In the QNAP TS-269L Review and News article I introduced you to the new QTS 4.0 desktop on the NAS. In this article I am going to show the Desktop in more detail and highlight some of the functions that the desktop provides. I will also cover one of the applications from QNAP called Qsync that can be used for file synchronization using the NAS as the central storage hub.
When you log into a QNAP NAS running QTS 4.0 you are brought directly to the desktop.
The desktop is comprised of the following sections:
- Main Menu
- Show Desktop
- Personal Settings
- Desktop Area
The Main Menu is selected on the upper left and includes 3 parts: 1)QNAP Applications; 2) System Features and Settings; and 3) Third Party Applications. The QNAP applications are programs that come as part of QTS 4.0. The System Features and Settings section are applications that allow you to configure and change items on the NAS. The third part applications section are any of the programs that are installed using the App Center. I have added the Plex Server application to my NAS as shown at the bottom of the Main Menu.
Next to the Main Menu drop down is a Show Desktop button that can be used to minimize or restore all open windows and show the desktop. Any window that is open when the Show Desktop button is selected will be minimized and appear as a button in the toolbar across the top of the window (similar to Windows with applications in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen).
In the upper right of the desktop is the notification area. There are 3 icons: 1) Background task; 2) External Device; and 3) Notification and Alert.
The background tasks icon allows the user to review and control all tasks running in the background (HDD SMART scanning, Antivirus scanning, file backup, etc).
The external device icon lists all external devices that are connected to the NAS via it’s USB or SATA ports. The user can select the connected device header to open the External Device page for relevant settings and operations or select the eject icon to eject the external device.
The final icon is for Notifications and Alerts for recent system error and warning notifications.
Since I am logged in as the Administrator this area includes the Admin Control.
This menu allows the administrator to customize specific settings, change their password, restart/shut down the NAS or log out of the account. The Options selection in this menu provides some additional configuration options too.
These options allow adding a picture to the profile, changing the desktop wallpaper, changing the password and some other settings.
In the lower right of the desktop is the Dashboard. When selected a window opens providing important information on the system and HDD statistics.
The final area is the desktop area and works like a desktop in any other OS. Applications icons are arranged on the desktop to provide quick access to important programs. Grabbing an icon and dropping it on another will place both in the same folder.
QTS 4.0 Wrap-UP
Overall the new QTS 4.0 desktop interface is much easier to use than it’s predecessor. The desktop provides an easy to see overview of any important notifications, an easy to open Dashboard and quick access to any of the applications. The interface is very similar to other operating systems now in use on tablets, phones and other devices so it's very intuitive. Using a desktop approach to the interface also allows the user to jump in using the applications while providing the user with a familiar feel.
One of the applications that comes installed in QTS 4.0 is Qsync. This application works very similar to other cloud based file sync programs except the files are stored in your own personal cloud on the NAS.
Should I repeat that again? You are creating your own personal cloud storage with synchronization but the cloud is located on your NAS.
An application (Qsync) must be downloaded and installed on each computer that wants to synchronize files with the NAS and one another. Qsync download
After downloading the application and executing the installation we have to configure Qsync.
Selecting the Search button will perform a search on the LAN for all QNAP servers. Once a server is found a user name and password must be entered for a valid user on the NAS. This will setup a Qsync folder for that user. The final piece to be configured is the location on the local PC for the folder that will be sync’d with the NAS.
With the setup completed any file that is dropped into the Qsync folder on the PC is automatically copied and synchronized with the NAS. Here is a view of some files on my PC in the Qsync folder.
Below are the same files in the Qsync folder area on the NAS
In the Qsync Application on the NAS the Admin has many additional tools for the Qsync program.
Selecting the USERS menu shows Online users (mine are all configured as Admin).
Selecting Devices shows which computers and mobile devices are accessing the Qsync area.
In my situation I had 1 PC, my mobile phone and the NAS all accessing the Qsync area.
Qsync Event log allows the administrator to see what files have been added, deleted, downloaded , etc.
And finally the shared file link list which shows files or directories that have been shared using a URL to other users. Shared access is still password protected. The user accessing the shared area does not have to be a registered user on the NAS.
Finally, through integration with the myQNAPcloud connect the Qsync program can be installed on a PC on an external network and files can still be synchronized to the NAS. I plan to demonstrate this feature and cover it in the article about setting up and using myQNAPcloud.
The Qsync files are also available through the NAS File Station application using a browser (with proper credentials) as well as the mobil app Qfile. Qfile will be also be covered in a separate review at a later time.
Overall the Qsync application is very easy to use and works just like any of the cloud based file sync programs. The primary difference is that your files are stored on your NAS in your home or business and not in the cloud. This may offer some peace of mind to those who still aren’t ready to rely on cloud based services to store their files.