Is Network Attached Storage a box you connect to your switch through Ethernet, that appears on the network as a drive, and can be mapped in Windows as a logical drive letter and accessed by multiple computers, and configured through a web browser, without installing special software on the computers?
That’s what I want. I hoped I could buy something labeled “NAS” and get it.
But the ones I am finding for sale online all have software disks with them and list which versions of OS they are compatible with. Why?
Maybe the software is for backup, multimedia play, or other stuff I don’t want. Maybe I can ignore it. In a couple cases, user reviews seem to say this.
But I don’t want a repeat of the experience I had a few years ago when I bought something I thought was that, and it turned out to only be accessible through special software you have to install on the user computer. One user could activate the device by using the software, but had to execute a special function to release the hardware so other users could access it. Worse, it didn’t appear exactly like a drive - in particular, it rearranged files when it stored them, and organized them strictly by extension (or "type).
How can I make sure I’m getting something that just looks like a remote logical drive?