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I am using my old Pentium 4 to share a 1 TB hard drive and 2 printers on my home network. The only problem with this is that I have to leave the computer on all the time and it feels like an awful waste.. Is there a better solution? Or a way to minimise power usage?

I dont want to spend money on buying a NAS etc.

By the way I have a spare wireless n router lying around unused...

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4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Your two options are to move the devices to another computer or to the network itself.

For the HD, you could:

  • get an external HD enclosure for the 1TB HD and attach it to another computer
  • or simply move it to another computer internally

For the printers, you could:

  • attach them to another computer
  • get a "print server" (essentially a wireless access point with USB port(s))

Other than moving them to another computer, you're probably going to be spending more money than simply leaving the computer on would cost you

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This is a good question for several reasons.

We at home have laptops that can't be upgraded. What should we do with them as 'enhanced' software strains their hardware? Also, one person maintains them all. A company would have servers & an administrator.

I've a 'dumpster' tower. Why not upgrade only it? I'd like to place between the aging laptops, internet, peripherals, printer queues, mail boxes, & constantly-running security programs of all kinds. This would allow our old laptops to continue to run satisfactorily.

I'd also like to install a free voice mail program there and use it as a 'filtering' voice answering machine, eliminating illegal phone spam that fills ours. Debian Linux can read & write to most any filesystem and supports 'green' features.

Now, we haven't many laptops, and we don't need blazing speeds. Extending the life of laptops and freeing my time saves money as well.

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you could get an external encasing for the HDD and mount it and the printer on a wireless USB Hub

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You could go for hard disk-less operation using a SDD card and set the clock-speed of the CPU in the BIOS to the lowest possible. There are also the power management features, but this is always tricky (refusal to get out of sleep mode, etc.).


Are the hard disks and printer all USB devices?

Hardware devices exist for this situation. E.g. the IOGEAR 4-Port USB Net ShareStation:

"The 4-Port USB Net ShareStation enables everyone with access to a local network to access four USB devices (HDDs, printers, scanners, etc.) ... access can be cord-free if the hub is plugged into a wireless router."

However it will set you back USD 100. A two port device is USD 40.

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