Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I searched and didn't find any answers, so please forgive me if this is a repeat.

Anyway, I have an older computer that I'm using as an HTPC, and I was hoping that I could use it as a NAS/multimedia server, as well. My primary uses would include accessing content on my PS3 (same LAN), accessing content from other computers on my home network and (if I can) accessing content from my Android phone over the internet.

I have used SubSonic to stream music to my Android phone and other computers before, but I would really like to find a way to do this natively if possible. I know that I can buy external hard disk cases that can plug in the USB port of my router, that I can get a Drobo or other network storage solution, but I would really just rather not spend the money (especially considering that I already have a computer that I should be able to use).

Hardware involved:

  • Apple AirPort Extreme base station router (most recent revision)
  • Home Theater Personal Computer: Core 2 Duo @ 2.4GHz, 8GB DDR2 RAM, ~3.5TB hard drive space
  • Sony Playstaiton 3 Thin 120GB
  • HTC Thunderbolt (I have 4G coverage) rooted and running Android 2.2.1
  • Various Apple laptops
  • Various Windows 7 desktops/laptops

Thanks in advance!

Note- I have looked at open source NAS software but I would like to preserve the Windows Media Center functionality in Windows 7, so other NAS software is not an option for me currently.


share|improve this question
You might be better with using an open source NAS… – Moab Apr 12 '11 at 15:16
More info – Moab Apr 12 '11 at 15:17
I appreciate both of your comments, but I would like to preserve the Windows Media Center functionality, as well. This would involve not removing Windows 7 from the box. – Enyalius Apr 12 '11 at 15:20
I'm not exactly clear what you're missing. You have the file server built into Windows already, and Windows Media Player can provide a streaming media service. What else do you want from your NAS box? – Christi Apr 12 '11 at 15:49
Christi, I really don't know how to set up the file server in Windows or how to set up WMP to provide streaming to mobile devices. Some instruction on how to properly configure this would be sincerely appreciated. – Enyalius Apr 12 '11 at 16:00

As Christi says in the comments, you have what you need to do what you want.

Here's some basics to get you started...

Sharing folders with Windows 7: "How do I share folders in Windows 7 with the Shared Folder Wizard?"

Streaming media with WMP: "Stream your media to devices and computers using Windows Media Player"

Hope that helps, and if you have further, more specific questions as you do this come back to SU and ask those questions.

share|improve this answer

A stand alone NAS provides additional functionality in regards to data protection and fail over redundancy using some form of RAID. A typical NAS box handles this behind the scenes and presents any attached device on the network a file share for the device to utilize.

In your situation, it appears you're ultimately just trying to make sure you're getting the most of out your htpc and its contents. Windows will do that to an extent, but may be limited when dealing with other non-windows devices like the PS3 or mobile OS's. You may instead want to look into a different DLNA server like PLEX, twonky, or firefly media servers to handle that lifting in place of WMP file sharing capabilities.

But as far as your HTPC's storage layer, that will ultimately be the function of your drive controller. Your on-board disk controller may be enough to handle the RAID disk replication should you want to do it. You may need an additional internal expansion controller to add additional drives, handle disk visualization/JBOD to allow windows to see just "one big drive" when you open My Computer. This controller could even have an eSATA port to allow you to plug in an external SATA backplane which is just another box that sits next to your computer with drives in it.

share|improve this answer

I use sharing folders in windows 7 and then a program like wild media server for streaming to xbox and PS3... There are freeware programs that will do the same thing

I also have had good success with the go flex seagate network hard drives, they aren't reviewed very well online but for streaming content to ps3 and xbox mine has worked flawless for 2 years and was just over 100 bucks for 2TB, plus I can access it anywhere, although the remote access feature is slow, anywhere on my home network it's quick and has been reliable!

I am trying to figure out if what NAS does that I don't already do?

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .