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How to use your DD-WRT router for NAS storage

One of the great things about a DD-WRT router is that you can do lots of things with it (as well as using it for VPN of course!). If your router has USB slots (as the RT-ACU66U does), then you can plug in a USB hard drive and use it as Network Attached Storage (NAS) - a centralized storage hub that every authorized person on your network can access.

If you'd like to know more about DD-WRT, we'd also recommend reading our huge  DD-WRT Guide.

This is great for sharing files or resources in the office, or acting as a centralized media streaming server in the household, so that family members can view or listen to a shared library of movies, music or photos, using any computer, smart phone, smart TV, tablet, or other network connected device.

How to set up NAS storage on your DD-WRT router

For this you will need:

  • A DD-WRT router with a USB slot
  • An external USB hard drive or USB memory stick (as far as your router and computer are concerned, these are identical)

1. Attach your USB storage to the router and power it up (if needed).

2. Enter your router config page by typing the router IP address (usually http://192.168.1.1/) into your browser address bar. Click on the ‘Services’ tab, and then the ‘USB’ tab.

3. Enable ‘Core USB Support’, ‘USB Storage Support’ and ‘Automatic Drive Mount’. If you have a spare USB port and want to connect a printer for wireless printing, you can enable ‘USB Printer support’ as well. Click ‘Save’ and then ‘Apply Settings’.

USB enable

4. Details about your USB storage device should appear in the ‘Disk Info’ section. If they don’t, then re-start the router and come back to this page.

5. Click on the ‘NAS’ tab. We are going to use SAMBA for this, so ‘Enable’ it, choose a Server String (name), and add your Workgroup. To discover or change your workgroup:

  • In Windows go to Control Panel -> System
  • In OSX go to System Preferences -> Network -> AirPort -> Advanced -> WINS
  • In Linux / Ubuntu to install Samba, open up a terminal window and issue the command: sudo apt-get install samba smbfs (you will need to enter your sudo password). Go to the /etc/samba/smb.config file and look for the line 'workgroup = WORKGROUP'.

NAS 1

6.  Under ‘File Sharing’, click Add share, select a storage device or device partition from the ‘Path’ dropdown menu, and choose a name for the storage. If you want everyone who joins the network to be able to access the NAS storage then check ‘Public’, and decide whether permission is Read/Write or Read Only.

If you prefer to restrict access to named users then click ‘Add User’ and fill in the details, ensuring that ‘Samba’ is checked. Repeat for each authorized user (or less securely simply share a single User account details with all authorized users).

NAS 2

‘Save’ and ‘Apply Settings’

7. Your NAS drive should now be accessible over your Network:

  • In Windows go to Start -> Network -> [Router name] -> [drive or partition name]
  • In OSX go to File Manager -> Shared pane or Network folder -> -> [Router name] -> [drive or partition name]
  • In Linux / Ubuntu follow these instructions.

Winodws NAS
Here we can see the NAS drive in Windows

Mobile devices should also be able to access the NAS drive, but the specifics depend on which app you use.

Written by: Douglas Crawford

I am a freelance writer, technology enthusiast, and lover of life who enjoys spinning words and sharing knowledge for a living. You can now follow me on Twitter - @douglasjcrawf.

60 Comments

  1. GIOhnny
    Verified User on August 1, 2017
    Reply

    hello i've configured how you showed. everything is fine on local but on dynamic DNS the share is not accessible

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to GIOhnny
      on August 23, 2017
      Reply

      Hi GIOhnny, I don't have this setup at the moment, so test it for you. Sorry. I _should_ work fine on dynamic DNS...

  2. Armando BG
    Verified User on January 13, 2017
    Reply

    Thank you, I followed the steps and finally I can setup my HD USB 2.0 (1TB) with router Buffallo WZR-HP-G450H with DD-WRT 3.0 build 30949, it was only possible conecting in this way => Router HUB USB 3.0 HD USB 2.0 1TB.

  3. Damian
    Verified User on December 18, 2016
    Reply

    Hi, I just tried this tutorial and I got everything working, except that it mounts the drive as read only apparently. When I try to write to it it asks for a username and password (even when he already has my username and password from when I mounted the samba partition) and then I get an error that I have no permissons. I selected read/write in ddwrt webif. I can only see a Lost+found folder. When I click on the "public" option it doesn't ask for a username the second time, but I still can't write to the disk. The disk is ext3. Any clues?

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to Damian
      on December 19, 2016
      Reply

      Hi Damian, Have you tried Sharing the drive (right-click drive -> Properties -> Sharing)?

    2. Robin replied to Damian
      on January 2, 2017
      Reply

      I am having the very same problem. My permissions are set to read/write on both a Mac and Windows 10 desktop and still cannot drag n drop anything. I have to remove the Nas and connect it directly to the computer to move files. I have tried everything

  4. neal yak
    Verified User on November 7, 2016
    Reply

    This works for me, but I cannot transfer any file over 900 MB to my attached USB stick. Smaller files no problem. For larger files the process does not complete and after awhile I get the error that the NAS share cannot be found. Its a 128 GB flash drive with FAT32. DD-wrt on WNDR3700, any ideas? thanks for your time

    1. Douglas Crawford replied to neal yak
      on November 7, 2016
      Reply

      Hi neal, I'm afraid I'll have to throw this one out to our readers. On my DD-WRT router I can transfer files to a Fat32 drive up to 4gb (the file size limit of Fat32).

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