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I saw projects like FreeNAS, but first of all I couldn't even find the download, and also it looks like I'll need to do a lot of Linux programming and headache to get it working. I need something that I can install and have ready to go in less than an hour, with minimal to n programming knowledge.

Frankly, I have a lot of things to do, mostly programming and design work (I work from home), so I don't have the time, energy, or mental strain to spend on configuring a complex system. Thus, I need something relatively straightforward to get me up and going in a short amount of time.

I need to have the NAS wirelessly mounted in Windows on my laptop. At the moment I am not too concerned about remote access - only in-home access.

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FreeNAS is designed to not need any command line programming to set up, but there is a slight learning curve. It sounds like you want an of-the-shelf solution, such as a device from Drobo, Synology, or ReadyNAS - or possibly just install your OS of choice on a PC and set up network shares. –  sblair Mar 30 '12 at 7:19
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Share the drive in Windows over your home network. Right-click -> Properties -> Sharing -> Advanced Sharing. Nothing could possibly be simpler.

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wouldn't that be REALLY slow transfer? –  techaddict Mar 30 '12 at 9:39
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That would depend on your network and hardware. Obviously, wifi is going to be crap for speed, and 1Gbit eithernet will be great. There is nothing particularly slow about this method as compared to others. –  kotekzot Mar 30 '12 at 9:57
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Yea, the only thing that separates a "NAS" from a regular server is that it's designed as a specialized appliance. That is: it's stripped of all other hardware and software features that a PC or general-purpose server might have. This means it's smaller, cheaper, consumes less energy, is quieter, and is simpler, requiring less maintenance/administration and being more reliable for running for long periods of time without rebooting. A regular PC can do the same things, but it'll be slower as a file server if someone is working on it, and it'll be wasteful to use a $2000~3000 PC purely as a NAS. –  Lèse majesté Mar 30 '12 at 10:05
    
Who spends $2000-$3000 on PC? The best money can buy for a PC can be had for under $800 –  techaddict Mar 30 '12 at 14:04
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"Who spends $2000-$3000 on PC?" More nerds than you think. –  Moab Mar 30 '12 at 16:26
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