Along with the drives that you choose to install, the ReadyNAS provides some useful features for adding extra storage and enhancing performance. There are no less than three USB 3. Installing the internal drives is a little fiddly, though. The trays that hold the two drives pop out of the front of the unit easily enough when you press down on a small latch, but the next step is a little confusing as it involves slotting the hard disk drives into a flimsy plastic bracket that then has to be lined up in just the right position before you can push the trays back into the enclosure.
It took us a couple of attempts to get it right but, thankfully, once that's done Netgear's ReadyCloud software takes over and setting up the drive on your network proves to be very straightforward. Once you've connected the ReadyNAS to mains power and then to your router, you simply launch your web browser and go to the web page for Netgear's ReadyCloud service. This web page automatically detects the ReadyNAS on your network, and can also check for any problems if the drive isn't working properly.
There are two options for getting started, with simple 'offline' installation allowing you to quickly connect the ReadyNAS to your network and start backing up your files - including using the drive for Time Machine backups on your Macs. The other option is to create a ReadyCloud account, which provides remote access over the internet as well, so that you can connect to the ReadyNAS and retrieve files even when you're away from home. You also use your web browser to manage the ReadyNAS, but we were pleased to see that the various settings are well organised and easy to use.
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All the key features are organised under simple headings, such as Shares for creating individual user accounts, or Cloud for setting up remote access or syncing with other cloud services such as Dropbox or Microsoft Azure for business users. There's good support for Mac technologies too, with options for 'shared' Time Machine backups, which store the backups for multiple Macs in one folder on the ReadyNAS, or 'private' backups for individual users that are all kept separate.
You can even specify the amount of storage space that is allocated to individual Time Machine backups so that no one person can hog all the storage for themselves. It can handle a spot of video transcoding, too; this is limited to p HD video, reflecting the age of the RN, but that should still be fine for most people. And, of course, there's a ReadyCloud app for iOS devices too, which allows you to back up photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad, as well as streaming files that are stored on the drive. Synology is best known for its high-end network and storage systems for business users, but it does have a 'value' range for home users and small businesses.
The DS makes a good first impression. It's sold 'unpopulated', which means it is up to you to buy and install the drives you want, but Synology makes it easy to get started. There are no nuts, bolts or screws to worry about, as the empty drive bays include two trays that pop out with the press of a button. We were able to insert our drives into the trays with no trouble at all, and get started in a matter of minutes.
There's one Gigabit Ethernet port on the back for connecting the DS to your router, and three USB ports - one on the front, and two on the back - that can be used to plug in a memory stick, camera or external hard drive so you can transfer files on to the DS The USB port on the front even has a 'Copy' button just beneath, which can be used to automatically back up any files on your storage devices on to the DS The only oddity here is that the front port is USB 2.
Once you've inserted the hard drives and connected the DS to your router, you can simply type find.
But this is where things start to get a bit more complicated. There's also a QuickConnect option that allows you to connect to the DS over the internet when you're away from home. The DS works well as a media server too, with a powerful 1. There's an iTunes Server option that lets you store a central iTunes library on the DS, and it can stream music to AirPlay speakers too.
The only problem here is that the web browser interface used by the DSM software to control all these features on the Mac is pretty complicated. Different sets of features, such as those for working with music or video are handled by a collection of 'packages', which are like mini-apps that you need to install from within the DSM browser interface. There's a lot of technical jargon thrown around, and new users may well feel overwhelmed at this point. The mobile side of things is complicated too - with around a dozen different apps available for your iOS devices. These do provide useful features, such as the ability to back up photos from your iPhone on the move, and there are even apps for the Apple TV and Apple Watch.
However, getting to grips with so many different apps and features will be a daunting task for most people.
Synology does provide extensive help files and tutorials on its website, and hobbyists who like to delve into the fine details of NAS drives and media servers will really appreciate the depth and scope of the DS However, it's a serious case of overkill for home and small-business users who are simply looking for a straightforward NAS for their Time Machine backups. Buffalo's LinkStation provides a versatile and affordable NAS drive that is suitable for both home and business users.
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But, as we've seen with Buffalo in the past, its products sometimes lack the straightforward ease of use that Mac and iOS users take for granted. There's also a more expensive model called the DR that is designed for use with Western Digital's high-speed Red drives, but the standard D model that we review here should be perfectly adequate for most homes and small businesses. Future upgrades are simple as well, as you can quickly remove the front panel of the LinkStation and pull out the drives by their handles, with no screws or tools required.
To back up different Macs using Time Machine, you can: Do it manually Perhaps the simplest way is to attach the drive to one Mac, let Time Machine run a backup, then disconnect the drive and repeat the steps on another Mac. Open System Preferences on the computer which is connected to the hard drive.
Click on Sharing. Check the box next to File Sharing.
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In this case, share the external hard drive. Click on the Everyone user under Users. On another computer on your network, open a window in the Finder.
Scroll down the sidebar until you see Shared. Select the Mac you'd like to access. In this case, select the shared hard drive. If you are required to log in, you may see a button labeled Connect As Our top equipment pick There are countless hard drives available that support Apple's Time Machine app for backup purposes. Other options The following hard drives are also among our favorites for These HomeKit accessories will start the holiday season off right Bring your holiday lights into this century with the help of Siri and HomeKit! How to use Time Machine with multiple Macs.
Google Help. Send feedback on Help Center Community. G Suite Admin Contact us. Choose a sync solution There are 2 ways to access Drive files and keep them in sync on all your devices. Backup and Sync is our consumer sync client, but organizations can use it, too. Access Google Drive like a folder on your hard drive.
When you access Google Drive on your computer, you see My Drive. You can find Shared drives only in Drive on the web.
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