stevepedwards.com/DebianAdmin linux mint IT admin tips info

Setup and Access a 1TB FAT32 USB Share on a Draytek Router

* NB: Test this rigorously for reliability before implementation in a critical environment!
See Post end of page. For education only, due to transfer disconnection hassle factor.*

*1/8/15 May work better after a firmware upgrade
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This turned out a very useful, fun and informative Post!

A cheap and dirty NAS solution for home or a small company may be to use the WAN3 USB option on some Vigor router models.

In the USB General Settings area, enable samba and set your workgroup and hostname to suit.

I used a 16GB pen drive formatted to FAT32 to test this before sacrificing my 1TB, NTFS formatted Storebird drive, which could not be detected, I assume, because it is NTFS.

Once a drive is inserted, refresh to detect it (or not!).

In User Management, create a user by clicking the index number:

Create a share folder name to suit, clicking the folder icon:

Test the file upload function, and once a file is uploaded, check the folders are visible in your network:

I found the public folder was created by default and accessible by all with no password, but could not access my protected folder, because Windows is not using FTP to view this window, which caused some head scratching of I.T. rust from my skull for a while.

I tried all combinations of user \network\name formats in the Windows login box to no avail before realising the old connection style method I had forgotten.

As Samba in linux normally requires password encryption to be set in smb.conf and smbpassword to be run for a Windows user name, then encrypted Windows passwords won't work for this connection as its using FTP not SMB.

Use FTP directly here, by clicking the tiny PC icon in the address bar until the text is blue:

then type "ftp://" in front of the share name then press Rtn:

This will give you an FTP login box to access to the folder:

Optionally save pwd to not have to login each time.

Now you get access to the file you uploaded:

OK, so now I know the Draytek operations work overall, can I connect my 1TB Storebird drive and get access? Without reformatting to FAT32 I know I can't, but it's worth a try dumping this drive's data with a format as I have my other 2 backups, for the convenience of NAS! If I only have 1 laptop on, I can always access it and not have to switch the Desktop on that my current shared storage is attached to. Anyway, it's education that matters in life – the data in your head, not in a box of bytes.

First, drop the user connections then remove the pendrive by clicking the Disconnect button:

Now, swapped for the Storebird, just so you know what an undetected drive looks like, as above.

The first problem is that FAT32 is the only option for devices to be seen, so normally necessary to re-partition the disk in Management first, to smaller 32GB sizes which is FAT32's limit. BUT...!

There is a 3rd party utility to extend FAT32 sizes according to here:

http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/windows-and-office/format-fat32-drives-beyond-32gb-limit/

http://www.ridgecrop.demon.co.uk/index.htm?fat32format.htm

"Note that the 32GB limit is a limit of the formatter in Windows XP. FAT32 itself should be OK to 2TB, limited by a 32 bit sector count in the boot sector."

I'll try it for the hell of it…

Following the info in the link above - volume deletion, re-creation but NOT partitioning:

Run win CMD and cd to the drive (E:) where I copied the FAT32 Formatter programme to, after virus checking and unzipping it.

My 1T disk is labelled F:

MAKE SURE YOU FORMAT THE CORRECT DISK or lose your OS or Data!!!

No!!!! Don't format it!

"You need to replace f: with the drive letter you are trying to format.

fat32format f:

You should see this displayed

Warning ALL data on drive 'f' will be lost irretrievably, are you sure (y/n)

Now when it says this, it really means it. If you format the boot sector, FATs and root directory will be filled with zeros. By typing pressing Y and hitting return, you're also absolving me of liability for whatever was on the disk before.

This means that all has gone according to plan. It should take about 4 seconds per Terabyte to format the disk. You can run chkdsk f: at this point if you're curious, and see something like this -

    The type of the file system is FAT32.
    Volume Serial Number is 1BDB-2C1D
    Windows is verifying files and folders...
    File and folder verification is complete.
    Windows has checked the file system and found no problems.
    244,136,352 KB total disk space.
    244,136,320 KB are available.
         32,768 bytes in each allocation unit.
      7,629,261 total allocation units on disk.
      7,629,260 allocation units available on disk.

This shows that my calculations match up with the ones inside Windows, which is good news"

Wow! That was quick! 8.6 seconds it states:

It seems to have done the whole 1 TB drive.

I think I want to error check it anyway at some point to make sure Windows sees it as it should, but not now as it will take hours:

Eject it.

So, what will the Draytek make of it? Well it sees it!

Disk Capacity: 953869 MB

The prior users info still exists, so create a folder for them again on this drive:

Let's try and access it as before:

Seems it did it already anyway – I didn't recreate Joe's folder then! The Public folder remains to.

No direct Public folder access this time? Entering ftp info:

Just a blank screen this time, but I can create a stevee folder, and have a different option in the right click menu – Login As:

I'm impressed with the FAT32 formatter, so am going to keep that safe! Can I drag and drop it between windows? Of course!

Excellent! I have a 1TB NAS storage device accessible by all PCs, and if only mine is on.

Note I didn't have to log on this time as Win7 saved my details from before.

Also, IE actually has a use over Chrome here: Chrome does not connect via FTP, but IE has this option:

FTPIE.jpg

 

This is handy, if old hat nowadays, as IE acts as a drag drop window if you already have Tabs open etc. Why doesn't Chrome have ftp support? Security issue?

So, how does it handle a large file transfer over the 100 Mbit/s LAN to disk - a 1.5 GB Mint .ISO for example?

MintFTPTransfer.jpg

Say 15 mins for 1500MB. That's about 100 MB per minute or about (100MB/60secs = 1.67MB/s x 8 = 13 Mbits/s. There would be fair overhead there also - 3 devices, 4 net ports, 2 SATA drives.

Not bad over a LAN and writing to a SATA drive via USB?

Overall, you may want to use a competent, FTP specific App like Filezilla.

FileZilla.jpg

12/7/15:
I've been testing this for 2 days, and had some unreliability of connections between PC/Mint/Filezilla, The Draytek and/or the Storebird, when bulk transferring large files in 1 session. I don't know which is the problem yet.
I am testing the PC/Mint/Filezilla side with a new Mint and Filezilla install on a different Dell GX520, which hasn't dropped the connection yet, for the last hour, but only 1 folder at a time. I will try multiples next.
Best not to use this in a business critical environment until you have tested rigorously, with other PCs, shares and net traffic, to see if the Draytek/USB disk can cope or you have any issues.

Unfortunately, FTP with Filezilla cannot resume a dropped connection should any other process occur that accesses either drive when transferring data. I wanted the UUID of the Quadra using fdisk -l, blkid etc. which caused the connection and current transfers to fail, unable to resume.

FZftp_drops.jpg

A shame, as it's really only useable at best for a one of backup, when isolated from other operations, and hope it completes without constant observation.
Once failed, even a Filezilla close and restart fails to connect anew, and only a Draytek reboot/USB drive switch off allows reconnection.
Duh...

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