Network-Attached Storage Solutions

7/28/2013 11:06:40 AM

Use our quick fixes when your NAS drive goes wrong

Network-attached storage (NAS) drives are extremely convenient because they provide a single repository for files and folders that can be accessed from any device connected to the same network. So, it can be deeply frustrating when a NAS drive starts playing up. Our Quick Troubleshooter will help.

Network-Attached Storage

Network-Attached Storage

Connecting to a NAS

Our tips assume that your NAS drive is correctly installed, with folders ready for sharing. The tips apply to standalone NAS devices and USB drives connected to NAS-capable routers.

In XP, open My Network Places, then click ‘Show icons for networked UPnP devices’. Click Yes, then wait until an icon with the name of the NAS appears in the window. Click ‘View workgroup’ computers in the Task pane, and the NAS icon should appear. Double­-click this to view the shared folders. If a user password has been set up on the NAS, this will be needed.

Network discovery and file sharing need to be enabled when using a NAS

Network discovery and file sharing need to be enabled when using a NAS

In Windows Vista, 7 and 8, right-click the network icon in the Notification Area, then choose ‘Open Network and Sharing Center’. In Vista, click the Customize link on the right, then make sure the Private radio button is selected. Click Next, then click Close. Open Windows Explorer and look for the NAS in the Network section.

In Windows 7, click ‘Change advanced sharing settings’ and select ‘Turn on network discovery’ and ‘Turn on file and print sharing’. In Windows 8, go to Desktop views, click the network status icon, right- click the network name, then click ‘Turn sharing on or off’, and choose Yes.

If the NAS drive is not visible in Windows Explorer, open a Run box (Windows + R), type the name of the NAS preceded by ‘\Y then click OK.

Many connectivity problems in NAS-enabled routers are caused by firmware bugs, so check for updates with the manufacturer.

Mapping network drives

Some programs cannot directly access files stored in shared network folders. To get round this, assign folders as drive letters. Right-click the relevant folder in Windows Explorer, then choose ‘Map network drive’. Choose a drive letter, then tick the ‘reconnect at logon’ box. To disconnect, right-click the drive icon and choose Disconnect.

In Windows Vista, 7 and 8, NAS devices are found in the Network section of Windows Explorer

In Windows Vista, 7 and 8, NAS devices are found in the Network section of Windows Explorer

Delete files from shared folders

Some NAS devices have user accounts that restrict access to folders. If you can view files but not delete or change them, it could mean your access rights have been set to read-­only. Enable full read/write access - you’ll find this option in the drive’s settings page.

There is no Windows Recycle Bin on shared network drives, so deleted files cannot be restored. However, some NAS drives have their own version of Recycle Bin - check the settings page.

Get the best performance

If your NAS uses a gigabit Ethernet network connection, your router should too. If it doesn’t, buy a gigabit switch such as the $54 Linksys SE2500 and use this with your existing router. Plug the networked computers and the NAS into the new switch, then connect one of the switch’s ports to a router network port.

Stop saving energy

A NAS consisting of a USB hard disk connected to a suitable router will typically be much slower than a dedicated NAS. Some routers have power-saving, or ‘green’, network ports that restrict them to 100Mbps. This may mean that the economy mode has been turned on. If this is the case, disable it.

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