“AirPort Extreme can turn your external USB hard drive into a drive you can share with all the users on your network and access securely over the Internet. This feature — AirPort Disk — is a simple and convenient way to share files among everyone in your family, office, or class. How does it work? Just connect the external hard drive to the USB port on the back of your AirPort Extreme and — voilà — all the documents, videos, photos, and other files on the drive instantly become available to anyone on the secure network, Mac and PC users alike.” – Well, that’s the Apple Theory, but on the Windows reality it is not that simple…
To get the USB hard drive connected to your private network or iCloud (‚miCloud”) you need to know one important think: Most common USB hard drives are formatted with the Microsoft NTFS standard, but the apple products like Airport stations or Macs only accept FAT32 or the Apple Standard HFS+, the Time Capsules only HFS+. So you have to format your USB to the right standard. In the case that you are an user like me, living in both ecospheres, the only option which is left is FAT32. But FAT32 has got two big disadvantages: On the one hand you can only manage files sizes up to 4 GB, on the other hand formatting is limited to 32 GB partitions. The first you cannot overcome, but the later with the program fat32formatter, which is able to format up to 1 TB.
After plugging the USB hard drive to the Airport Extreme you be able to change properties via the AirPort app on your iPhone or iPad or, if you’ve installed it, via the Airport utility programm on your Windows PC. Further more, you are able to make different accounts to access your USB hard drive in the network. But what about the iPhone or iPad? Is it possible to get access to that drive via the network? Yes, it is! If you are already an File Explorer user it is simple to set up: Just scan the network for new device, select the Airport Extreme and enter your account name and password you’ve chosen during the set up of the USB hard drive to the Airport Extreme. If you aren’t already a File Explorer user, just install the app… 🙂
A further very interesting option is the possibility to add a USB hub or switch to the Airport Extreme base station to add more USB devices like printers or anaother USB hard drive.
Doing all this, I expanded my private cloud / iCloud with a Samsung 1TB hard drive and getting access to it with my iPhone 4S and my iPad 2 via the iOS app ‘File Explorer’!
Stay tuned! 😉