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Sharing one external hard drive between 3 computers


I just got 2 new computers for Christmas, and I have a fairly new laptop as well. I wondered if there is a way to have a 2tb hard drive connected via usb to my main pc (that is on all the time) to share with the other 2 computers.

All 3 pcs run windows 7 64 bit, 2 are hard wired (desktop pcs) one is wireless (laptop) via att internet.

Hopefully all 3 being windows 7 64 bit and all being wired will help make this a bit easier but I am not sure how or where to start...

Mainly the things on that 2 tb that I want to share between the computers are music, pictures and some video files.

Thanks for any help on this.

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All Answers

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Piece of cake

In reply to: Sharing one external hard drive between 3 computers

While I won't offer step by step, I can give the basics. All you need to do is have all three PCs networked and in the same workgroup or in a Windows 7 "home group". You decide which PC will host the external drive, connect it and set it up to be shared. You will want all PCs to have at least one user with the same password. You can set up all 3 PCs identically in that regard if you wish and this will simplify the authentication process when a person attempts to access the drive. That's the basics of it. Good luck.

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Small addendum

In reply to: Piece of cake

I said you needed at least one user on each to have the same password. I clarify that to mean that the username and password needs to be identical on each.

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I have the setup . . .

In reply to: Sharing one external hard drive between 3 computers

that Steven mentions. I can share my external USB3 drive among all PCs. What I have found though is if I turn off the external drive it looses its share.

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That happens when Windows

In reply to: I have the setup . . .

"rediscovers" the drive each time it's restarted. Thus, it's like the two just met. I don't know what causes this but It does not happen on my system. Now, if I move an external drive to another USB port that might happen.

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almost there...

In reply to: That happens when Windows

Ok I think I am very close, on the main pc I created a homegroup and on
the secondary pc and laptop i joined that homegroup using the password
given by the main pc.

On that main pc under sharing i checked everything and streaming video
stuff, but on the other 2 pcs when I go to my computer / homegroup and
click on the name of the homegroup origin pc i am not seeing all my

Seems like it is just sharing things that would be in the windows
default for pics or videos etc, (samples and one or two small things I
have in there), on that main pc most of my content is stored via the
external 2tb drive.

I saw a video on youtube about sharing files or folders so on the main
pc under my computer I went to the 2tb drive and hit share but i didnt
see options to share it with homegroup like the video showed it just had
advanced options and i clicked around in those but didnt see anything
that let me share that 2tb drive with the homegroup.

So I know I am getting closer but still need a bit of help telling the
main homegroup pc what to share folders wise with the others in the

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got it

In reply to: almost there...

Apparently I had done it right but was looking in the wrong area, under my computer to left side i was looking under homegroup, looking farther down I saw network and clicked the main pc there and saw the 2tb drive so it seems to be setup and working now !!!!!!!!!

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So tell us ...

In reply to: almost there...

did you do as instructed and make sure that ALL THREE of the computers have an identical user account? For instance if you have a user JohnBoy with a password of Walton on the original computer do you have a user JohnBoy with the password Walton on the second computer and another JohnBoy user account with the Walton password on computer 3 too?

Note, you should log on to each computer at least once with that new JohnBoy account so it actually gets created because until the user logs on the account doesn't show up.

If you still can't share try the edit shown in this post:

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In reply to: So tell us ...

all three are joined to the main pcs homegroup with the same homegroup password but the user name on each system is different, the sharing stuff all does seem to be working tho, just glad to be able to pull up music and video stuff from the main pc (in a den) to the tv/pc in the livingroom and off the laptop vs having to go around pc to pc and move files constantly (and no space on laptop or tv/pc to move it all).

so this networking thing really makes life simpler...

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Forgot to think about this

In reply to: homegroup

I would make sure your external drive was partitioned and formatted by your hosting PC's Win7 utility as NTFS. It it came as FAT-32 and you left it that way, you might run into some odd sharing and/or permission issues.

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