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Le Faux N.A.S.

Tutorial for creating your own network attached storage solution.

Steve Smith, host of your Technology Questions Answered, explains and demonstrates how to create a working network attached storage solution without purchasing any expensive dedicated hardware.

Episode #1-38 released on June 19, 2011

Today, we have hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs, video clips, movies, photos, etc... on our computers. You may need more storage space in your computers and network, you may also need the ability to share these files with other computers in your network, and most families don't necessarily have the cash resources to buy a dedicated network attached storage device. Today, we show you how to create your own network storage device from an inexpensive USB hard drive case, a hard drive, and a USB storage device enabled router.

Many routers from Dlink, Linksys, Asus, etc... now come with a USB port for your printers, some are even able to be used as a standard external USB port. If you have one of these routers, you don't need to buy yourself a N.A.S. drive, we are going to make one for you, today.

In today's episode we will demonstrate how to install a hard drive into a USB hard drive case, show several inexpensive hard drive cases, and explain how all this will work.

How much storage space will you need?

This all depends on what you want to make available. Terabyte hard drives are now very inexpensive, so buying a one to two terabyte hard drive is not going to cost very much, and should work well for most applications.

What kind of external case should I purchase?

Any kind you like, as long as it supports the hard drive you currently own, or going to buy. If your buying a new hard drive and case, seriously consider purchasing Sata 2 or higher hard drives and cases. Make sure it has a USB port. Typical cases should be between 20 to 45 dollars, anything higher is just going to be a novelty item or have more features than you will require or use. We purchased three kinds of cases/cradles for hard drives for prices ranging between 20 and 45 dollars.

Is my current router compatible with this technique?

This is a good question. A lot of routers with USB ports are printer port enabled only. One way of determining if your router is enabled for storage is by visiting your manufacturer's web-site or read the product manual. If your router is enabled for storage, there is a good bet that some kind of special software is going to be required on any system in your network that wants to use the networked storage device.

How does one install a hard drive inside a hard drive case/cradle?

The majority of hard drive cases are going to make it easy to install the hard drive inside. The usual routine is to plug in the hard drive into the circuit board/mount. Attach the screws inside the mount and hard drive, slide into case, attach any extra cables like hard drive activity lights, close the box, attach external screws.

What kind of partition should I use when I format the drive?

This is going to be important to know. Are you using Windows machines exclusively or not, how big are the files going to be, etc... General rule is for compatibility, go with FAT32. For storage of files greater than 4 GB, go with NTFS. For windows only networking, NTFS will be best.

What is the final step to creating a working N.A.S. Drive?

You have the drive, you made sure its formatted correctly. You have the router, and its USB storage enabled. You should install the software for the externalized USB port in your computer. In D-Link's case, its called the SharePort Utility. Once installed, the software will detect if any hard drive is attached and powered in the router, you simply need to adjust the settings in the software to allow you to manually or automatically connect to this networked drive.

Is there a way to allow multiple users to use the same device, at the same time?

Unless we are talking about using a shared folder on a computer pointing to this drive, most routers and applications for these routers are not going to allow you to do this, however, certain software solutions like the SharePort Utility, allow you to broadcast to the current running user, that you require the drive in question. This would also be true for current, independent network storage drives.

Can this drive be infected by malware and viruses?

Yes. Bare in mind, that if your going to be irresponsible with the drive, chances are that you will likely have to deal with these eventualities. The best way to prevent infection of the drive, is not to access it until your certain that your own computer or laptop is clean and clear of viruses and malware. If this means, that your kids can't connect to the drive, it only means that your drive will be safer. Keep in mind, like I previously just stated, you may need special software to access the drive, so not installing it on your kids computers may keep them from infecting it. However, if you want to be safe, you can scan the drive using your own anti-virus/anti-malware software in your computer. Just be sure to keep your current security software up to date.

If you have any further questions or comments on this subject, or want to add your own input, you may e-mail us at tqa@zedaxis.net, or if your a YouTube user, you may send us a video reply to this video on YouTube. We, welcome, all input from our listeners on this subject.

This Week's Panic Trick

I've bought a new hard drive, casing, and have a router that is external storage enabled. I installed the software, and read the manual, and when the software loads, everything works fine except that I can not see the hard drive in the Windows Explorer, what's wrong?

You forgot to create a partition prior to setting up the whole process, don't worry, all is not lost. Simply download my favourite software solution for partitions called Easeus Partition Master Home Edition, link in the show notes, and create the partition on the drive, and format the drive accordingly. This will allow your system to see the drive, and use it. Total cost of this solution is free.

Next week, we will be talking about the new generation of HDMI enabled graphics cards and their mysterious sound cards. I'll explain why you may get some issues, and point out some easy solutions to this problem.

Final speech

I'd like to thank you for listening to this week's episode. So, until next week, don't forget to subscribe to my show, for more details and show notes, the listener survey, and much more head over to www.zedaxis.net. Let's see you all back here next week, and remember to stay safe and online. Have a great day, and rest of weekend! This has been your Technology Questions Answered.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Jonny Lee Hart | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions

Sources & Resources