The USB ports on my laptop have packed up. It will cost a few weeks that I don't have to get it repaired, not to mention the cost.

I see that Western Digital, and others, are selling a "Personal Cloud", which is basically a harddrive in a casing with a WiFi interface.

Since I have a bunch of hardrives lying around, I wonder if I case just buy the case anywhere and pop in my own drive.

A WiFi interface would be simple, while Ethernet would be faster, but inconvenient, as my laptop has only one Ethernet port.

So, order of preference for interface is:

  • both WiFi and
  • WiFi only
  • Ethernet only

I am currently located in England, at least until their lockdown ends, so something located there, or quick & cheap to arrive by post would be preferable - although I will consider anything.

It's just that customs duty is now a factor, post-Brexit, so it might be cheaper to buy the whole unit here. Ordinarily, I would consider Ali Baba, but have been waiting 2 month already for a battery for my 'phone - can Covid really be having such an effect on shipping?

Any recommendations?

  • 1
    I don't have time for a full answer, but you're looking for a device called NAS - Network Attached Storage. QNAP is a popular and decent brand.
    – jaskij
    Feb 1, 2021 at 8:09
  • 1
    Another option is DAS - Directly Attached Storage. If my memory is right you can get up to four drives on a single USB from QNAP
    – jaskij
    Feb 1, 2021 at 8:10
  • Thanks and upvotes. Yes, I suppose that it is a NAS. But they tend to run expensive, generally because they are multi-bay. A single drive would suffice, or a housing. If I find anything, I will post it. Feb 1, 2021 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


You might look at mixing a usb-to-sata connector (about £10 on amazon.co.uk) unless your discs are already usb, with something like the Verbatim 98243 MediaShare Wireless (about £10), or a router with a usb port like the TP-Link AC750 (£35). They may both be fairly slow, at usb2 speeds, and might only accept limited and proprietory formats like FAT and NTFS, shared over the network as CIFS, or sometimes only via some client software (you will need to check with these 2 examples).

A cleaner solution is a cheap but versatile NAS like the Synology DS120j at £95. This does not have wifi, and unfortunately, Synology recently stopped supporting usb-wifi dongles, so for wifi you will need something like this TP-Link TL-WA850RE N300 hotspot (£15). This NAS needs an internal drive that it will reformat; I'd recommend an SSD so that it is silent. The NAS has a fan but it won't run unless you let it do indexing of your data which is really slow and power hungry. It has nice features like being able to backup to the cloud, with encryption, support for NFS and ext4, and a pretty GUI.

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