There are a million ways in which using a network drive at home can be super useful. Whether you want an easy and quick way to back up, share files, stream media from multiple computers, or something else entirely, a network drive can be a convenient and easy way to do if set up correctly. Here’s a walkthrough for creating one using your Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) and your Mac.
The first thing you need is an external hard drive with USB. These are pretty common these days, and you may in fact already have one. One thing to remember though, is that you if you plan on accessing the AirDisk from Windows machines as well as OS X machines, you’ll need to have the drive formatted before starting this process, and it will need to be a FAT32 partition.
Once you’ve got the hard drive partitioned, you want to go ahead and plug it into your Airport Extreme Base Station, then open up Airport Utility on your Mac. Once its open, click Manual Setup, then Disks, and your hard drive will show up. Click on the File Sharing tab to set up sharing for your networked computers.
First, click Enable file sharing. A simple and safe security choice is securing shared disks with the Airport Extreme Password, which also makes remembering multiple passwords easy. If you’re sharing with Windows computers, you’ll also need to enter the name of their Workgroup in the Workgroup text box near the bottom. Go ahead and hit Update once you’re done all those steps, let the Airport Extreme Base Station restart, and you will be able to access the AirDisk by going to Finder and clicking your AEBS in the sidebar. Once you select it, click Connect As, enter your password, and click Connect. Now, just double click your hard drive and it will be mounted just like any other hard drive on your computer.
In order to access that disk from a Windows PC, you just need to take a couple actions.
Open up My Computer on the PC. In the left sidebar, click My Network Places. In the next window, in the left sidebar again, click Add Network Place. Select “Choose another network location” and hit Next. In the next window, enter “\\” and then the IP address of your router, which can be found on the first screen when you open Airport Utility on your Mac.
Once you enter this IP and click Next, a Network Folder will be added to your “My Network Places” screen, giving you easy access to your AirDisk from your PC.
How do you use your network drives? Do you know a better way to do it? Have any questions about the process? Comment below!