Can I use a USB-to-ethernet adapter to network an external hard drive?
Question by Izieh /

I bought an iOmega 1TB USB hard drive and was wondering if it’s possible to directly attach it to my Linksys WRT54G series router (which has NO USB ports) with a (female) USB-to-(male)ethernet adapter, like this.

Basically, my question is, will the router recognize it and know what to do, or do I need special software and if so where would I find it? If the adapter I showed above won’t do the job, is there one that will?

Other random info: all computers in the house are Windows (XP – 7).

If you need to know anything else let me know.

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Answers (6)
  • Gustavo Ibarguengoytia

    I am pretty sure it wouldn’t work.

    What you can do is hook your external HDD to any Computer in your and have your map the drive on every other computer. So that way when ever the drive is connected on Comp A, Comp B can access it if both computers are connected to the same network.

    You can map your drive by following this tutorial:

    In summary:
    1.- Connect your drive to any PC.
    2.- In that computer open My Computer
    2.1.- If you are using Win 7 you will see a button that says “Map network drive”.
    2.2.- If you are using  Win XP go to the Tools menu and select “Map network drive”
    3.- Follow the tutorial.
    3.1.- Select the drive that you want to Map.
    3.2.- Select “Reconnect at login”.
    4.- Click “Finish”.

    If everything went down smoothly you should be able to see your drive in all of your computers while the host PC (Comp A) is turned on, the drive is connected to it and the Comp is connected to the same network than all of the other computers.

    • Gustavo Ibarguengoytia

      Please disregard the second paragraph (the one above the link: “What you can do…”).

      I am falling asleep so here it goes again.

      “What you can do is connect your external HDD to any computer in your house and map the external drive, that way when ever the drive is connected to this computer, Comp A, any other computer (B, C, D…) can access it if they are connected to the same network”.

    • Yozman

      Right so the main problem with that is that if I the computer goes into hibernation or gets turned off/restarted the hard drive needs to be rebooted as well, which is a hassle I was hoping to avoid. If there is a way to fix that issue I’d very grateful!

    • James Bruce

      One solution is to setup a low-power always-on server, and install a simple network file server OS on it such as freenas. You could run that on any old piece of junk tucked away in the cupboard, and it doesnt need a mouse / keyboard monitor after setup – just hook it into your network and start plugging as many USB drives in as you like. Machines capable of running it are literally being dumped everyday, just head down to the city “recycling” center, or get one off a geeky friend or ebay or craigslist. A laptop would be fine, as those are much lower power than regular desktop PCs. Perhaps a fresh article is called for? On the case!

  • James Bruce

    Not with that adaptor no – it doesnt convert anything, it literally just changes the plug and pins which signals go out on. It would for instance, enable you to use network cable to plug a USB device in across longer distances (or cheaper than USB). 

    This would let you do it, but apparently its $55.

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