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Thread: Remote access to files on an external hard drive...

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Sep 11, 2008
    Remote access to files on an external hard drive...
    Hey everyone,

    I have a major headache trying to figure out the best way to do this, I'm hoping that someone here can help me out. Basically, here's what's going on:

    I have 3 computers on a home network. One is a PC running XP Home, the other two are Macs (one iBook running 10.4, one Macbook running 10.5).

    I recently bought a 1TB external Maxtor hard drive that I'd like to use to store all the music/pictures/movies etc on. This hard drive is connected to the old PC, as is the router/dsl modem combo that runs our internet.

    I also bought an Apple TV a few months ago. Right now everything works great within the network - I can map the external hard drive and access anything I need while I'm on our wireless network.

    Now, ideally I'd like to access these same files when I'm on another WiFi network but I'm a little stumped. People have told me to set up a VPN, but it seems pretty near impossible since the VPN server would be the Windows machine, which has a dynamic IP address. I've tried a few things to get around this - using DYNDNS and an auto updater but whenever I try to connect when I'm away from home I get a "server failed to respond" message.

    Is there another (easier) way for me to do this? All I really want to do is have the 1TB drive accessible whether I'm at home or not.

    Any ideas? Is this a pipe dream?


  2. #2

    mrplow's Avatar
    Member Since
    Oct 01, 2007
    There's no reason why you can't setup an ftp server running on your Windows PC and use something like No-IP. However some routers are notoriously difficult to configure for this.

    You might want to look at a service like MioNet. It came free with my Western Digital ext HDD and offers 'access anyhwere' file sharing.

    Please use the reputation system if you think you've been helped - bottom left of this post

  3. #3
    i would suggest setting up a SFTP server but you can set-up FTP server as well on the windows computer. I would suggest using CrushFTP, its a really nice program which I use on my mac mini. All you gotta do is set up port forwarding on your router and yeah, use a service such as dyndns because of your dynamic IP

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Dec 11, 2009

    I am not computer literate, but I have a problem similar to the one posed at the start of this thread.

    I have a PC with Vista on it, three external hard drives and my macbook, i believe it's leopard.

    I have been able to connect it once. I could see all the drives and all the drives could see me, then they disconnected. I have never been able to reconnect them. Seeing as you have been able to do what I am trying to do, what would you suggest I try to get them all to recognize each other through the wireless network.

    (My wireless network is working for the internet and the printer).

  5. #5

    Member Since
    Dec 08, 2009
    Bournemouth, UK
    Hi there,

    A few options as i see it...Firstly,

    It depends entirely on what you wish to do remotely - if your intention is to just access the network share then i would consider using the free options of 'Logmein' or PCAnywhere - both of these will allow you to access your drive over any browser (securely)and 'manage' your network...both of these options work with either PCs or Macs...

    If you are wanting to access the network share and D/L/stream media to where you are remotely - Mrplow's and Falcontook's suggestions would work with no problems, although require configuration within your router and subscribing to a DynamicDNS vendor to achieve.

    You could setup one of your PCs as a public facing 'server', which you could access remotely and literally 'do what you want with' but if you go with this option, a strong firewall will be required as that PC essentially acts as gateway into your private network...and we all know how vulnerable PCs are...

    VPN is an option, but you can also use legacy RDP protocols on XP to access your networked PCs/Macs - again, this will require configuration on your router and the correct port forwarding rules being applied to achieved.

    As i say, depends what you want to do really?

    Ultimately, the safest option is to just take a drive with you wherever you go and PNP - but let's face it, that's archaic nowadays!

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