router & external hard drive

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by preklbt, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. preklbt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    #1
    Just bought a macbook pro, (OS X 10.6.2), we have a pc, that the Linksys (WRT54G) router is connected to, the printer is networked thru this router. I have a Maxtor OneTouch external hard drive this is connected to the pc thru a usb connection (I primarily use this to store my pictures & documents). I was able to set things up so that I can access these pictures thru my macbook, but I am unable to save anything to this hard drive. From what I've read I'm assuming it's the difference between how a pc & a mac read/format these hard drives.

    So, my question is, if I had an apple airport extreme as my router instead would I then be able to connect this Maxtor external hard drive to it & both the macbook & the pc read & write files to it?

    Or if I reformatted (after saving all the content first) the hard drive so the macbook could read/write to it, could I still have it connected thru the pc, like I do now? I'm looking for a solution that doesn't require the external hard drive directly connected to my macbook, for portability reasons.

    Thanks so much for any help you can give, if it helps I'm new to mac.
    Tami
     
  2. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #2
    When you say the MacBook can't write to the drive, do you mean when it's connected directly to the MacBook, or when you're connecting to it remotely through the PC?

    In general, if you have sharing (including write permissions) turned on on a PC, the Mac will have no trouble writing to the drive regardless of what format it's in--so long as the PC can read it, and share it, it will work. This would be one way to do what you want, the only disadvantage being that the PC needs to be on to connect to the drive.

    If you're connecting DIRECTLY, format matters; the MacOS can, by default, read and write FAT but only read NTFS, unless you install 3rd party support software (there is a free option). Windows can read and write both NTFS and FAT, though NTFS is a newer, much more advanced format. For compatibility reasons, most externals come formatted as FAT. The "native" format of a Mac drive, however, is HFS+, which Windows cannot read unless you install extra software. Again, if it's being shared over the network, the only thing that matters is if the sharing computer it's connected directly to can read it, so in your case either NTFS or FAT would work if it's shared through the PC (NTFS is better than FAT, but if you might want to plug it into the Mac directly at some point FAT is probably a little safer).

    If you had an Airport Extreme, you could connect the drive to it, as you're imagining, and you should be able to connect to the drive and read/write from either the Mac or the PC (at least, I'm pretty sure the AEBS supports Windows networking). This would probably require you to reformat the drive, though, to get it into a format the AEBS can use.

    That said, access probably won't be the fastest with this setup; the AEBS can share a drive, but that's not its forte. Were I in your shoes I'd spend the money I would have used on an AEBS on a new NAS drive (hard drive with network sharing built in), which are quite cheap these days. Then you can connect it to your existing network, and access it from both computers. The dedicated network drive should perform better than the AEBS, and you have your current drive to use as a backup drive for it (if you're not backing up, you're playing with fire!).
     
  3. preklbt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    #3
    Thank you for the information.

    As far as writing to the external hard drive, I can't write to it from the macbook, the drive is connected to the pc thru usb connection. I can access it, open files or even copy files from the drive to the macbook, but not save to it. I have all the file sharing options chosen on the pc, I don't know what I'm missing. At the apple store, the 1 to 1 person thought the 2 wouldn't be able to communicate.

    What NAS drive do you recommend?

    I haven't set up Time Machine yet, but plan to soon, want to figure out what I can use this ehd for first.

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it!
    Tami
     
  4. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #4
    Ok, if you can connect to the PC from the Mac (which should work fine--the MacOS has Windows network/file sharing support built-in), but can't write to the drive, the problem is on the PC end. You probably haven't given whatever user the Mac is connecting as write permissions to the shared files, and you'd be seeing the same issue if you were connecting from another PC. Double check your sharing settings, or you can probably Google up a tutorial--I don't have a Windows box in front of me to remind myself where those settings are.

    As for NAS hardware, I know WD makes the "MyBook World" series, which are inexpensive, and I've generally had good luck with WD hardware. I haven't used one of these (or any other standalone NAS) myself, though, so I can't really make any recommendations. (Personally, I have an external WD drive connected to a Mac Mini which acts as a file server for the rest of the computers in the house, and I use more pro-grade hardware for the fileserver at work.)
     
  5. preklbt thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2010
    #5
    I'm not sure what I am misssing... I have checked on the pc, I seem to have it set up for file sharing. The pc sees my macbook as a user on the network. I've tried googling for further help, but some of what I find I don't understand!

    If anyone has a simple, easy to follow solution, I'm all ears! Maybe it's something simple I'm missing!

    Thanks for all the help!
    Tami
     

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