How to Network Your External Hard Drives

External hard drives can be used as backup or regular hard drives depending on your needs. Being able to use them from all the computers on the network will allow you to enable periodic backup from all the computers to a centralized location. You can also use it to have all your media files, such as video, music and photos accessible for everyone. If your external hard drive enclosure does not have a network connection, you need to either purchase a new enclosure or share the hard drive from your operating system.

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New Case

Step

Purchase a new enclosure with a network port. Make sure to choose an enclosure compatible with the size of your hard drive (3.5-inch or 2.5-inch) and connection type (PATA or SATA).

Step

Disconnect the power cord of the external hard drive you are currently using. Open the enclosure using a small screwdriver. Once open, remove the screws that secure the hard drive in place.

Step

Disconnect the hard drive from the power and SATA or PATA cable inside the enclosure. Open the new enclosure and connect the hard drive to the power and SATA or PATA cable.

Step

Secure the hard drive with screws and close the enclosure. Plug the external hard drive into the power and network. Follow the manufacturer’s manual to connect to the hard drive from the computers on the network.

Sharing folder

Step

Connect the hard drive to the computer that stays on longest during the day. If the computer is turned off, the hard drive will not be accessible.

Step

Check your operating system manual to share the hard drive on the network. If you wish, you can set up credentials to only allow access to certain persons.

Step

On the other computers on the network, use the network discovery tool to find the shared hard drive.