Grant B

Can I use a 4TB USB drive for backups?

21 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,

 

I have outgrown my 2TB external drive for backups. I took that drive out of the USB enclosure and put it into my EX490. Now, I would like to purchase a My Book, 4TB USB drive to use as a backup drive.

 

The questions is... Can I use a 4TB USB drive as a backup drive? I know that WHS v1 cannot use anything larger than a 2TB drive internally for pool drives but I was wondering if it were possible to use the 4TB solution if I am just adding it as a backup device.

 

I suppose another question would be - can I use that drive for other things as well or once I start using it as a backup drive, can it only be used as a backup drive?

 

TIA,

Grant

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Are you using Windows Server Backup to back up the system to the USB drive?

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That was the plan... if by that you mean backing it up from the console.

Edited by Grant B

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I think I understand...

 

What I was doing with the other enclosure was attaching and backing the server up to it. After the backup was complete, I would temporarily remove it and store it away. I cannot remember if it originally asked me if I wanted to format it but I think I formatted the drive in my Win 7 machine a couple of times while using it as a backup drive... I could be mistaken though. That and it was a 2TB drive so it wouldn;t have been an issue.

 

Is there any other backup software for WHS v1 that would allow me to use the 4TB drive to back up the server? I doubt that I can connect it to the server and for-go the format and be able to use the full 4TB is there?

 

I have a friend that has a EX485 and he purchased a 3TB external to use the same way. If this will not work, I'll need to call and tell him before he tries to do this. All he has done so far was plug it into the server and used the HP easy USB transfer plugin to copy all the data onto it while he figures whether he needs to re-do the server.

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Yes, you can use a 3TB, 4TB or even a Drobo or any Raid box to backup your WHSv1 box. Your right, you just format the drive outside of the home server. Then when you add it through the Console as a backup drive, when it asks to keep the drive as is or format, you leave it as it. It will show up the right size, in your case 4TB. The issue is if you choose to format.

 

You do have to add the drive as a backup drive on the Console otherwise you will not see it appear in the Console under the backup tab. You can also use the drive with BDBB addin to backup your PC backups.

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Using the HP easyusb addin is not the best way to go since your friend may be duplicating some files, the WHS backup option does not duplicate files, so that's better. Even if you want to delete older backups it will not delete the files it needs from the old backups that are required in the current backup.

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Note that you will be limited to USB2 speeds, if you can get a esata enclosure, it would be quicker. But you might have to hunt for the esata driver, that's the inconvenience there.

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Thanks diehard. Obviously I misunderstood; I thought it was a WHS2011 box. Duh! Being v1, it can't even back up the OS. Grant B, just ignore everything I said; listen to diehard. In fact, I've deleted my erroneous post. :)

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Diehard,

 

That's excellent news! Thanks for letting me know.

 

My total server pool space is 4.55TB. Since I am a long way from 4TB's, the 4TB external drive will allow me to do incremental backups without running out of space as the 2TB did. My old drive enclosure was a USB 2.0 as well. I'm not terribly worried about how long the backup would take as the incrementals don't usually take a great amount of time, just when I blow the entire thing away and start fresh. USB 3 would be fantastic but the box doesn't support it. If backup times get unruly I can always go for an Esata enclosure... I can always find something else to fill up that my book :)

 

The reason my friend copied all his files to his external via the HP easy USB addin was because he was getting health issues with his OS drive. It was just to have a backup of the data so that he could either run a restore on the drive or an outright re-do. In the end, he'll be doing just what I plan on doing.

 

So... just so I'm clear on this... if I plugged in the 4TB USB external drive and added it to the server as a backup drive without letting the server format it, it will be detected as a 4TB drive and the server will be able to read and utilize the entire drive? I believe the drive comes formatted NTFS. Will I need to reformat it on my PC first? Will there be an issue with the backup at all? Is the backup limited to 2TB's or will I be able to eventually do a 3 or close to 4TB backup to that drive if I wanted?

 

Thanks again Diehard and Ikon for responding to my questions. It really is appreciated.

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if I plugged in the 4TB USB external drive and added it to the server as a backup drive without letting the server format it, it will be detected as a 4TB drive and the server will be able to read and utilize the entire drive?

 

Yes,

By default the 3TB and 4TB drives are setup as GPT drives because the usual 2TB and smaller drives are setup MBR. This is a mathimatical limit to MBR, you can't have a MBR drive larger that 2.1TB.

 

So then you have to setup up the larger drives as GPT. However with WHSv1, when you format the 3 or 4TB drives, you don't have the option in the wizard to set them up as GPT. So you do this on your PC. But as I wrote, you do have to add the drive as a backup but it gives you the option not to format, or else you would be out of luck. If you did format the drive, then it would format it as MBR and you would end up with a 2.1TB drive and 768GB of unused space on a 3TB drive. The same would be if you tried to add the drive as a pool drive.

 

I have a esata enclosure with 2 3TB drives as backup on my EX470 so I know that it works. 

 

There will not be an issue with the backups and a 2TB limit, that limit is with WHS2011. The only issue you will have is when the drive gets full, if you decide to get a 2nd USB 4TB drive, then you can split the shared folders backups between drives.

 

Sorry for the long explanations, but that's me. :)

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