User Interface Overview - more
Starting at the upper left corner of Thecus' home screen, the icon above the shared folder is the control panel icon. If you click on that, the complete control panel appears as shown in the image at the top of the review. The icon with the ! takes you directly to the system log. The ? icon takes you to context-sensitive help as shown below.
Thecus OS6 has context sensitive help
The Admin dropdown box lets you change the admin password, change the language for the UI, or logout. It also shows the current build. Moving to the lower right corner of the screen, the icon with three screens takes you to the network control panel. The disk icon takes you to the disk information page to view details on installed drives. The stacked platter icon is a direct link to the RAID Management page which is also a one of the default home page icons. Finally, the power icon in the lower left corner gives you the option to reboot or shutdown the NAS.
The Thecus OS6 UI has a flat menu architecture. This is somewhat of a departure not only from the UIs you find on competitors’ products, it’s also a departure from Thecus’ previous UI.
QNAP, for example has a desktop of icons, but you can click on an icon in the upper left corner to get a categorized list of top level menus along the left edge of the screen. Similarly, Buffalo has a top level menu along the left side of the screen. NETGEAR also has top level menus, though their tabs are run horizontally across the top of the screen.
Within the Thecus OS6 Control Panel, icons are categorized. The categories are:
- System Management
- File Sharing/Priviledge (sic)
- Network Service
- Application Server
- External Devices
But the Control Panel box is a fixed size, and you have to scroll up and down to see the categories and individual icons. You can’t drag the Control Panel icons to the home page or to the shortcut bar at the bottom of the screen. You can, however, create home page shortcuts for any of the Control Panel icons by right clicking on the icon and selecting Add Shortcut. Once a shortcut is on the home page, you can drag and drop icons to rearrange the home screen to your liking.
If you’re already familiar with Thecus, you’ll see that many of the icons in Thecus OS6 are unchanged. Here’s a screenshot of the old UI so that you can compare it to the new one. Since many of the menus most likely haven’t changed too much, I’m not going to comment extensively unless they deserve special mention.
Previous UI on Thecus N4800
- General – only shows manufacturer, Product number, firmware version and uptime
- Status – shows running services, CPU and memory utilization and LAN activity
- Syslog Management – Unlike most NAS products, the Thecus OS has both a syslog Daemon and Syslog service. You can use your Thecus NAS as a syslog target for other devices that have syslog capabilities. You can also log syslog entries to a local folder or to a remote syslog on another syslog server
- File System Check – you can force a file system check on the next NAS reboot
- Wake on LAN – the Thecus supports WOL, but it’s disabled by default.
- Networking – This menu lets you set IPv4 and IPv6 settings, set a static address or DHCP (default) and change the Jumbo frame size.
- System Monitor – four individually configurable monitors let you monitor CPU, Memory Network, Samba, AFP and FTP. Only 2 of the four windows will display graphically. The screen shot below shows a CPU, Memory activity and network interface activity during a large file copy.
Thecus OS6 System Monitor
- Disk Information – This shows information for each installed disk. A built-in utility will test and report SMART statistics if the disk supports it. You can also scan for bad blocks. This menu includes Disk Power Management which will let you select none, 30, 60, 90, or 120 minute disk spin down.
The screenshot below shows the second page of Control Panel categories and icons.