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Thread: External Hard Drives via Router

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    External Hard Drives via Router

    Is anyone here able to point me in the right direction on how to set up a system where i can hook up my many external hard drives and then share them with 3 computers over a routered system?
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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    You might need to draw me a picture, Brett. Are these standalone hard drives or USB plug-in drives? Are the computers already networked together? What are the operating systems on each computer? Are all the computers in the same room? Are they wired or wirelessly connected? Does the router also double as an ADSL link?

    The simplest setup would be to network the computers and attach the hard drives to any one, or all of them, then share the drives on the network using your operating software. In that arrangement the network will share the drives with any computer that has access to the workgroup. I hope that helps.
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    at the moment they are stand alone external hard drives with seperate power sources that connect to my stationary lap top. there is another pc in the house that hooks up wirelessly to the modem/router that is connected via ethernet to my laptop.
    i also have a 2nd laptop that i would like to connect to the system wirelessly on occasion

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    What are the operating systems? Even some versions of Window$ won't play nice with each other when networking, especially wirelessly. How are the external drives connected to the stationery laptop?

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    vista-vista-7

    all via usb

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    very important!! what model of router?

    You just twigged my memory module that contained the info as to why I've had a spare USB drive sitting on my desk for the past 6months!.. for that exact purpose

    I'm off to play around with mine too now.

    Other questions of note as well. You mentioned your many external hdds. Did you want to hook up all, or as many as you can, or just one?
    I can't see why you can't hook up as many as you can connect to a USB hub where the USB hub would be connected to the router and the drives hanging off that.

    The brand of router may be important in this, as it'll at least help anyone willing to offer advice on the admin interface for the router(they're all different, that I've noticed).

    bum! I can't on mine. The USB port is a print server connection only(why I bought it all those years ago).. but now redundant as I eventually got an networked laser printer which works faster and better.
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    Dlink DSL-G604T

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    Other side of the hill ... WhoDo's Avatar
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    Ok, the Vista and Vista should be fine; Win7 may have some issues with networking. Are they Pro or Home editions? I just downloaded the Manual for the router and it looks like it should work fine. There are even instructions for using the router to outomatically obtain an IP address on the network since the router also acts as a DHCP server.

    Here is the general network diagram. What part of the setup/configuration has you stumped? Have you put all of the machines into the same workgroup? Have you shared the drives with the members of the workgroup? You should be able to connect your external drives to any one or more of the wired machines and have them shared with the network connected PC's whether those are wired or wireless. I would connect on a Vista machine and share with the others as I'm not real sure about the Win7 ability with sharing. I've had problems with that before.

    d-link_network.jpg
    Last edited by WhoDo; 04-01-2011 at 6:41pm.

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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    NAS enclosure is your cleanest option, single power supply, single cable to the router. 1 issue I have with NAS, is that even over gb Lan it can be slow to do large read, but more so write operations. That is why I prefer 2 HDD in an enclosure attached directly to my Macbook Pro, soon with Thunderbolt (once Apple send it on Monday). If you have anything that only has 100mb ethernet or wireless B/G or even "N" that wont achieve almost the full 300mb bandwidth it will be a snail for large transfers.

    It will also depend upon the speed of the drives, that could well be the bottleneck in the equation if they are old slow IDE or SATA1 drives or if you connect them via USB and a USB hub.

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