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Recommendations For Accessing An External Hard Drive Wirelessly?


GreatTiger
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I currently have a USB 3.0 2TB external hard drive.  I use it to store pictures, videos, and overall computer backups.  My family seems to be taking more hi-res photos and videos lately so having storage capabilities for such files is important to us.

 

My wife was asking if it was possible to access external storage wirelessly.  Our current hard drive cannot be accessed wirelessly (I believe this because it has no connection but USB) so I was looking for recommendations on a good but reasonable setup to do this.  Also, I feel like she might be more diligent about backing up her devices and files if she could do so wirelessly.  Finally, being able to access the files wirelessly when and where we want them would be great.  Currently to get them we have to plug in to the USB hard drive. 

 

The devices we would like to backup wirelessly to one central external source are:

1.  A few Windows PCs (two Windows 8.1 and one Windows 7)

2.  My wife's iOS devices (iPad and iPhone)

3.  My Windows Phone

 

I believe 2TB of storage would be sufficient as I still have about 50% left on my current external hard drive.

 

I do use SkyDrive for cloud storage, but I would like a wireless home solution too because we have gigabytes of photos and videos and to use SkyDrive solely could be costly.  Also, I feel better about the redundancy of having things stored locally and in the cloud.

 

I am looking for how others have done this and maybe recommendations on what to buy based on what I am looking to do.  Ideally I would like to spend less than $200 but if something great exists in the $200-$300 range I would like to know about it anyway.  I'm not a complete tech noob but I do feel like one on this topic.

 

Cheers and thanks for the help!

 

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I suggest you create a home group on your home network. In the Windows PC world that is, you can have your PCs and Windows tablets join the home group. You can then share any drive that's connected to a home group computer. Then your wireless computers will have access to anytime that's shared. As far as external backup, I suggest you use Carbonate, or LiveDrive. I personally use LiveDrive because it allows you to backup more data at a smaller price than Carbonate.

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Have you looked at Pogoplug?  They have a device that uses an external hard drive and turns it into a network share. http://pogoplug.com/devices.  I have used pogoplug in the past.  Jim Collison from theAvergeguy.tv also has used it.

 

There are also various devices like the Western Digital my cloud.   http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=1140.  I have no experience with these.

 

There are probably some other devices that will put a USB HD on the network but they often end up needing special software installed.

 

There are also NAS devices from Synology and QNAP that will do what you want.  Depending on how much money you want to spend you can create a large storage pool.  There are 2 bay Synology devices for about $200 and you can plug in an external HDD.

 

If you are looking for other suggests you might post your question over in the Home Server Show forums http://homeservershow.com/forums/.  That community is a sister site to SurfaceGeeks and since you are talking about home storage the guys over there will probably have some recommendations for you too.

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That's how I do it schoondog! Works great. Another suggestion is that if you consistently leave a windows PC on all the time, you could attach the USB drive to that machine and then share the drive on windows 7 or windows 8.  Homegroup is a great option if connecting only with Windows 8 devices.

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I did just buy a new wireless router with a USB connection (finally upgraded from 'g' speed to 'n') - I plugged my external USB hard drive into it and I can't seem to find it as a network drive in File Explorer.  Does the hard drive also need a LAN connection to the router or should I be able to see it with just the USB connected? 

 

I do utilize a HomeGroup too but because I have all laptops and tablets I try not to keep any of them on constantly.

 

Thanks again for the feedback!

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I had to turn on a configuration setting on the routers configuration page to share the drive, on my netgear router.

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