One device to store it all
Network hard disks, otherwise known as Network Attached Storage (Nas) devices, are popular in business for backing up large amounts of data, but have until recently been too complex and expensive for homes.
Netgear's Stora is a Nas unit designed to store all the media in a typical household, without the technical complexity.
The device is a small black box about the same width and length as a CD case, but about 18cm tall. The unit we reviewed contained a single 1TB (1,000GB) hard disk, though other capacities are available. It cannot connect wirelessly so it's necessary to use the supplied network cable to connect it to your router. Once that's done, plug in the power supply and it makes itself known to other computers on the network.
After running the supplied software on any PC or Mac that will be used to access the Stora, an extra disk icon appears on that computer's desktop.
You can establish different areas on the disk for different family members, where they can save video, music, photos and data files. It can also set up areas that are common to all users so files can be easily shared. There is also a built-in iTunes server so you can store music centrally rather than on each computer, while being able to play it from any connected computer.
The device is linked to Netgear's Mystora internet service, which is used to remotely access the files stored on your Stora from any internet-connected computer in the world (it's necessary to set up an account).
Copying files to and from the Stora was quick at around 500MB per second for reading and slightly slower for writing. Software is provided for automatic backup so archiving everything in the My Documents folder takes just a couple of clicks.
One internal disk is supplied as standard, with an empty bay for a second. If you add one the same size, it will automatically duplicate everything from the first disk using Raid technology. The Stora is an impressive, easy-to-use network hard disk that has lots of clever features.
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Simple home backup and media server with similarly simple backup
Very easy to set up; provides media playback and backup; remote access of data over internet; good capacity for price
Blocky case design
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