Installing the hard drive was no different than any other enclosure. It was smooth and painless. The inside has a standard cage with SATA data and power ports at the rear.
I installed a Western Digital 160 GB drive in it-one of the device's supported drives. Be sure to check the listing on the product page. Apparently, there are only a few drives that are officially supported by QNAP.
Installing the software, however, was not so painless. For these kind of devices, there is always driver, firmware, or utility updates that aren't on the CD. Instead of using the software on the CD, I decided to head to QNAP's web site to see what I could find.
Sure enough, there was an updated version of the firmware and the QNAP Finder software used to administer the unit. The latter is small: a 1.7 MB download. The former, though, is quite large-and expectedly so, given the abilities of this unit-at approximately 52 MB. The painful part is the download speed of QNAP's servers: I averaged approximately 6 kB/s. I'm on a 6 Mbps cable line, folks.
So, while the firmware downloaded, I moved on as far I could. I installed QNAP Finder on my Windows XP box and launched it. The device was "found" very quickly and I was prompted to initialize it. So, I began the steps.
First, I was asked to set the name of the device. This is probably the hostname of the Linux operating system within. Next, I was asked to set a new administrator password. After that, I was asked to set the time and decide if I wanted the device to synchronize with Internet time servers. Filesystem coding was next-the device will use Unicode by default, but there are certain FTP clients that don't work with Unicode, so it asks the user to set a language for the code set. I picked English, of course.
Fifth, the device wanted network settings: dynamic via DHCP or statically set. I chose dynamic because I have an in-house DNS/DHCP server that I've configured quite perfectly. Sixth, I was asked if I wanted to initialize the disk within the unit, a Western Digital 160 GB SATA drive. Seventh, I was prompted for firmware to install. Whoops! I didn't have any! It was still downloading, and was going to be downloading for another two hours.
So, in the meantime, I tried out QNAP Finder on my main workstation, a box running Ubuntu Linux 7.10. I used wine to install the application, but when I launched it, wine said it needed mfc42.dll. I hopped onto the 'net and found a downloadable copy of it, but it was from Windows 98 and wouldn't work when I tried it. I hopped back onto my Windows XP box and got its mfc42.dll and dropped into my wine installation's C:\Windows\system32 directory. The application launched, but could not "find" the device. I searched QNAP's web site for some initialization software for Linux, or maybe something cross-platform, but found none. There is a Mac OS X program, but nothing for Linux or other operating systems. QNAP lists Linux in the "supported clients" section of its software specification, but I can't seem to find a way to configure this thing without Windows or Mac OS X.
Once the firmware finished downloading-almost four hours later-I was able to continue. QNAP must fix this somehow if it expects this product to succeed. Updates are released quite often, and waiting four hours for it to download is simply unacceptable. I tried downloading from both the U.S. and Taiwanese servers-the latter was twice a fast, and I'm in the U.S.!
A few steps and a few minutes later, I was able to access the unit via its web interface. Once I was in the web interface, I realized that I could have done all the configuration administration through it-I didn't need the QNAP Finder after all. QNAP needs to make this more apparent on the instruction sheet. However, later, I recalled attempting to do it via the web interface before I even tried the QNAP Finder and was told that I needed to set it up with QNAP Finder.