normal Mac OS can
read a NTFS file system (without the Paragon software, which might not
be available in the macOS restore/recovery environment), and it should
be able to do network access, too, so it could work, but I'd want to see
it work before I trusted it.  Which would be true of any backup system.
A write-only backup system always looks good when you don't need it, but
tends to disappoint when you do need it.

   Around here, I use an old Seagate NAS220 network storage gizmo for my
Time Machine backups.  I don't know what the actual on-disk file system
is in that thing, but I believe that it's some native GNU/Linux thing
like "ext3".  But the NAS box runs software which presents the data to
the network as an Apple File System volume.  (You can see the Time

Machine XXX.sparsebundle files using the Finder Go > Connect to
Server... > afp://nas220 [...], just like any normal Apple-shared
volume.  ("Get Info" says: Kind: Mac / Where: Network.)

   There's still software involved (as usual; it's hard to avoid), but
the actual underlying file system is an OS-native one, and the only
worry is the Apple File Protocol layer on the NAS box.  And it did
actually work for me recently, when the (original) disk in my MacBook
(13-inch, Aluminum, Late 2008) died.  So, network storage for Time
Machine backups has worked in the real world.  Whether ReadySHARE with a
NTFS disk works, I don't know.

   If all you care about are Time Machine backups, then you might also
consider formatting this disk with an Apple-native file system, instead
of its original, Windows-friendly NTFS.  You'd still need to worry about
the router's Apple-file-system software, but it'd be a different stack
of stuff from the NTFS stack.  I'd still test it, and realistic testing
is the best advice I have for any proposed backup scheme.

Message 9 of 12
ztrachtenberg
Aspirant

Re: External storage issue

Thank you SO much for the time you put into that answer--I'll poke more to see if I can get it to work, and definitely try out the back-up routine before relying on it. That is just excellent advice anyway.

 

In the meantime I've gone over to the Seagate world to see if anyone has any ideas over there.

 

BTW I thought about getting an NAS set up, but to be honest I was trying to save money, since the router has the port and presents itself as making this easy.

Model: R6400|AC1750 Smart WiFi Router
Message 10 of 12

Re: External storage issue


@ztrachtenberg wrote:

 

BTW I thought about getting an NAS set up, but to be honest I was trying to save money, since the router has the port and presents itself as making this easy.

 


I use both ReadyShare and NAS. The latter is better for things that you want to leave permanently connected to the network. So it is the way to go for things like backup copies of important files and system images.

 

USB drives are better for copies of things you might want to move or share on another device that isn't on the network, music files for example, of work that you want to take on the road.

 

NAS devices are more expensive, but you can find offers from time to time, especially if you don't need something that powerful.

 

To play around a bit with your current devices, have you tried using a USB stick with ReadyShare?

 

By the way, the manual for the R6400 goes into some detail about using it with Time Machine. See page 74.

 

>>> R6400 | Product | Support | NETGEAR <<<

 

Did you ever experiment with the different USB ports on the R6400? I have seen reports here that things that don't play nice with the (front) USB3 port work fine with the (rear) USB2 port.

 

Message 11 of 12
antinode
Guru

Re: External storage issue

> [...] the router has the port and presents itself as making this easy.

   Yup, sounds good.  And if it actually works, that's even better.

   The question is whether the ReadySHARE software is only a
slapped-together collection of unreliable building blocks which were
available (free) for the GNU/Linux which the router was already running,
or, a well integrated, well tested package which can be trusted with
valuable data.

   I still haven't done anything with ReadySHARE, so I can't say.  I
have seen Netgear release firmware updates with serious Web interface
defects (broken links which kill the Web server), so I'm unwilling
blindly to trust their software quality.  ("Trust but verify" or
"Distrust but verify" -- "verify" is the important part.)

Message 12 of 12
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