How To: Creating an External Wireless HDD

Discussion in 'MacBook' started by morphalex, Jul 22, 2009.

  1. morphalex macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2008
    Alright guys Welcome! This is a tutorial for you guys that have an extra mac mini laying around. I believe some of you might be interested in doing this to save yourselves a couple of extra hundreds of dollars! I will be teaching you how to create a Time Machine and External HDDs all wirelessly without having to buy an Airport Express or Time Capsule. You use the drives you want!

    Things you'll need for this process:

    One external hard drive formatted FAT32 or HFS+--- (or 2 if you prefer to have time machine separate from your other data storage)

    A Mac Mini or any other Mac as the server (This cannot be in sleep mode or be turned off)

    Obviously another Mac/Macbook/Air for your wireless needs


    Step 1: Plug everything to your Mac Mini and boot it up as usual. All your external drives should automatically be mounted.

    Step 2: Go into your System/Preferences/Sharing and enable File Sharing.

    Step 3: Add all your external hard drives into the File Sharing window and enable Read&Write for all. (Remember your admin password for the mini because you'll need it to access your drives later, I removed my password altogether for convenience).

    (The following steps is not created by me but works flawlessly, I do not take credit for this method, I only revised it for easier reading).

    Step 4: On your Mini, open up Terminal using Spotlight, then type in
    df -k

    Step 5: It will show you all your drives by Volumes. Look for your external drives you wish to configure for wireless. Write those names down. For me it is...

    /Volumes/EAGLE HDDS
    /Volumes/Time Machine

    Step 6: Now type in your root cmd
    sudo su-

    Step 7: Type this in afterwards
    vi /etc/smb.conf

    Step 8: Press "Shift G" to go to bottom of page

    Step 9: Now hit O to enable typing, type the following in
    [Any Name you want for the drive]
    comment = Any name you want for the drive
    path = /path/to/usbdrive/shown/in/your/df-k/
    browseable = yes
    readonly = yes

    Next hit "esc" and then "colon" and finally "wq"

    So for example on mine, I did

    [External HDD 1]
    comment = Eagle
    path = /Volumes/EAGLE HDDS
    browseable = yes
    readonly = yes

    Now that you have completed all the hard work, go to your Macbook, press "Cmd K" to bring up the Connect to Server window in OS X. Type in the following:

    smb://YourMacMiniIP/Your External Drive Name (eg.EAGLE HDDS)

    If you have password enabled on your mini, it'll ask you to input it, if you don't have password like me you can just press enter. The drive should now automatically mount on your desktop or Finder and you can access all files wirelessly! Congratulations!

    If you need to create one for a time machine. Repeat the Terminal steps replacing the corresponding name of the drive with your Time Machine drive's name. Note: in order to connect to Time Machine wirelessly, you'll have to type the following in instead of the smb://IP/HDD Name:: due to the Time Machine Partition having to be in HFS+ Journal (extended) mode.

    afp://IP/HDD Name

    Now you can go into your Time Machine preferences on your macbook and change the disk to your networked drive.

    I hope this is not confusing for you guys, but if you have questions please PM me and I'll respond ASAP.
  2. -tWv- macrumors 68000


    May 11, 2009
    good how-to. easy to understand. I have no need for this but If I did it would be easy with your instructions.
  3. morphalex thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 6, 2008
    With this method all your computers (Windows, Linux, Mac) can connect wirelessly to your drives...Great for movies in another room without having to move files around or hard drives around. Playing files off the server wirelessly didn't give me any lag.

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