Adapting Your USB Drives To Work Cross-Network
If you own a USB memory stick or a USB hard drive, or followed the approach in my Informit article to convert a conventional hard drive into a USB drive, you might consider investing in a USB-to-Ethernet network storage adapter so that you can easily use your USB drive throughout your network. In this article, I'll show you how to use the D-Link Express EtherNetwork DNS-120 Network Storage Adapter to share a USB storage device on a Windows network. The DNS-120 runs about $100. I opted to go with the DNS-120 over a competing product by Linksys called the Network Storage Link for USB 2.0 (NSLU2). The Linksys uses a proprietary disk format for USB IDE drives that you connect to it, rendering the disk no longer directly attachable to a computer via USB. The DNS-120, on the other hand, lets you connect your existing drives to the unit.
Of course, you could opt to plug your USB storage device into a computer and then share the drive by using the sharing facilities provided by the operating system. However, creating such a share requires that your hosting computer be powered on for the rest of your networked computers to be able to access the shared drive. The D-Link DNS-120 doesn't require your USB drive to be connected to a hosting computer for you to use it.