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Standard User bigalxyz123
(newbie) Sat 09-Feb-13 12:23:33
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New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTFS?


[link to this post]
 
Hello forum,

I'm having a little trouble with a new Seagate 2GB external hard drive. I had hoped to set it up so that I could dump all my "data" on there & be able to access it (read/write) throughout the house.

I have a laptop running Windows 8 and an iMac running Mac OS 10.6.

My first preference was to use my broadband router's USB port to connect the drive to. It's an Orange Bright Box router, and it will do this sort of thing, but the online guidance told me it needed to be formatted with FAT32 or NTFS.

FAT32 also works fine with my iMac and my laptop, but has (I gather) a 4GB file size limit, which I can't live with.

NTFS works fine with my laptop but my iMac is read-only with NTFS (I gather it's possible to get NTFS write access with a Mac but it can be problematic).

exFAT works with both computers fine (read/write) but when I format the drive with exFAT and connect to the router, the router won't see it.

I suppose I could format the drive as a Mac drive (HFS+?), but again I don't think that helps because the router's documentation suggests that it wouldn't be able to see it (although I have no way of being sure of this without trying).

I don't want to keep the drive plugged into the laptop - clutter. At the moment it's formatting with exFAT and plugged into my iMac, and everything works, but very slowly - file transfer from Mac to laptop (2 stage process via the router, wirelessly) is very slow - not quite enough to be able to watch video without interruptions. And I can't connect the drive to my router because of the above.

Am I stuck? Or is there some clever way that I'm not aware of of getting everything working together?

Thanks!
Alan.
Standard User yarwell
(sensei) Sat 09-Feb-13 12:46:01
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
I wonder if the router would recognise a Linux file system like ext3 or ext4 on its usb port ?

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Standard User bigalxyz123
(newbie) Sat 09-Feb-13 12:52:48
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: yarwell] [link to this post]
 
Thanks - hadn't thought of that.

I suppose I could use a utility like GParted to set it up like that. I'm reluctant to try though because I can't find any info online - google search doesn't really show anything up. Ditto HFS+. I wondered if the router was a rebadged thing & that if I know what it was on the inside (Netgear or whatever) I might be able to find out more. Could contact Orange helpdesk I suppose, but I suspect I'd just waste a load of money on my phone bill & not get anywhere!


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Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 09-Feb-13 13:14:25
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
Of course it is a rebadged thing but nothing so simple as Netgear.
Arcadyan Technology Corporation, Science Park, Hsinchu, Taiwan.
but their website has gone; so they probably have too.

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User bigalxyz123
(newbie) Sat 09-Feb-13 13:37:39
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: XRaySpeX] [link to this post]
 
Thanks. Have just emailed Orange for their advice (but I bet I don't get any!).
Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Sat 09-Feb-13 14:08:12
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
If the drive is connected to the router (USB) then it isn't connected directly to a computer so the only thing that needs to understand the filesystem is the router.

As far as the computers are concerned they are connecting to a network share, probably SMB/CIFS (Samba) or maybe NFS, WebDav or FTP.

A problem would be if the router doesn't present a (platform agnostic) share and requires you to install some kind of driver or software on each client computer. But assuming this complication does not arise:-

So if the router only supports attaching a drive in FAT32 and NTFS (at least in the Web UI) choose NTFS. As has been mentioned the underlying router OS probably supports ext4 and several others but you may need to go under the bonnet and set that up in the config files.

The nnly impact of the filesystem choice will be things like file size limit (which for you rules out FAT32) and the range file permissions / ACLs

Bear in mind that the USB connection limits the transfer rates to something less than 50MB/s and if the router does not have any gigabilt ports that drops to less than 12MB/s so don't expect stellar performance with this setup especially with large files.

Edit:
Another option, (though needing a spare PC) would be to install something FreeNAS or NAS4Free as you can add storage using relatively cheap internal drives. For external drives eSATA is a faster connector (you can put a standard SATA drive in a eSATA caddy if needed).



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on iDNET: ADSL2+ / 21CN at ~4Mbps / 700kbps with IP4/6

Edited by prlzx (Sat 09-Feb-13 14:23:19)

Standard User XRaySpeX
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 09-Feb-13 14:25:00
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
You mean a 2TB external HD?
In reply to a post by bigalxyz123:
my iMac is read-only with NTFS (I gather it's possible to get NTFS write access with a Mac but it can be problematic).
Does that matter? The Mac won't actually be accessing the drive; the BrightBox will. The Brightbox enables read/write access to its drive.

Here's a test. Can the Mac write to the NTFS drive on the laptop over the network? If so, then it's the same situation.

1999: Freeserve 48K Dial-Up => 2005: Wanadoo 1 Meg BB => 2007: Orange 2 Meg BB => 2008: Orange 8 Meg LLU => 2010: Orange 16 Meg LLU => 2011: Orange 19 Meg WBC
Standard User bigalxyz123
(newbie) Sat 09-Feb-13 14:41:25
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: prlzx] [link to this post]
 
Many thanks - would be perfectly happy with NTFS except for Mac's inability to write to NTFS. Or are you saying that if I connected the drive to the router, the Mac would be ok (because the router's ok)? Forgive my ignorance - I'm reaching the limits of my knowledge on this stuff (which is quite limited!).

Alan.
Standard User micksharpe
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Sat 09-Feb-13 15:16:13
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
The way in which the drive is formatted will be hidden from the clients. They will just see it as some kind of "network" drive. Format the drive as NTFS and give it a go.

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Standard User prlzx
(experienced) Sat 09-Feb-13 15:17:59
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Re: New External Hard Drive - Home Sharing - FAT32/exFAT/NTF


[re: bigalxyz123] [link to this post]
 
Yes it is the router is reading / writing NTFS, not the computers.

If the router is sharing the drive using SMB (sometimes called Windows file sharing even though it not specific) the following applies:-

On your Mac, the router will show up as a networked computer / server icon (often a Windows bluescreen style icon).

The share will appear as a folder inside that. Depending on how the router handles it it will present either the whole drive or a folder (and everything under it).

Same with Windows and Linux

You can help things by making sure the router, Mac and Windows all have the same WorkGroup setting (Window 8 confuses things by instead pushing the HomeGroup concept to the fore and hiding some of the (Home/Private or Public) what-kind-of-network choices).

On Mac and Linux the "filesystem" of the shared drive will show as SMBFS or equivalent regardless of how the drive is formatted.

If the underlying service on the router is Samba, it would allow you to setup multiple shared folders with different group/user permissions but the router's WebUI might only offer simplified options.

Personally the way I might use a router with USB drive sharing would be to plug in a USB stick (16/32GB or so) and use it for secure remote access storage (if the router can also run a VPN service).

I think 12MB/s will be too frustrating for a 2TB drive (2 days continuous to fill it so once you have tested it works you should probably pre-populate it while attached to a computer!)



prompt $P - Invalid drive specification - Abort, Retry, Fail? $G
prlzx on iDNET: ADSL2+ / 21CN at ~4Mbps / 700kbps with IP4/6

Edited by prlzx (Sat 09-Feb-13 15:31:01)

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