A Bunch of Random Questions

  • what’s a good data backup imaging app for Windows? I know that SuperDuper is a goto for Mac.
  • My computer randomly wakes itself up from hibernate occasionally and even once turned itself on from being completely shut down. How can I fix this?
  • How do I get my iTunes content to be playable in Plex?
  • I’m thinking of purchasing a NAS, what RAID mode should I use?

Okay, this is an annoying occurrence that I too have suffered with one machine in particular. First, here are some possible culprits:

  • Your mouse (especially if you have a cat) (or your house vibrates at all when people walk nearby)
  • Your keyboard if you have a cat
  • The NIC’s “Wake on LAN” feature
  • The system timer (a “Windows” use of a hardware feature, to help it do updates while you’re away)

How you can know what is going on, is annoying. You can use a command line command to query the last wake reason. It won’t always be very helpful unfortunately, here is my example when the PC woke from hibernation when I pushed the power button:

powercfg /lastwake
Wake History Count - 1
Wake History [0]
  Wake Source Count - 0

Go into your mouse and/or keyboard properties in device manager, and look for the “power management” tab (You will probably need to elevate to see this tab.)
PHolder2020Dec31MousePropertiesPowerManagement

There are similar settings for other devices, including the NIC, although some of them have extra tweaks in the Advanced tab:
PHolder2020Dec31NICPropertiesPowerManagement

The system timer is harder to work with. On my particularly troubled PC I was blocked from making necessary changes by system permissions that I had trouble overriding. I googled for various options, and I honestly don’t remember what finally worked… it literally took me months because it seemed so infrequent that I thought I had it fixed until I kept finding I did not. (The one note about that particular machine is is started with Windows 8 on it, and then got upgraded to 8.1, and then to 10… I suspect my issue was left over from a previous Windows configuration that was “dropped” in later Windows versions.)

Maybe start with this article:
https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/63070-enable-disable-wake-timers-windows-10-a.html

Good luck addressing this annoyance.

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Depends on what this means to you. If you want to manage your own image locally and not on a schedule, Steve Gibson has long recommended https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/ I have never personally used it, because I don’t want that level of backup (sector by sector) but I do see where this set of tools could be very compelling for those who do want that.

If you want an offsite backup, maybe check out the iDrive advertiser https://www.idrive.com/ that @Leo promotes. There are many other suppliers of online backups as well, it’s pretty competitive, and Back Blaze https://www.backblaze.com/ and others have different packages of deals.

For local options, Acronis is frequently cited, I got a free version of it once, and I felt like I had been hit with malware… it did stuff during Windows boot that caused my PC to have random slowdowns. It was also causing random file lock collisions. This was over a decade ago, but once bitten twice shy. Still I think you can probably try many of them for free for some period.

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This seems like a complex topic for a lot of reasons (iTunes runs on Macs and Windows, people use NASes for their Plex Media, Plex has changed supported options over time and a lot of the info out there seems dated.)

I found this, but I can’t recommend it because I’ve never used it, but it claims to help: https://soundiiz.com/tutorial/itunes-to-plex

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Yeah the problem is iTunes DRM I think

The waking up sounds like the NIC, that was a problem with my pc.

I use Veeam for backups and images. The pc version is free for private use.

In March, I tried to use Linux on my main rig and made a complete image (3 SSDs and an HDD). It imaged all drives quickly. After an abortive attempt to put Linux on the pc, using LVM, so all drives cleared and formatted for Linux, I just booted up the recovery image and an hour later, the pc was back in the original condition.

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The Windows waking problem can be a really doozy. My windows laptop was doing that. Everytime it would wake in the middle of the night and wake me up, I’d jump up and look and see what waked it. Usually was a Chrome Network wake. I ended up blowing Windows 10 away and re-installing from scratch. Only thing that seemed to work for me.

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It wasn’t sleeping it was hibernating (it even powered itself up once).

Added a new question to the original post.

This isn’t really a big concern–here’s why, repeat it with me, over and over, until you understand and believe it: RAID is NOT a BACKUP!!

Let me say that again: RAID is NOT a BACKUP!!

So… the RAID you choose is more about your frequency of backup of the NAS. Let me review some options:

  • RAID 0: striping aka “scary raid”. This is striping… if any disk fails, the whole RAID just failed with no recovery.
  • RAID 1: mirroring aka “disk doubling” This is probably the best choice if cost is not a problem, because every disk has another disk as a full backup.
  • RAID 5: This is usually slower than either of the above, because you need to do some parity calculations and write across all disks whenever you make any write. The payoff is that single disk failure is handled by the parity, and if everything goes well you can replace the failed drive and have the RAID rebuild. (More on why that might no happen below.)
  • RAID 6: This is slower than RAID 5 because now you have to do a little extra math to make a second parity disk. The benefit is that now you can have two drives fail and still rebuild and recover your RAID. (More on why that might no happen below.)

RAID 5 and RAID 6 are less expensive than RAID 1 because you are “wasting” only one or two drives in your volume set for the parity drives.

There is also RAID 10. I don’t know if many NASes actually support it… but it is a combination of RAID 0 stripes that are then mirrored by RAID 1. If uses a lot of drives for redundancy, but allows you to have the parallel efficiency of striping.

Anyway, back to the reason why it doesn’t really matter. Most NASes these days have a hybrid mode which will manage this for you. They will evolve as you add more disks, toward RAID 5 or 6. They do this in recognition that RAID is NOT a BACKUP (do you get that point yet? :wink: )

If you rely solely on RAID you WILL eventually lose data. You still need a backup plan… or an assumption that you can rebuild the NAS from other means when it eventually fails.

Having 1 or 2 drives being able to fail sounds pretty reasonable… You think you will have time to replace a bad drive before something worse occurs. But remembering that many NASes are filled with disks of the same size, brand, type and age, any one of them is as likely to fail as the next. So what ends up happening is one fails, then you replace it, and the stress of rebuilding the array causes another failure, or a cascade of failures. This is made even worse by the fact that drives are getting huge, and the rebuild can take more than 24 hours of constant operation of all drives during the rebuild.

Before you make a purchase, make a plan for backups. One way to backup a NAS is to sync it to another NAS. Another option is to sync it to a cloud.

And remember the 3-2-1 backup rules. 3 copies in 2 formats, one of which is offsite.

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I know. I might build a 2nd NAS (DIY) to act as an off-site backup.

Were there brief power failures when the machine had powered on? When Windows is shut down, the motherboard tends to stay active. There is a setting in most BIOS/UEFI that sets the power state after power restoration. Maybe this was set to on?

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No power failure its a recurring issue.

That certainly sounds like network “magic packets” or something being timed to check for updates outside of normal usage hours.

I disabled the wake on LAN setting in the network connection settings and, since then, I’ve not had any problems.

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Agreed and you described the different RAID levels fairly well, I’d just like to add:

RAID 0 is not RAID. There is absolutely no redundancy, it is AID (Array of Inexpensive Disks) the R has gone on holiday. (Just to be explicit, you mention it, but I thought that the point needed re-enforcing.)

RAID 5 & 6 are slower than RAID 1, but you lose less usable space to the redundancy, as you say, and, for a NAS on a normal 1gpbs network, even though they are slower than RAID 0 or 1, they are usually still much faster than the Ethernet connection the data is being pushed over.

It is only when you get to local RAID systems or SANs attached to 10gbps+ connections that you should notice real slow-downs.

I use RAID 6 on my QNAP, but you need a bigger array to do that. “Typical” home NAS at the entry level are 2 drive affairs, so you are limited to RAID 1, otherwise you generally need to at least tripple the cost of the NAS system to get up to RAID 5 or 6. A lot of the good ones (Synology and QNAP, for example) offer SSD caching and 10gpbs on their multi-drive systems these days, as opposed to their dual-drive systems.

That said, if Sam is going to use the NAS as a local backup, then it is a backup of the PC - depending on how he does it (using it to store images from the PC, but not rsync, for example). It could fulfil the 3-2 part of 3-2-1.

If you are syncing the data, it isn’t a backup, it is just a mirror. That means any corruption, accidental deletions or crypto-ransomware on one system will automatically mirror itself on the “backup” system (the same applies if you are syncing the PC’s data to the NAS).

Such mirroring is great for quick disaster recovery - automatic failover to the mirror to allow you to continue working, until you can put new disks in the main unit and rebuild its array. But it isn’t a backup for non-hardware failure scenarios.

One of my ex-bosses found that out the hard way. He bought a mirrored server pair and claimed we could do away with the backups. We told him that a mirrored system wasn’t a backup, but he wouldn’t listen. 4 weeks later, he managed to corrupt the companies main database! He came over, said, no problem, we’ll just use the backup on the mirror… That was when he learnt the hard way, what a mirror really is. It had mirrored the corruption.

We quickly went back to having backups as well.

If you are using backup software to backup the main NAS to multiple images on the backup NAS, that is fine. If you are just synchonizing it (E.g. using rsync), it isn’t a backup.

As @PHolder says, you need to use the 3-2-1 rule.

I use:

PC SSD -> PC HDD (rsync every hour)
PC HDD -> NAS (rsync every hour, after SSD-HDD sync has completed)
PC SSD -> HiDrive (cloud storage, similar to OneDrive, GDrive etc. but GDPR compliant)
PC SSD -> Carbonite (real backup)

In addition, all the data on the SSD is manually imaged using Veeam on a different partition on the NAS at irregular intervals.

Both HiDrive and Carbonite offer versioning and delete protection, in the event that malware deletes or encrypts my data and I can use the Veeam backups, if the rsync has already synced the encrypted files. If there is a disaster (flood, fire etc.), I can recover using Carbonite or HiDrive.

Yes, it isn’t cheap - I probably give out around 200€ a year for HiDrive and Carbonite, but my data is worth much more than that!

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I mean imaging the first one.

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That’s what I’m taking about. I’d hibernate my computer and about 3a it would power on, fan noise and all. The log said it was some sort of google updated but even after uninstalling chrome it would still happen.

Yes, that is a good way to go.

A lot of people go for mirroring /synching and think they are backing up. I just wanted to clarify that you were planning on doing it “right”.

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Does anyone know of a way to get a chart displaying the CPU util of a specific app?

You could use Performance Monitor that’s built in to Windows?

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