2x 2.5'' NAS from old Windows laptop

timginter

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Apr 21, 2019
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I was looking into buying a NAS and was surprised how bulky they are. Then I thought about making my own, but after some reading it felt like more faff than it was worth.
Then I re-purposed my old Lenovo X230 laptop as a proof of concept - worked great:
  • 2-bay (with the right laptop)
  • very small
  • low power consumption
  • works on WiFi and LAN
  • supports DLNA media sharing
  • has a built-in screen and keyboard
  • can be accessed remotely with Windows RDP (even from anywhere if you configure your router right)
  • can be used to download files directly on it (also via Remote Desktop)
  • can use bitlocker to encrypt drives (with Windows 10 Pro licence)
  • can use Windows' File History (or backup software) with one drive acting as full backup
  • has a battery = free UPS

I was looking for a cheap network drive with backup and it ticks all of the boxes.
 
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timginter

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Apr 21, 2019
176
69
PARTS:
  • cheap 3-drive laptop. Lenovo t420 in my case, around £110 used. If you find a cheap t430 it may be better as it has USB3
  • Ultrabay HDD caddy for Lenovo t420, around £10 new
  • Windows 10 Pro licence, around £15 for OEM. Mine came already with the laptop, so no expense there. "Pro" needed for bitlocker and possibly Remote Desktop, so "Home" should be enough, too
  • mSATA SSD for OS, around £30 new for 120GB

  • BASE COST: £150 (+£15 for Windows 10 Pro licence if needed)

  • 2x 2.5'' HDD. Toshiba L200 2TB in my case, around £60 each
  • min. 8GB USB stick to reinstall Windows on the mSATA drive. If you don't have one laying around it's around £5 for a USB 2.0
 
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timginter

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Apr 21, 2019
176
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WINDOWS SETUP:
  • Install the mSATA drive
  • Download Windows Media Creation Tool, create a Windows 10 installation disc on the USB drive and install Windows 10 on the mSATA drive
  • Replace the original HDD with your data drive, insert Ultrabay with your second data drive
  • In Windows, create a new Power Profile, set to "Do nothing" when closing the lid
  • Show "Away Mode" in advanced power settings by running this command (open CMD as admin!):
    • powercfg -attributes SUB_SLEEP 25DFA149-5DD1-4736-B5AB-E8A37B5B8187 -ATTRIB_HIDE
  • In advanced power management for your profile set for both "On battery" and "Plugged in":
    • turn off HDD after 1 minute (this will turn HDDs after 1 minute of inactivity, but not the mSATA OS SSD)
    • Sleep:
      • "Enable Away Mode": On
      • Never sleep or hibernate (set to 0)
    • turn everything apart from WiFi to "Maximum Battery Life", "Maximum power savings", etc.
    • Processor power management:
      • Cooling Policy to "Passive"
      • Maximum processor state to 33% (lowest possible)
    • Turn off the display after 1 minute
    • Multimedia settings:
      • When sharing media: "Allow (...) Away Mode"
      • Video playback quality bias: Performance
      • When playing video: Optimise video quality
  • In Network Adapters, set IPv4 static addresses for Wireless and Ethernet (e.g. 192.168.X.168 for Wireless and 192.168.X.169 for Ethernet)
 
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timginter

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Apr 21, 2019
176
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FOLDER / DRIVE SHARING SETUP:
  • The main annoying thing to remember is Windows' sharing and access model - you set "Security" and "Sharing" in folders' properties separately - first governs who has what access/privileges, second whom you share with and what access they have. If both do not cover intended user/group privileges (I just match them for simplicity), a shared folder will either not be accessible or not visible to a user over the network

  • TBC
 
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timginter

Cable-Tie Ninja
Original poster
Apr 21, 2019
176
69
Really surprised with the power draw. Average for a 2-bay NAS is around 30W, my laptop tucked away in the corner:

idle:

streaming a movie over network:
 
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