I'm a tech beginner. I have an Actiontec router on my FIOS system. Can I connect a hard drive directly to the router and see it with multiple computers if it's not a network drive with it's own networking drivers built in? I have two USB drives available. If yes, where can I find out how to do it? Thanks for suggestions and please forgive me if this is a really dumb question.
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Short answer is no.
Longer answer is that it's theoretically possible with today's technology, but Verizon's router firmware doesn't support it. You could buy a third-party router that might support it, but don't expect Verizon support to be much help with the set-up or maintenance.
To tie onto the above post, what you would need to do for the USB drives is to find a NAS device that allows the linking of USB devices, or you would need to use a PC to share the drives. That would be at least as a temporary solution until the Verizon router support USB drives.
I expected this response. I have two laptops and a desktop with one large drive connected all the time. It's a powerhouse kit I assembled running Win 7. Before I built that I had a desktop running Win XP Pro, as do my laptops, and I had a wireless home lan where each machine could read files and drives on the other machines. But Win7 won't talk to the XP machines in the same way without server software sitting between, as far as I can tell. I have not found a way for the Win 7 to permit file sharing with XP machines. Thanks for your help. If I upgrade the laptops to Win 7 (one is definitely capable, not sure about the second) I would be just fine again.
As Somegirl and Smith6612 said, you can't connect a USB drive to the VZ router.
However, it's perfectly possible to attach the drives to one of your computers and share files between WIndows XP and Windows 7.
See this Microsoft KB article:
There are such things as network drives that can be directly connect to an ethernet. Essentially a small OS that manages the drive, but they are not common. Not as cheap but not out of sight prices. And i/o speed is often faster than on a USB connection.
But as the original poster asked, regular USB connected drives need something to manage them and cannot just be hooked to a typical router and certainly not to the FIOS Actiontec routers.
thanks for the link to the video. I have only partially succeeded in connecting my Win 7 desktop and my WinXP laptop. The desktop, which is connected to the FIOS router via ethernet, sees the XP laptop and files, but I can't get the laptop to see the desktop at all. I've carefully following the video to create the network, matched network names, etc., but the network does not appear on the laptop at all. The laptop is wireless to the Router. Any ideas about why the network is one way only?
One thing that does come to mind is the level of encryption that can be set in Windows 7 for Windows' File and Printer Sharing functions. I know that the default level tends to not play nicely at times with Windows XP machines, and most certainly with devices running Samba such as routers or Linux/MacOS machines. If you visit the Network and Sharing center, you will find an option somewhere that mentions requring the use of 128-bit Encryption for File Sharing. I can't guide you as to where it is further at the moment, but it should show up in a drop down menu or as a radio box. Set that to the lower, less powerful encryption level to see if that helps any. Since you're at home, the encryption isn't exactly needed but is more or less an additional padding if you're transferring over a wireless connection (hopefully WPA2-secured).