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 have a 1 TB external hard drive that I'd like to share over my local network. What is the best way to do this ? FTP, Windows sharing, etc. ? Most of the computers run Windows XP/Vista.

PS: Is there anyway to share an external HD without having it permanently connected to a computer? An external HD that would have built in network sharing capabilities?

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The easiest method is definitely Windows shares.

  • In My Computer, right click the drive and select Sharing and Security
  • You will see a screen like this:

alt text

  • Check the box that says Share this folder on the network
  • If you'd like users to be able to make modifications, also check off Allow network users to change my files. (Remember, you can also separately configure permissions on specific locations if needed)
  • Set the share name to something apparent so users know which share is your drive
  • Your firewall is probably already configured to allow shares, but if not, it will tell you in the bottom as seen in the picture so you can change it.

As for an external HD with networking capabilities, you'll want a NAS. These are great to have around and they allow you to use it without having a computer on. They have their own NIC and will be given an IP from your router just like any other network node:

alt text

share|improve this answer

I would use windows sharing. The easiest way to implement this is by right-clicking on the folder you want to share, and click on 'Sharing.'

PS: Yes you can share a hard-drive on the network, but you will need a special type of hard drive. This is also known as NAS - network attached storage. The storage device will need its own network card and IP address on the network.

hope this helps

share|improve this answer
Thanks for the help. Would you recommend any brand of consumer friendly NAS? – Olivier Lalonde Dec 15 '09 at 10:20
I haven't had any personal experience with these devices, but I've never had any issues with Western Digital (some will say otherwise). I know these guys do a pretty cheap 1TB drive with gigabit ethernet so it may be worth looking at. – JT.WK Dec 15 '09 at 10:49

I used openWRT router with build in usb port (Asus WL 500W) and hdd in usb enclosure. But I think I will buy Western Digital MyBook World Edition NAS soon.

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

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