Drobo Mini on PC over Thunderbolt?

After several years of running two other Drobo devices, a few days ago I bought a Drobo Mini for use on my Thunderbolt-equipped PC notebook.

I could only get drive to work using a USB 3.0 connection so today I spent some time on the Drobo website and found this link stating that Thunderbolt isn’t supported with Windows.

Is there really no work-around to this? It’s very disappointing since I bought both the Drobo Mini and the new notebook specifically to use the combo over a Thunderbolt connection.


Well, the site that Drobo links to lists several Personal Computers that run Windows and officially work with Thunderbolt.

There are a few connection types that Drobo doesn’t seem to play well with. I even had a Drobo S that kept dropping off my Windows XP computer, when a 4-bay Drobo and every other USB drive was fine. Maybe this is “just one of those things.”
If Drobo won’t work with Thunderbolt and Windows, I guess you can ask for a refund.

Either way, good luck.

Thunderbolt on Windows is going to be like Firewire on Windows…

You’d think at least Intel would write drivers.

From what I understand it’s a driver issue involving the Drobo Mini and Thunderbolt, not Thunderbolt itself. The laptop supports it (though I haven’t tried any other Thunderbolt devices with it yet).

If I can’t use it, it’ll be returned.

Thanks guys.


hi frosty,
i had an esata / iscsi port on my laptop but the windows drivers werent working properly (maybe a conflict with the microsoft iscsi initiator) so i simply use my Drobo-S with usb3 and it works perfectly.

can i ask what you are planning on using the drobo mini for? maybe usb3 will be quick enough for you too?

(either way, i hope you stay with us, and if you excuse the Aliens joke, “watch those corners, and stay frosty” :smiley:

Heavy photo editing where every once of speed makes a difference (since a second here and there is multiplied thousands of times).

I’m rethinking what how I’m doing what I’m doing, but I bought this new setup to run the Drobo Mini on Thunderbolt and now that isn’t possible.

Until now I’ve used a mirrored drive enclosure on eSATA as my work drive. I’ll run some benchmarks to see how the Drobo Mini running on USB 3 compares.

As an aside, I’m a bit alarmed by all the negative commentary about Drobo devices when I Google for reviews. My two Drobo devices (Drobo 2 + Drobo S) have been working well for me for a few years, but all those comments are giving me anxiety. :smiley:


i’ve seen those too, i tried to add a comment on the register website about good drobo experiences but they removed it lol

for peace of mind, go to raoulpops website and read all his drobo articles and comments - it will make you feel happy again - after all it was mainly that website, this website (originally), and a friendly nudge in the right direction from docchris that persuaded me to get a drobo, and like you, i have the same other 2 devices as well and all good :slight_smile:

btw i often say it and if you do a search on the term “quickpar” in this forum, (no quotes), it might be useful for you if you work with photos. usually it’s good to use it on master originals, final outputs, and really works perfectly to protect from image corruption, or accidental deletion, or bitflips (as neilR puts it)

I’m just a little leery now of what happens IF something goes wrong. Which it seems to have today. (I’ll start another post about that.)

I’m not clear on what the benefit of using Quickpar would be in my case. I have my photos backed up on two Drobos in different locations plus either the Drobo Mini (once it’s all set up) or a mirrored RAID.


If your backup system identifies data-level changes, good. If it lets you “go back” to before the change happened, that’s great.
I found that Retrospect and CrashPlan validate data. tar and (by default) rsync do not. Unison does.

If you have just an offsite copy of whatever data was on your Drobo at a certain point in time, that will probably not identify data corruption.

This is why I don’t consider things like DropBox a real backup system. More copies of today’s data don’t get you to last week.

Ah, I see. Definitely something for me to think over.

Thank you.


heres a link with more examples and info (actually an interesting thread too)

Hmmm. That is interesting. So in real world practice, how would using one of these tools work?


well, a different example to the one in that thread is this:

  • pick a folder containing some files that you want to add extra protection
    (usually better for originals or final outputs that you want to save, which will not change)

  • run quickpar, and drag them into the Source Files area (or click add files and select them that way)

  • pick a name for the quickpar file(s)
    (base filename will probably be the folder of those files but you can change the name if you like)

  • click the number of recovery blocks +1 / -1 up or down to modify the redundancy slider, say to have about 10% cover
    (just make sure the 'number of recoverable files is at least 1 for min/max)

  • click create
    (you’ll end up with a few quickpar files ending in .par2, which you can then doublick on to verify or click a button to verify)

now if you copy those files and the quickpar outputs, to another folder as a test
if you rename one or delete one (or modify one there), you can double click on the .par2 file from that test folder and quickpar will give you the option to repair/rename etc back how it was.
and the good thing is that it doesnt matter which file you zap there at all :slight_smile:

have a play around with it using copies of your files at first, until you become more familiar - it’s pretty good.
and you can tweak some sliders to maximise efficiency, and to tailor things to your files.

i tend to see better usage if i do it on a bunch of files that are around a similar filesize,
eg if you have a fileset where 1 file is huge at say 100mb, and the other 9 files are 500kb each, then it’s not going to be that efficient but still useful :slight_smile:

theres also a different util called Corz checksum which is similar, but as far as i know it can Only verify if files are the same, not repair, but it does support nested folders so has its use too :)[hr]
(quickpar is supposed to have shell integration with explorer, so you can rightclick on selected files to bring up the context-sensitive menus, but for some reason on my computer (or maybe win7 limitation / feature?) :slight_smile: there seems to be something stopping it from appearing in the menu)

Thanks Paul. I’ll be looking at this real soon.

What percentage of added file size do you experience? e.g. say for every 50 GB of photos, how much more space will the .par2 files take?


well, i just did a test on a backup folder, and it was about just over a quarter of the source files used for parity (but that was just my quick test and the values i chose for the test)

heres the breakdown for you:

source folder of 580files (f) = (115MB total)
mixed image files, .gif, jpg, psd, bmp, etc

in the particular folder, the files directly in that folder had size ranges approximatley as follows:

317 files were from 1kb to 100kb
214 files were from 100kb+ to 500kb
50 files were from 501kb to 7mb

(i aimed for a file cover of 10 large, and about 80 smaller) (also known as max / min)
= This lets me “fully” reconstruct the 10 largest files of my source files. i copied the source and parity files to a test location, and deleted the 10 largest images from that test location, and was able to reconstruct them.
I also picked a bunch of about 40 near the mid-range, and zapped them and was able to reconstruct them too.

i used the default usenet block size, and it gave me about 32mb of parity data, (i made 1 parity file of 32mb in this case, instead of multiple parity files of a smaller size, because there is less wastage / overhead that way)

however, as most of my files were 500kb of less, the largest files in my set needed about 5 or 6 times as much parity data… eg i would have needed less parity data if most of the files were similar size as the rest.


  • a general rule of thumb is add about 10% (so if you have a folder with 50gb, you get about 5gb of parity data)

  • my prefered way is to structure my data into smaller folders, instead of huge amounts of files in 1 folder (which slows things down in windows anyway), and to then pick a folder of similar filesizes, and to my start with 10% approx on the slider, but to then adjust things until i know that i have values in both the MAX/MIN ranges which are above zero, and at least 5 depending on how many files ive got in there, or how important i deem the files to be :slight_smile:

but, if you analyse more on how youve got your final files and folders structured, you can probably work out a more efficient process. - if all you want to do though, it get a bit more protection on a folder you have, then you probaly could stick with the default general 10% rule, and make a separate parity set for each folder you have.

(if you really get stuck then you can either post back with a directory listing or pm me your email and i can try to help without clogging up this thread too much) :slight_smile:

Just getting back to the forums now after a busy couple of weeks. Thanks for the information.

A 10% storage premium seems pretty reasonable. Thanks for the suggestion!


no problem :slight_smile:

(btw without bombarding you with tons of info… you can get away with less % if all you want to do is protect against bit-flips… eg on those cases, even just 1 quickpar block can help fix that, but i just like having a bit more while i have the space) :slight_smile:

… so that was back in 2013 … any fixes for this yet ?

… silence from Drobo … as per usual.

About 3 weeks ago i spoke to someone and they said it might be fixxed i n a month. about a week to make good on that . I bought mine or the same reason.

Bought an HP Zbook 15 w/verified Thunderbolt data transfer capability according to Thunderbolt website,


Bought several SSDs for internal use and for external use, bought a Drobo Mini from a reseller who gave zero information about this ludicrous anomaly, and spent an hour on the phone with the reseller and Drobo trying not to shout.

Verdict - Drobo has no plans to develop Windows Thunderbolt drivers for their drive bays and do not pass on sufficient information to their resellers to advertise their products accurately. Caveat emptor?