I have an 80gig external hard drive, that has all my music and files on it. I want some way to connect it to my network so my wife and myself can access the files with our laptops (we no longer have a desktop). The hard drive is in the FAT format, and i was hoping just to plug it in so i wouldnt have to format it and lose my data. I do not need anything crazy fast or spectacular, just a way that my hard drive can connect through my linksys router so we can wirelessly acces our files (read and write to the drive). Both of our laptops are windows based. Any thoughts?
There are serveral companies that make servers intended to attach USB external drives to a network. Some of them have, shall we say, spotty reviews from users, so buyer beware. And, they are not particularly cheap - ($60-$80 if I remember correctly).
the Linksys NSLU2 is a little old but it is great if you end up wanting to modify it to do more than just share the files. There are a lot of others out there but be careful most of them like the NSLU2 (if I remember correctly) are intended to plug blank drives into and will format the drive after you connect it.
You could connect the external drive to one of your computers and share it over the network. It will be rather slow.
Better would be to take the hard drive out of the enclosure, if you can, and put in one of the computers and share that drive on the network.