Wondering if unRaid will do all that I want


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I've only learned about unRaid this past weekend, and I've been trying to read up and figure out if this will do everything I want.  I have just a couple of requirements, but a somewhat longer list of "it would be nice if..."

  1. My primary requirement is a platform for backing up Windows 10 PCs.  I'm pretty certain that unRaid will handle this flawlessly, although I'm not sure if there if I would need to purchase 3rd party s/w to do this or if Windows has the necessary tools.  Ideally I would want support for both full and incremental backups, I guess (I honestly haven't completely thought through my backup strategy -- for far too long my backup strategy has been "I should get around to that some day").
  2. My secondary requirement is a place to store videos; these are primarily MP4 files created on my Android phone

It would be nice if:

  1. I could view those videos from any PC in the house -- I'm guessing/hoping this is pretty trivial
  2. I could view those videos on my TV; I'm actually guessing that's pretty hard to answer because it probably depends on what apps are on my Vizio TV.  However, if I can do #1, then I can hookup a laptop to the TV and view the videos that way
  3. I could view those videos from any Android device in the house
  4. I could view those videos from a Windows laptop outside of the house (i.e. not on the local network)
  5. I could view those videos from an Android device outside of the house


I have an unused PC (motherboard, processor, RAM, power supply) which I'm sure will be powerful enough to at least get me started.  The documentation indicates that a single HDD is all you need to get started, and I have an unused 4TB drive which I can donate to the cause.  I know that unRaid is quite extensible, but I'm not clear how or if I could add additional drives later to start taking advantage of a parity drive.  The "quality USB flash device" should be between 512MB and 32GB; is there any reason why I should prefer a larger drive, or is 512MB all I would ever need?  E.g. if I go crazy installing apps, do these live on the flash drive or the hard drives?


I know that I can get a 30 day trial license and start playing around and start learning some of these answers for myself, and I will do this as soon as I get a chance to go out and buy a suitable flash drive.  However, if anybody could help me with some answers (or pointers to where I can find answers), it would be much appreciated.

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Hello and welcome.


First, regarding your installation questions.  Get a good quality USB stick from someone like Sandisk, Kingston, etc.  It's impossible to find small ones anymore, so just get 4GB, 8GB, or whatever you can find - something like this.  You can start with a single 4TB data drive but your data won't be protected.  You'd need a backup strategy anyway (parity isn't a backup) but it will be all the more important until you add parity.  You can add a parity drive or additional data drives at any time.  Also, it sounds like you are going want to plan for an SSD either now or in the future for a cache drive.


The cache drive in unRAID has become the de facto "application" drive, where applications and their data are stored.  An SSD is ideal for this purpose.  You could start without one but by the time you add parity it is generally better not to have applications running from the array.  Based on your requirements you're going to want to look at Plex - it can help with all your media distribution requirements, Google it..  You'd install Plex as a Docker under unRAID using the Community Applications plugin - it's sort of the app store for unRAID.  Try the Linuxserver.io version of Plex.


Regarding Windows backups, your unRAID server is just going to appear as a network resource on your local home network and you'll be able to backup to that destination.  I use Syncback, but there are any number of solutions including Windows backup.

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I use CrashPlan for user data (data files created by the user) i.e. users documents folders, et. al, backups, and then to the CrashPlan cloud (15 bucks a month, unlimited) seeing that Windows10 now refreshes / rebuilds it'self.


Not being an Advertisement but CrashPlan home can backup to another computer on the network.   Your Crashplan Docker will be the other computer on the network.  Then backing up the backup to the cloud is up to you, whether that is CrashPlan cloud or Amazon S3 with a suitable other Docker such as S3Backup, duplicati, etc. for those who want to send their backups there.  Right now I'm using Crashplan home, code42.com 's backup product.  I send each user's documents and Settings directories to the CrashPlan cloud, and a SyncToy backup to my Backup user share on my unraid server for each device on the Home Network.


Setting your backup (and then it's backup) should be "set it and forget it" task.  In other words, once you set this up it should happen in the background, without user intervention, from now to eternity...  You should, it is hoped, once you have all the bugs and kinks out of this, should save you from losing any files.


Here is THE BOOK on digital asset management:



Here's the rule of three. It's a long time computer-person rule of thumb that you can apply to your life now. It's also called the Backup 3-2-1 rule.

  • 3 copies of anything you care about - Two isn't enough if it's important.
  • 2 different formats - Example: Dropbox+DVDs or Hard Drive+Memory Stick or CD+Crash Plan, or more
  • 1 off-site backup - If the house burns down, how will you get your memories back?


Setting up the CrashPlan docker, and all that it entails is beyond the scope of this post.


To Help you get a start and to help focus on there's many ideas on The TechGuyLabs Site, Here's some links:



and from https://www.us-cert.gov/sites/default/files/publications/data_backup_options.pdf here's the 'close enough for gov't work pdf'



Edited by TinkerToyTech
added forgotten pdf
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A follow-up question about the parity disk, if I may:  The parity disk has to be at least as large as the largest non-parity disk.  If I were to buy, just as a for instance, one or two 2TB drives, my 4TB drive would have to become the parity disk.  How hard would it be to migrate the data to the 2TB drive(s)?  Until I have some real-life data, I have no clue have quickly I will be filling up a disk, so it's hard to know if I would try to save money by buying smaller disks or if I would quickly realize that I need to just keep adding on additional 4TB disks.

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