A great way to access our files over the Internet is using a NAS or network attached storage device. A NAS is essentially a way of connecting a centralized hard drive to our network, such as a cloud storage, with access to it and all files inside for all of our other connected devices. This makes file sharing and backups much easier when we can do it from anywhere.
The easiest way to get hold of such a device is to go out and buy a ready-made one. However, the simplest does not always mean the best. A NAS-enabled router will allow us to connect an external hard drive via USB for additional storage. Alternatively, we could use a DIY option using a Raspberry Pi or a converted computer.
Regardless of how we get it, we will need to know how to set up the NAS.
How to set up a NAS
To get the most out of the NAS device, we need a few things. First, we need a basic media player such as a personal computer to connect the NAS to our network. Further, the NAS itself, bought in advance or otherwise.
Finally, some additional storage devices, namely hard drives, for storing multimedia files. It is also best to have a high speed Ethernet connection. 1 GB is recommended for maximum performance.
A personal computer can be an HTPC or a home theater system that you can buy directly or assemble yourself. Building your own will be more cost effective and provide maximum flexibility in what we want to achieve with it. It is a computer that allows you to record, transcode files, and clean up metadata.
We could also add Plex or Kodi software to stream media files from different rooms in our house using networked devices. If you want to pre-record TV shows to watch later, this comes in handy.
Additional storage is required to ensure that all files are backed up. The choice of hard drives depends on your personal preference. Just make sure they are big enough to hold all your important data. We also want to make sure the NAS we choose or build has a RAID1 option. Thus, all data is mirrored between hard drives, so if one of them fails, all the data will still be stored on the other.
Set Your Files
The mapping files depend on the selected NAS. A NAS router usually has its own speed, features and capabilities in terms of displaying and backing up files. Synology is one of the best known names when it comes to NAS devices. However, they are usually expensive and some models can be confusing for beginners.
For this guide, we’ll assume you’ve decided to use an old Windows 10 computer instead of the built-in NAS. This will make things easier for anyone familiar with the internals of a PC and the Windows 10 operating system. We will also assume that you have already installed and formatted additional hard drives.
Mapping files to NAS is the same as mapping a network drive Generally speaking, Windows should already be able to see the NAS device under the Network area of ??Explorer. However, there are times when it may not appear. This usually happens due to outdated firmware that requires the SMBv1 client to be enabled in your Windows components.
- Open Control Panel.
- Click Programs and Features. Li>
- Select Turn Windows Features On or Off.
- Scroll down to SMB 1.0 / CIFS Client and check the box.
- You may need to click the + next to SMB 1.0 / CIFS File Sharing Support to see the corresponding folder.
This should be all it takes for the NAS device to appear.
Folder names based on type are safer way. Nothing like Media is usually sufficient for all media purposes if you have a limited amount of data. For large volumes, we could split the media files into folders named Music, Photos, and Videos.
The Documents folder is also a great shortcut to a folder for storing Word documents, PDF files, and other forms of work documents. The backup folder should also be created for obvious reasons.
Folders within folders should be as flat as possible, which means simplicity. Videos don’t need to be broken down into genres – they can be, if you like, but that fades unnecessarily. Any other reasons for folders should be kept to a minimum and marked specifically so as not to cause confusion.
Setting user rights
All that is really required in this case is to set a username and password to access the NAS. You can do this by right-clicking the NAS under Network and choosing Properties> Sharing> Advanced Sharing> Permissions.
From here we can choose standard permissions for everyone who has access to the NAS, or invoke specific permissions for each account. The same process can be done for each folder located on the NAS.
Media device access
We can now set up the NAS with any media center software you prefer. We chose Kodi for our steps.
- Open the main Kodi menu and select Videos.
- Select “Add Video ” then “Browse”.
- At the bottom of the list, select “Add Network Location “.
- Select the protocol by choosing Network File System (NFS).
- Find your home network and select a shared folder on the NAS device.
- Enter a name for the source and click OK.
- Select a media type from the Install Content menu and click OK.
- Select Yes and Cody. will start searching for new content.
Our NAS is now set up for both media streaming and storage. As long as our other devices can connect to the primary media center, they will have access to the data found on the NAS.