How to Convert a Normal External Hard Drive into a NAS Device

Key takeaways:

  • Converting an external hard drive into a NAS device allows for centralized storage and easy file sharing across a network
  • You’ll need a NAS adapter, a wireless router, and an external hard drive to set up your own NAS
  • Ensure your NAS is secure by changing default passwords, enabling encryption, and keeping firmware updated

Are you running out of storage space on your computer? Do you need an easy way to share files with others on your network? Converting a normal external hard drive into a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device might be the perfect solution for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through the steps to turn your external hard drive into a NAS, so you can enjoy the benefits of centralized storage and effortless file sharing.

What is a NAS?

A NAS is essentially a storage device that connects to your network, allowing multiple devices to access and share files. Unlike a regular external hard drive that plugs directly into your computer, a NAS device plugs into your router, making it accessible to any device on the same network.

Benefits of Converting an External Hard Drive to NAS

  • Centralized storage: With a NAS, you can store all your important files in one place, making it easy to access them from any device on your network.
  • Easy file sharing: A NAS allows multiple users to access and share files simultaneously, making collaboration a breeze.
  • Cost-effective: Converting an external hard drive into a NAS is often more affordable than purchasing a dedicated NAS device.

What You’ll Need

To convert your external hard drive into a NAS, you’ll need the following:

  • An external hard drive
  • A NAS adapter (such as the Cirago NUS1000 or the Addonics NAS Adapter)
  • A wireless router
  • An Ethernet cable

Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Connect the NAS Adapter

  1. Plug the AC power cord into the NAS adapter and then into a power outlet.
  2. Connect the external hard drive to the USB port on the NAS adapter.
  3. Use the Ethernet cable to connect the NAS adapter to your wireless router.

Step 2: Configure the NAS Adapter

  1. Open a web browser on a device connected to your network.
  2. Enter “storage” in the address bar. This should bring up the NAS adapter’s web interface.
  3. Log in using the default username and password (usually “admin” for both, but check the user manual).
  4. Change the default username and password to ensure the security of your NAS.

Step 3: Create Users and Share Folders

  1. In the NAS adapter’s web interface, create user accounts for each person who will access the NAS.
  2. Set up shared folders and assign access permissions to the appropriate users.
  3. Inform users of their login credentials and how to access the NAS.

Securing Your NAS

Now that your NAS is set up, it’s crucial to ensure its security. Here are some tips:

  • Change default passwords: Always change the default admin password to a strong, unique password.
  • Enable encryption: If your NAS adapter supports it, enable encryption for your hard drive to protect your data.
  • Keep firmware updated: Regularly check for firmware updates for your NAS adapter and install them to patch any security vulnerabilities.
  • Set up a firewall: If your NAS adapter has a built-in firewall, enable it and configure rules to limit access to your NAS.

Using Your NAS

With your NAS set up and secured, you can start using it to store and share files. Most NAS adapters come with software that allows you to easily manage your files, create backups, and even stream media to other devices on your network.

Use CaseBenefit
Centralized file storageAccess files from any device on your network
Backup and data protectionAutomatically back up your devices to the NAS
Media streamingStream movies, music, and photos to devices on your network
Collaboration and file sharingShare files with others and work on projects together

Converting a normal external hard drive into a NAS device is a cost-effective way to create a centralized storage solution for your home or small office. By following the steps outlined in this article and taking the necessary security precautions, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a NAS without breaking the bank.


Can I use any external hard drive for a NAS?

Most external hard drives will work for a NAS, but it’s best to choose one that is designed for NAS use. Look for drives with high capacity, good reliability, and compatibility with your NAS adapter.

Do I need a special router for a NAS?

No, you don’t need a special router. Any modern wireless router with an available Ethernet port will work for setting up a NAS.

Can I access my NAS remotely?

Yes, many NAS adapters allow for remote access over the internet. However, this requires additional setup and security measures to ensure your data remains protected.

How much storage capacity do I need for a NAS?

The storage capacity you need depends on your specific use case. Consider the types and sizes of files you’ll be storing, as well as future growth. It’s generally better to have more storage than you think you’ll need.

Can I use a NAS for Time Machine backups on my Mac?

Yes, most NAS adapters support Time Machine backups, allowing you to easily back up your Mac to the NAS drive. Check your NAS adapter’s documentation for specific instructions on setting this up.