A common problem – you need to connect an external USB hard drive to several computers in the network (Wi-Fi/Ethernet/LAN/TCP/IP). All computers need access to the contents of the disk, but you cannot attach the device to each of them.
There are several simple ways to connect an external drive to a network:
In this article, we will cover both of these ways of sharing USB drives in detail, as well as some additional instructions on how to share files and folders on Windows 10/11 and Mac computers.
Electronic Team, Inc. offers a convenient solution to this problem - USB Network Gate, a software application that enables you to share USB storage devices over the network with other computers.
These are the main advantages offered by the app:
That’s all that is required to share an external drive with other computers. After that, you will be able to transfer files as if the device was connected physically to a computer and not via the network.
Portable hard drives can communicate with mobile phones, tablets, and WiFi-enabled laptops directly with built-in Wi-Fi support. So, you can buy a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device with a built-in network card or opt for a WiFi router with a USB port. This USB port can be used to connect the external hard disk so that it can be shared over the home network.
How to share a USB storage device over Wi-Fi with the help of a router:
This solution is quite convenient and requires no cables or additional hardware, but it is limited by the network availability, unlike Electronic Team, Inc.'s software solution that allows you to share external hard drives over Ethernet, Internet, and other networks. You are not restricted to the area covered by a Wi-Fi signal.
Understanding how to add a network drive to Windows 11 involves mapping network drives from the Windows File Explorer without needing to search for it, or enter the specific network address each time.
Mapping a drive in Windows 11 is quite a straightforward process:
Note: Choose “Reconnect at sign-in” if you’d like to connect each time you sign in to the PC.
If users can't connect to network drives or folders, the remote PC might be turned off.
Another reason could be that the user lacks adequate permissions to make such connection configurations. If that is the case, contact your network administrator for further assistance.
To share your external hard drive on Windows 10, take the following steps:
For users operating Windows 10, certain file and folder network sharing features have changed. This includes the elimination of HomeGroup — which means that the file sharing process in Windows 10 has changed.
Learn how to share files between computers in Windows 10 with just a few steps:
Alternatively, a user can right-click a file/folder to open the context menu and select Give access to > Specific people.
If the user chooses multiple files/folders at once to share them on the network in Windows 10, said files/folders will all get shared.
Below, we’ll lay out step-by-step instructions to show you how to share an external drive between Mac and PC. Thankfully, mapping drives on a macOS computer to all of your other devices is possible with just a few easy steps.
Sharing an external hard drive on Macs is a quite simple process that allows you to manage files and folders from any device.
Users can access the network drives by following three easy steps — as long as the user doesn’t mind repeating said steps if the connection drops, the Mac is rebooted, or the device disconnects.
And that’s it! Now you can easily access the drive from the desktop or the Finder sidebar.
Some users may need access to a server in their office that’s connected to a network drive. The user may also want their team to have access to this drive for collaborative and sharing purposes.
To keep a Mac continuously connected to a network drive (regardless of whether you restart the machine), start with the three steps outlined above, and then follow these additional instructions:
And just like that, now you know how to map the network drive on macOS to remain connected even after a reboot. It should be noted that network drives won't connect automatically if a different Wi-Fi network is used.