Idiots Guide to Editing Video on a NAS Drive (via 10Gbe or Thunderbolt)

Video Editing over 10Gbe or Thunderbolt with a NAS Drive – The Easy Way

Of all the industries that have grown in terms of data storage, video editing and production has got to be one of the largest generators of unique and ever increasingly size data in the world. From wildlife photographers and fashion, to YouTube content creators and large scale movie production, video editing is BIG business and require power, speed and efficiency from it’s hardware environment in order to achieve success. Up until a few years ago, editing footage in post-production with popular editing software (Final Cut, Adobe Premiere, DaVinci, etc) could be done quite easily on your local HDD/SSD (your C:/) or via a connected external drive. However fast forward to last 2-3years and you see that the SIZE of the footage in 4K and 1080p, as well as the performance required to edit it is significantly higher than the performance available to most SATA SSD inside your machine or an external drive. From there the industry moved into NVMe SSD and Thunderbolt DAS RAID external storage, which do get the job done BUT with the prohibitive cost of NVMe AND it’s low top capacities, as well as the poor portability of Thunderbolt RAID DAS in the field and its single-connection-allow architecture, make them good but not perfect. Which leads me to 10Gbe and/or Thunderbolt NAS for video editing. Now, it too is not perfect, BUT it ticks ALOT of the boxes. Video Editing on a NAS over 10Gbe or via a Thunderbolt-equipped NAS drive presents a number of advantages and improvements of what came before, such as:

  • Editing on a NAS over 10Gbe can provide up to 1000MB/s performance, which can be further increased with link aggregation or upgrading network interface ports later down the line
  • Editing over Thunderbolt NAS can get up to 1600MB/s, depending on the storage media and thunderbolt NAS you choose
  • Editing on a NAS allows you to upgrade the connection during the storage solutions lifespan (with PCIe upgrade cards on both the NAS and cards/external adapters on your physical system) to increase the connection to double, triple or even quadruple your performance
  • Editing on a NAS allows you to improve the workflow in your video editing with multiple users in the chain. A NAS can be accessed by multiple users at once and each can have a dedicated speed and priority of access depending on their task needs
  • Not only can you edit on the NAS, but factoring the NAS into your backup strategy allows you to significantly lessen the chances of losing your data – run a duplication task in the NAS, or use the NAS Backup Software to duplicate key files on a schedule or live to numerous devices (another NAS, USB, the cloud and more)
  • Editing on a NAS also allows you to upload raw/pre-production footage remotely whilst off-site, so it is then ready to be edited on as soon as you return to your desk

Editing on a NAS Drive is not for everyone and thought is not quite as easy to set up and use as the plug-and-play architecture of traditional USB and Thunderbolt DAS, it isn’t that hard, provides numerous other advantages to your network hardware environments and also gives you the means to improve your entire workflow. So, let me show you how to set up a 10Gbe or Thunderbolt NAS for editing video. But first, let’s go through a few important things to remember before you proceed.

How to Edit Video on a Synology NAS

Video Editing on a NAS Drive – Important Things to Remember

It is worth highlighting that although editing on a NAS is easy, allows a lot more space to play with and have the potential (with the right HDD or SSD media) to be faster than your local/Internal SSD, there are some extra things to remember when making the switch to editing on a NAS drive, whether it is via 10Gbe, Thunderbolt 3 or both. Below are some key elements to keep in mind before you proceed:

  • This guide is about setting up a NAS for Video Editing the EASY way, it is NOT the only way. There are ways to creating mounted targeted drives, using live sync tools with client apps from each brand (eg Synology Drive and QNAP QSync) with your local system to make a NAS appear as local storage for your video editing software to interact with. However, these are a little more technical and in some cases present the NAS storage area in a way that some video editing software does not understand/see. So use this guide to set up a NAS for video editing easily BUT remember there are other ways to do it that MIGHT be better for your particular storage needs.
  • If you plan on using Hard Drives, you will need to have at least 4 Drives in a RAID 5 to get performance speeds that compare to a single SSD – the more drives, the BETTER!
  • 10Gbe NAS are quite affordable, but the best transfer rates come from NAS systems with Intel/AMD based CPU (64bit x86) and at least 2GB of memory
  • Make sure you Install the NAS-brand appropriate setup software on at least 1 PC/Mac system (eg Synology Assistant, QNAP QVR Pro, etc). They are completely free and can be removed later – they just make later stages of NAS Video Editing Setup CONSIDERABLY easier.
  • NAS Systems for Video editing are recommended to be at least 5Gbe, 10Gbe and above
  • You can choose where to connect to a NAS directly Mac/PC-to-NAS over 10Gbe via 10Gbe, or you can introduce a 10Gbe network switch in between so that many users can connect with the NAS on 1Gbe/10Gbe. Just be aware that it may affect the top speed of the media (HDD/SSD) in your NAS if multiple users connect at the same time.
  • If you are using a Thunderbolt 3 Mac / PC System with Thunderbolt, you can use a simple Thunderbolt powered 10Gbe-to-TB3 adapter, 3 options below:

So, if editing on a NAS drive still sounds like something that will improve your video editing workflow and productivity, carry on with the guide.

How to Edit Video on a QNAP NAS

Video Editing on NAS Drives Guide – What You Need to Do

These steps will guide you through how to setup editing on your NAS with software such as DaVinci Resolve, Adobe Elements, PowerDirector and more, as well as be applicable to NAS brands such as Synology, QNAP, Asustor and Terramaster. I will try to keep as many of the steps as ‘universal’ as possible, ut there might be the odd difference between one software brand and another. If you have any questions, scroll to the bottom of the page and content me directly on the ‘Free Advice’ section. It is all genuinely free advice, manned by me (so I apologise if I am not ‘lightning-fast’) and I will help get you all setup to the best of my ability. Let’s get the guide started.

Step 1 – Set You NAS Up for Storage

Right so, this is probably the BIGGEST STEP! This guide is largely useless if your NAS system is not already set up – setting up a NAS (eg have it plugged in and ready to interact with, etc) is a whole guide in itself. Luckily I have made several of those in both written and video form. It is important that your NAS system has the following things done:

  • Latest Firmware Installed (generally this is done when the system is first set up automatically, but always check)
  • In the NAS User Setup, create a new ‘user’ for the video-editing with access to the folders in the NAS that are going to be used in your editing. You don’t HAVE to do this, but it’s best to leave the ‘admin’ account separate from this kind of thing, as you want that to be your ‘recovery’ if needed.
  • Have your Storage Pool (the RAID) setup and a Volume created. The guides will go into more detail about this for each NAS platform, but I recommend a RAID configuration with at least 1 disk of redundancy (so, 1 disk safety net if a drive breaks/fails) across at least drives. The Volume setup will ask you lots of questions about file systems and Encryption – those can largely be set to ‘default’ or as your own storage preference dictates.

Depending on your NAS Brand of choice, you can find a guide to setting up your desired system below:

Synology NAS Written Setup Guide – HERE

Synology NAS Video Setup Guide – HERE

QNAP NAS Written Setup Guide – HERE

QNAP NAS Video Setup Guide – HERE

Asustor NAS Written Setup Guide – HERE

Asustor NAS Video Setup Guide – HERE

Terramaster NAS Written Setup Guide – HERE

Terramaster NAS Video Setup Guide – HERE

From here you should be ready to start setting up your Mac/PC with your NAS system for video editing over 10Gbe and/or Thunderbolt.

Step 2 – Create a Shared Folder to Access Remotely as a Mounted Network Drive

Next, you need to create an area of storage on your NAS system that can be accessed by your Mac/PC system and in-tern, the video editing software you are using. Remember, these steps will differ depending on the NAS brand you choose. First, you need to open up the NAS File Management tool (it will be called File Manager or File Browser).

From here, somewhere at the top, you will find an option listed as ‘create a shared folder’ or simple ‘Shared Folder Options’.

You need to give this new shared folder a name. It is recommended that you should not use spaces or special characters in this name, as some software might have conflicts with it. Additionally, you will be asked about which volume on the NAS you want the shared folder to be within. Be sure to select the volume where your best-performing media (HDD/SSD) are based.

After this, you will be asked several options (depending on the brand. These will include 1) If you want to encrypt the shared folder (which will lock it to only be accessed within the NAS, but can lower performance a pinch), 2) Do you want to create a task of periodic data health checks (up to you), 3) Do you want to set a storage quota (maximum space this shared folder can accumulate) and 4) Do you want to create storage snapshots of the shared folder to revert to later if needed (again, personal preference).

After this, you will then be asked which users on your NAS can access the shared folder. Be sure to allow both Read and Write access to both the Admin account and the one you created for your Video editing account.

From here, open up the client tool (Synology Assistant / Qfinder Pro, etc) and ensuring that the PC/Mac you are using to interact with your NAS so far is on the same network/10Gbe/TB3, Right-click on the NAS on the available and select the option labelled ‘Map Network Drive’

From here, you will be asked to provide the login details you created for the NAS. Here you will need to enter the video editing account details you created (or the Admin account), which will then show you the list of available network drives on the NAS

Select the shared folder that you created earlier, then you will be asked to give the NAS folder/drive a letter to assign on your Mac / PC (EG C:/ is the OS drive typically and D:/ is the CD/DVD/BD drive. Just give the drive a letter and then click confirm.

The new shared folder and Drive will now be available and visible on your My Computer / Finder and this is the drive that you will be editing your work on. As long as you connected to this drive via 10Gbe or Thunderbolt, it will allow considerably faster speeds than typical network/gigabit NAS connectivity.

Step 3 – Copy/Move your Asset Library to the NAS

The next step is quite straight forward. You need to copy or move your existing library of work over to the NAS. This can be done in numerous ways:

Method 1 – Simply Drag and Drop / Copy and Paste into the Mapped network drive

Method 2- Go into the NAS via your web Browser and Upload directly from the File Manager

Method 3 – Create a Sync Jobbetweena folder on your PC/Mac and the NAS using the free first-party tools (Synology Drive or QSync)

You will need to make sure that the bulk of the stock footage, music, photos and more that you use on a regular basis are on the NAS.

Step 4 – If Necessary, Change The Default Media Directory on your Editing Software

When you make the switch from editing video locally on your PC/Mac system and moving onto NAS based editing, the editing software you use (Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, etc) will still have background actions and preferences that will be targeting your main system when in use. Typically these will be the default directories of when shadow files are created, the default location of where project assets are found and/or where temp files are saved.Each video editing software differs, so the options will be different from software to software. But it is recommended you change these to the NAS, as then the internal SATA SSD in your system, that will typically perform at 350-450MB/s (reported 550MB/s speed reports are based on ideal usage scenarios), will not present a bottleneck when your NAS can get up to 1,000MB/s on 10Gbe and more on a Thunderbolt-enabled NAS.

Adobe Premiere Essentials 2020

DaVinci Resolve

Step 5 – Optional BUT Important, Create a Job/Task on your NAS for Backing Up your Work Elsewhere

This one is not strictly essential, but I would recommend it. As you work on the NAS with your video editing, you are going to be creating both alot of files. Unlike when you were previously editing on a PC/Mac system and it’s internal SSD/HDD (whereupon you could then make a backup onto a USB drive or NAS), the video files you create will be living on the NAS drive ONLY. THAT is a big risk and means you do NOT have a backup. So, I recommend at least a 2 stage backup. That means that your data is in 1 location and then you have 2 more copies of ALL the important data in two more hardware and/or physical locations. Luckily, most NAS devices arrive with numerous multi-tiered backup software options included. In terms of backup options, I recommend one/two/all of the following (methods will differ between brands, but all of the top-tier NAS brands support these):

Backup the NAS Drive to a USB Drive

Backup the NAS Drive to another NAS Drive

Backup the NAS Drive to a Cloud Service

What is the Best NAS for Editing Video on a NAS Drive?

There are ALOT of different NAS options for editing video, but some are more suitable than others. Having a 10Gbe port and/or Thunderbolt is not enough and in order to avoid you spending month unnecessarily, I have listed a few options below that suit different personal budgets and the extent that you wish to edit. Take a look and if you are still in doubt, you can contact me directly for FREE and impartial advice at the bottom in my free support section.

The Cost-Effective Video Editing NAS Solution – QNAP TVS-472XT

If you want to edit video and you have a budget of £1500-2000, you should consider the QNAP TVS-472XT NAS

 

Released in early 2019, this solution arrives at just over £1000 (without VAT/TAX) and features 4 Bays of storage, 10Gbe connectivity, Thunderbolt 3, NVMe storage bays, USB 3.2 and at this price point is quite impressive for the amount of hardware and software it arrives with. You might struggle to get speeds of 1000MB/s, as this has 4 bays of storage only, but it DOES support numerous expansions and a 6-Bay and 8-Bay option are available too (at around £350+ increase in price with each tier larger).

Best Mid-Range Video Editing NAS Solution – Synology DS1621xs+ NAS

If you want to edit video and you have a budget of £2000-2500, you should consider the Synology DS1621xs+ NAS

 

The Synology DS1621xs+ was released in September 2020 and is the first Intel-powered 10Gbe solution from the brand. Arriving with 6 Bays of storage, a Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor, NVMe SSD bays for caching improvements and a PCIe slot for adding more connections later in the lifespan of the product, it’s quite an interesting solution at £1300+ (without TAX or VAT) and has been discussed at length here on the blog for its uniqueness and proven speed (hitting 1000MB/s over 10Gbe with relative ease).

The Best Video Editing NAS Solution – QNAP TVS-1282T3

If you want to edit video and you have a budget of £2500-350, you should consider the QNAP TVS-1282T3 NAS

 

This NAS drive is a MONSTER! As overselling as that might sound, this ticks every single box in the ‘things you need in a video editing NAS’ list, but also ticks them several times over! Featuring an Intel i7 Quad-Core CPU, to 64GB of DDR4 Memory, 4 Thunderbolt 3 Ports, 2 10Gbe Ports, 8 Hard Drive Bays, 4 SSD 2.5″ Bays and 2 m.2 SSD Bays, this NAS has the lot and will comfortably provide several users with 1000MB/s each over 10Gbe and thunderbolt, or 1-2 users with even HIGHER. This is thanks to the triple-tier storage system and incredible architecture, inside and out. With a price tag in excess of £2500 (without VAT or TAX) it does not come cheap, but it certainly is still one of the very best NAS solutions to buy this year and even though this NAS has been around since early 2017, it still continues to be groundbreaking.

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    68 thoughts on “Idiots Guide to Editing Video on a NAS Drive (via 10Gbe or Thunderbolt)

    1. This is my first NAS set up. I chose this enclosure because I was able to get a decent amount of “bang for my buck”. I am following the tutorial but I have a couple of questions. First, when setting the Nas name and user account name AND PW is it supposed to take a while and hang while doing that or is it supposed to just process straight through that portion quickly? Additionally, since I will be using it with 2 laptops do I have to set up separate user names on each laptop even though I will be the only one using both laptops and accessing the NAS?
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    2. Hi i just bought my self a QNAP ts-x453d and I guess I did something wrong because I’m getting about 150ea error message a day for whatever reason in 3 of my email. How do I stop it or reduce it to only 1 or 2 email message
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    3. Is it possible to only mirror a portion of the two disks and then use the remainder as regular storage? I only need 20% mirrored for important files and want to use the rest for media files that I don’t care to lose.
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    4. Awesome videos I lost a bunch of data and bought the DS418 to start out. These videos have been crucial in helping me set everything up. I don’t mine can do 10gb but if I ever upgrade how does that work in a residential application. I have 2 1GB connections coming into my house. 1 for the family and one for my studio. Would I need to get commercial grade internet to use the 10GB internet? Anyway thanks really appreciate your videos
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    5. Good video. So I setup a hyper Baack-up to Synology C2 to backup all my photos about 500GB worth of photos. Its been running for 11 days and is only 51% complete but the odd part is has already exceeded the total number of files in my Photos folder and it says that it has backed up 409GB already. How can it by only 51% complete having backed up 400GB out of a total of 500GB and why are the number of files already higher than the total # of files in my Photos folder. Makes NO Sense…….
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    6. I like the idea of keeping my originals and project files on the NAS but all caches including proxies on my local system – specifically on a dedicated SSD for much better performance. This also allows the use of slower network connections instead of needing 10gb – 5/2.5/1g are acceptable. The faster network speeds just makes for faster uploads from the source device (cameras) and downloads from the video editor software for making proxies. If you know what you are doing, you could then use a sync program to copy proxies back to the NAS if you needed them on another device if you use multiple machines for editing.
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    7. hi thank you for the useful information regarding backup. i have set my drvies up to be backed on to the google drive have, its been backin up for 12 days now :O( only dpne 5% at 46gb am i doing soemthing wrong?
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    8. Hi, sorry for a very basic question. Is my understanding correct that your QNAP is connected via LAN to the same network as your Windows PC? The Qfinder is installed on that PC, so that it will help to detect the QNAP? Is my understanding correct?
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    9. Thanks 4 the video. Exactly what I was looking 4.
      But I not C where U defined the target folder on the QNAP.
      In my case the files from Syno will B copied 2 the folder “Downloads”, but I prefer 2 have the backups in the “Backups” folder.
      Any hints ?
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    10. Just boughs a 1621+ with 4x10Tb drives. I want the majority to be used for media, but I need 1tb for web hosting, 2TB for my backup from my laptops and 2TB for encrypted cloud storage. Can all this go on one volume or do I need to fence off? I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.
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    11. If i delete anything in the NAS, IT IS deleted in GDrive as Well. Synchronisation. What is the sense? Drive ist Designed to make your local Data Accessible in Others devices. Not to Store a Backup. And … you cant use IT as an external Extension of your disc by using G: because you Need the Same Space local. If you have 20 Gig left in your local Drive, a GDrive with 2tb doesnt make Sense … If you delete Something local, IT IS instantly synchronised with Google. I dont undestand how this can Help Backup your systems?
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    12. As much as I appreciate this walk-thru…I despise everything about this product. There is nothing more intentionally difficult to setup than a NAS, and I’ve never wanted to throw a device off a bridge more than my QNAP NAS
      I’ve rebuilt car engines, and have been building computers since I was 8. QNAP is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and I honestly don’t understand how someone hasn’t made a better version and completely destroyed this company

      Off. A. Bridge.
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    13. If we have to replace one of the drives do we have to do the entire initialization of the QNAP again? What happens after replacing a hard drive and also upgrading the RAM to larger?
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    14. Hi, great videos and thank you for doing this. We have a TS 669 and when dealing with the storage manager it did not give me the option of Raid 1 after I selected the six drives. Is raid 6 basically the same as a raid 1 and that is the reason?
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    15. I would love to have multiple storage pools, so I could have a couple of TB of media that I don’t care about losing, and the rest in an SHR for stuff that I do care about. Can it do that?
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    16. Hi, quick Q: If my QNAP NAS failed, how can I connect its drives to a Windows system? what tools do I need for Windows to recognise QTS volume? PLEASE advise, THANKS!
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    17. Is there a possibility to create a folder that can only be reached via your local network and not via the internet? For example map1 that I can access anywhere via my mobile or pc ad my moms home. but I can only access Map2 when I am on my wifi or cabeld network at home. So that if my account were hacked, people wouldn’t be able to access this data from map2 from outside?
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    18. I bought a 6 bay QNAP unit. The more I think about Raid and Pools, I don’t think I need a raid system or even a storage pool. 90% of the data that I want to backup is static, Photos, Video and Audio files. They won’t ever change again once they are written to archive disks. If I have 6 simple 18TB drives I can keep one drive empty and make a mirror copy, 5 in total, of each of my 5 archive drives and save them to to a local location and to an offsite location. If one of the drives goes bad, I can replace the bad drive with one of the backup drives and then back up the backup drive? It seems like raid is best for dynamic data that needs to span drives? I started with Reid 6 but realized it uses 50% of my total drive space. Any way you cut it if you want to back up your NAS you need another NAS or fixed drives.
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    19. Hi, thanks for the video! I am just hearing about this technology and I am wondering if it would be possible to edit while being in another location where the NAS is? For a video production point of view which Sinology would you recommend that can be accessed remotely and has a high load capacity (eg. 40 tb)? Many thanks!
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    20. So it seems you need to create a separate task for each folder on the nas. Is there no option to have multiple/all folders selected and mirrored in 1 task? If not, in case the auto dismount when backup is finished options is active for all separate tasks, will the hard drive only be demounted after the longest running task is finished?
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    21. Three weeks ago I set up a DS420+ running DSM 7.0. I have the two Ethernet ports bonded using LACP. If I go to Control Panel/Network/Network Interface and look at the Bond1 interface it tells me that the MTU is 1500, both for the bond and for the individual interfaces. I cannot find anywhere to change this, the edit button just lets me choose different protocols for bonding the ports. I would like to be able to use Jumbo Frames; is this not possible?
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    22. Hi, we have TS 228 having 4TB seagte enterpris drive installed. Now we want to add one more Hard disk of 8 or 10 TB.
      Is it ok to add 8TB HD..? And is it possible to keep this additional disk as seperate drive and not to add or merge with existing one.? Please guide with the procedure.. Thanks.
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    23. I’m curious, if my NAS has 2 USB ports can they be configured so one automatically backs up TO USB from NAS and the other automatically backs up FROM USB to NAS?
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    24. Thank you for creating these very informative and detailed videos, mate! 
      (Amongst a few others) your videos made me enter the world of NAS as a video editor. For me it the solution was the qnap tvs872xt with 8 12tb Iron Wolfs and 2 1tb m.2 ssds for caching – a huge invest for a freelancer but so far worth every cent.

      A few weeks ago I ran into an enormous time pressure with 2 huge video projects simultaneously and I had maybe 3 days in total to dig into the world of NAS and to quickly make a smart decision which one to buy and which configuration to use. Finally I had less than two days to migrate my complete workflow over to the NAS while understanding just the absolute basics configuration in terms of the balance between speed and redundancy. 

      Now – after a few weeks of working with that NAS every day – I had to adjust some parameters and I end up with a RAID6-Pool by speeds of around 900mbs w and around 1500mbs r via TB3. More than enough for smooth editing with 4k multicam.

      Without your tutorials I would never have found the courage to invest in a high quality NAS.

      Every time I watch tutorials like this I am happy about the fact that all this Internet-Social-Media-timewasting-bullshit has a diffferent side: a direct transfer of information, experience and passion about even very specific topics. I really think this is one of the great advantages of our time.

      Anyway:
      Thank you very much for your passionate reviews and tutorials. I thought it might be just fair to tell you about the impact your efforts can have at the other end of the line. 🙂
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    25. Thank you for the video. This was very helpful in setting up my NAS. I followed your steps. Does that mean that when I copy items to the mapped drive they’ll be backed up on the second drive automatically?
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    26. Ok so I have 4 new 14tb drives in the mail. Upgrading from my 6tb drives. I have a usb back up with 13tb on it (all the data). Would it be quicker to swap one drive at a time or just pull the bandaid and rebuild the complete pool from the back up? Ds920+
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    27. Hi, thank you so much for this video guide, it is extremely thorough! It’s my first time setting up a NAS system and I would not have been able to do it if not for this video (considering the manual from synology wasn’t very helpful). Having said that, when I tried to click on “map drive” in the synology assistant, for some odd reason the buton/option is greyed out and I can’t create the drive on my local pc. I tried running the software as admin and still the same, do you know what may have caused this? Thanks
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    28. Excellent, thanks for this Robbie, I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, but there is always something new to learn. Many thanks!