Are you running out of space on your computer? If the only way to access your photos, videos, songs, and files is to keep your PC constantly running, a network drive may be the best solution. Through a network drive, you can keep all those files on a hard drive, access them even when your computer is turned off, and make them accessible to the entire household.
A Network Attached Storage (NAS) device is another option for storing files on a home network, and one that provides more features and capabilities. However, a network drive can be a less expensive and simpler approach if all you need is quick and convenient file storage, and you already have the right type of drive. Here’s how to set up and use an external hard drive as a network drive in both Windows and macOS.
Set Up a Network Drive in Windows
If you want to use a wired external hard drive, plug it into your router’s USB port. A wireless hard drive may be a more convenient option—just make sure it’s fully charged or running off external power. Fire up the drive and follow the instructions in the manual to set up a wireless connection to your computer.
(Credit: Lance Whitney)
Next, use your browser to sign into your router’s firmware, typically via an IP address of 192.168.1.1. If that address doesn’t work, and you don’t know your router’s IP address, you will need to look it up before proceeding.
You can do this if you type cmd into the taskbar and open a command prompt. Type ipconfig, press Enter, then look for the Default Gateway entry. The number you see is your router’s IP address.
(Credit: Lance Whitney)
You can also find your router’s IP address in Windows settings. The process will be different depending on your version of the operating system:
Windows 10: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Status and click the link for View hardware and connection properties.
Windows 11: Go to Settings > Network & Internet > Advanced Network Settings and click Hardware and connection properties.
The next screen will display details for your different network connections. Again, look for Default Gateway to find your router’s IP address.
(Credit: Lance Whitney)
After logging into your router, check for an entry called USB storage, or something similar. You should see the external drive listed here. Typically, you can edit the settings for the drive to change its name and drive letter and set up a password for accessing it. Save any changes and then exit your router’s firmware.
If you’re using a wireless drive, you’ll likely need to use the manufacturer’s own software to change the name or create a password.
After setting up your new network drive, you can now use it just like any other drive: Create folders, move files, and retrieve any stored photos, videos, or songs. Only now the drive is active and available at all times, letting you—and anyone else in the household—access it from any computer or mobile device.
If you’ve created folders on the drive, you’re also able to map a drive letter to a specific folder from File Explorer. How you do this will depend on your version of Windows:
Windows 10: Open File Explorer and select This PC in the left page, then click Computer > Map network drive in the ribbon.
Windows 11: Open File Explorer and select This PC, then click the ellipsis icon on the toolbar and choose Map network drive.
Choose the drive letter you wish to use, then check Reconnect at sign-in if you want to map the drive each time you log into Windows. If you set up a username and password for the drive different from the ones for your Windows account, check Connect using different credentials.
You can then either type the UNC path for the drive and folder—e.g., \drivefolder—or click the Browse button and click the name for the network drive. Select the folder for which you want to create the drive mapping and click OK. Enter the username and password for your network drive, if necessary.
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Your new drive mapping should now show up. Click Finish to close the Map Network Drive window. Now click the new drive letter in File Explorer, and you’ll be able to access that folder to view and work with the files contained in it.
Set Up a Network Drive in macOS
In order to set up a network drive on your Mac, connect a drive through a wired or wireless connection. Once the drive is set up, you will also need your IP address. How you find your IP address will differ depending on the operating system:
macOS Ventura or later: Go to System Settings > Network. Select Wi-Fi or Ethernet, depending on the type of connection you’re using. Click Details and then select TCP/IP. The router’s IP address is listed on this screen.
macOS Monterey or earlier: Go to System Preferences > Network. Select Wi-Fi or Ethernet based on your connection type. Click Advanced and then select TCP/IP to see the router’s address.
Use the IP address to sign into your router’s settings, then look for a category called USB storage or something similar. You should see the external drive listed here, with options to change its name, drive letter, and password.
Once the drive is set up, open Go > Connect to Server to map it to a specific folder from your Mac. You can type the UNC path for the network drive and folder or click the Browse button by clicking the folder for which you want to create the drive mapping.
Click the Connect As button, enter the username and password for your network drive, if necessary, and then click Connect. The mapped network drive should now appear under Locations in the left pane of the Finder window. From there, you can move it to the desktop as well.
You can permanently mount the network share so that it’s always available. How you do this depends on what version of macOS is on your computer:
macOS Ventura or later: Go to System Settings > General > Login Items. In the Open at Login section, click the + button and select your network share and then click Open.
macOS Monterey or earlier: Go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. Select your user account and click Login Items. Click the + button, select your network share, and then click Add.
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The Sphere’s first show looks like it was a mind-blowing spectacle
U2 played the first-ever show at the Las Vegas Sphere, a massive, dome-shaped venue wrapped in over a million LEDs. The concert, a live performance centered on the band’s Achtung, Baby album, was also the band’s first in a series of performances it will put on at the venue through the end of December. The cheapest tickets for the shows that haven’t sold out yet start at about $400, as of this writing.
From videos being posted to social media, it looks like shows at The Sphere can be breathtaking, probably more than a little nauseating, and undoubtedly expensive to produce.
A review in The New York Times says the concert alternated between gigantic, trippy visual effects sweeping across the domed display and the more standard concert screen fare of band close-ups. From this YouTube video of the first song, “Zoo Station,” it looks like the show began with the latter:
But sometimes, things looked absolutely out of control, with wild animations spanning the entirety of the screen in ways that must be completely disorienting for our lizard brains. People were just losing it. I can’t say I blame them:
Just look at this part while the band played “The Fly” and all the text transforms into a tunnel extending up into the sky:
This video from casinocompwallet on TikTok shows what the LEDs actually look like. Sphere Entertainment says each of these pucks contains 48 diodes, is about eight inches apart, and can show 256 million colors:
10 easy ways to prevent someone from spying on you
You know, one of the absolute worst feelings in the world is when you get that creepy sensation that someone is spying on you. It’s just so unsettling, whether it’s happening in real life or online. I mean, seriously, who wants to be watched without their permission, right?
That’s why it’s important for us to be proactive and take all the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
Here are my top 10 tips for keeping your information away from those creepy spies.
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1. Have good antivirus software
You often hear me talking about this and there’s a good reason. One of the best ways to protect yourself from being spied on is to have antivirus protection installed on all your devices. Having good antivirus software allows you to be resilient against growing attacks by actively running on your devices. It’s the best to help stop and alert you of any malware in your system, warn you against clicking on any malicious links in phishing emails, and ultimately protect you from being hacked.
See my expert review of the best antivirus protection for your Windows, Mac, Android & iOS devices.
2. Remove yourself from the internet
Your personal data can get exposed online in various ways, such as data breaches, data scraping, or data sharing by hackers, websites, platforms or on the dark web. This can put your privacy and security at risk. While no service promises to remove all your data from the internet, having a removal service is great if you want to constantly monitor and automate the process of removing your information from hundreds of sites continuously over a longer period, and it would significantly decrease the chances of someone being able to spy on you all the time.
See my tips and best picks for removing your personal information from the internet
3. Avoid using apps like Temu
Certain readily available apps are made to spy on you and harvest your personal data . The Chinese-based app Temu and its sister app Pinduoduo have been found to collect sensitive information on users, including tracking locations, recording contacts, browsing history, and other personal information.
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4. Use a VPN
Consider using a VPN to protect against prying eyes from tracking you and identifying your potential location on websites that you visit. Depending on their privacy settings, many sites can read your IP address and may display the city from which you are corresponding. A VPN will disguise your IP address to show an alternate location.
For the best VPN software, see my expert review of the best VPNs for browsing the web privately on your Windows, Mac, Android, & iOS devices
5. Use a webcam cover
You know those little cameras that you see built into all of your devices? Or the external webcams that you plug into your computer? If your devices become compromised, hackers can gain access to your webcam to spy on you and learn your sensitive information. Covering your webcam with a simple piece of electrical tape or using a physical camera cover is an easy and inexpensive way to take control of your privacy and get some peace of mind.
Think of it like closing the curtains on your window. Why should anyone have the opportunity to see what you are doing in the comfort of your own home? It is an easy suggestion for everyone that can prevent massive issues.
MORE: IS SOMEONE SPYING ON YOU THROUGH YOUR HACKED WEBCAM? 7 RED FLAGS
6. Have strong passwords
Create strong passwords for your accounts and devices, and avoid using the same password for multiple online accounts. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate complex passwords instead of relying on a single password, which, if stolen, can expose you. It will help you to create unique and difficult-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess.
Plus, it also keeps track of all your passwords in one place and fills passwords in for you when you’re logging into an account so that you never have to remember them yourself. The fewer passwords you remember, the less likely you will be to reuse them for your accounts.
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7. Use 2-factor authentication
Having 2-factor authentication is just another way to keep those spies out of your accounts. If someone guesses your password, 2-factor authentication will pose another barrier for them to have to break through. This will encourage many hackers to give up on trying and will cause major setbacks for the rest who still try to get into your accounts.
Many devices offer 2-factor authentication, and it is typically used either through an SMS-text messaging system, an authentication app, or with a fingerprint or facial scan, making it nearly impossible for a hacker to bypass it. If you don’t have 2-factor authentication on your devices already, I would highly recommend looking into it.
MORE: WHAT IS TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION, AND SHOULD I ENABLE IT?
8. Double-check camera and microphone settings
Your smartphones, tablets, and computers should have adjustable settings for both your camera and microphone. Oftentimes people don’t realize that every app on your device has its own set of permissions, so you might be giving camera and microphone access to an app that you don’t want to give access to. These settings can be easily changed, so make sure you’re only giving camera and microphone permission where absolutely necessary to avoid any snoopers from looking into your information. There are different ways to manage the camera and microphone permissions on your phone, depending on the app you are using.
How to adjust your microphone or camera using third-party apps on iPhone
- Go to Settings
- Then scroll down to Privacy and Security and tap it
- Then go to Microphone or Camera and toggle the switch next to the app’s name to grant or revoke access
How to adjust your microphone or camera permissions using Safari on iPhone
- Go to Settings
- Then click on Safari
- Next, scroll down to where you see Settings for Websites and then tap on either Camera or Microphone and select Ask or Deny for each option
How to adjust your microphone or Camera permissions for all apps on Android
- Open Settings app
- Tap Apps
- Look for the app you want to change the permissions for and select it
- Tap Permissions
- Then click Camera and Microphone and tap Don’t allow
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How to adjust your microphone or camera preferences using Chrome on Android
- Open the Chrome app and tap the three dots in the upper right-hand of the screen
- Go to Settings and tap it
- Scroll down to Site Settings and tap it
- Then go to Microphone or Camera
- Then, toggle Off the microphone or camera off for each site
How to adjust your microphone or camera preferences using Firefox on Android
Open the Firefox app
- Then tap Menu, which is the three dots in the bottom right of the screen
- Scroll down and tap Settings
- Then click Site permissions
- Then you’ll want to click on either Camera or Microphone and tap to block access for each site
MORE: ARE YOUR OWN DEVICES INADVERTENTLY SPYING ON YOU?
9. Lock your screens
If you want to protect against a snoop physically peeking over your shoulder, which happens more often than you might think, then having a lock on your screen is the best way to protect yourself.
You can create passcodes for your smartphones, tablets, or computers, and some devices will also allow you to enable a fingerprint or Face ID lock to prevent snoops from guessing a number passcode.
For step-by-step instructions on how to lock up your screen devices, click here.
MORE: HOW TO MAKE YOUR DEVICES IMPOSSIBLE TO SNOOP ON WITH A PRIVACY SCREEN
10. Turn off your location
Location settings are a key way for hackers and spies to keep tabs on you. The last thing you want is for someone you don’t know to have information on where you’ve been or where you’re going. Keeping your location services either completely off or limited, especially on your smartphone, which you take with you everywhere you go, can prevent a hacker from having that information.
However, before you turn off location sharing to everything on your devices, you need to know the consequences of doing so. That’s because several applications use your location services, like location-based apps, which include your map, navigation, photo, weather, and fitness apps. Also, your browser uses your location to provide relevant search results. In addition, emergency services could be affected if you turn off location sharing. In fact, your location may not be automatically shared with emergency services, which could delay response times or make it difficult for emergency personnel to find you.
Kurt’s key takeaways
We all have to be vigilant when it comes to protecting our privacy because these hackers and spies will do anything to get your information from you. I know it can seem scary; however, as long as you take the proper precautions and stay alert at all times, then you can have a safe and enjoyable experience while you’re surfing the web.
What scares you the most when it comes to your online privacy? Are there any specific concerns you have that you’d like us to address? Let us know by writing us at Cyberguy.com/Contact
For more of my tech tips & security alerts, subscribe to my free CyberGuy Report Newsletter by heading to Cyberguy.com/Newsletter
Answers to the most asked CyberGuy questions:
What is the best way to protect your Mac, Windows, iPhone and Android devices from getting hacked?
What is the best way to stay private, secure, and anonymous while browsing the web?
How can I get rid of robocalls with apps and data removal services?
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Here’s where you can preorder Sony’s upcoming PlayStation Portal
There is a chance the PlayStation Portal will sell out as quickly as the PlayStation 5 did when it was first released, which is perhaps why Sony is currently limiting orders to one device per customer. We have yet to test the Portal, but if you’re someone who wants to secure a unit at launch, rest assured that multiple retailers have already opened up preorders in the US and several other countries. Here’s what you need to know.
The PlayStation Portal is a handheld device that can connect remotely to your PS5 over Wi-Fi. As a result, you can stream preinstalled PS5 games to the Portal’s eight-inch LCD screen, which runs at up to 1080p resolution and 60fps. The device also sports controllers on either side, which are reminiscent of Sony’s DualSense Wireless Controller for the PS5 (they even support adaptive triggers and haptic feedback).
Sadly, the Portal doesn’t support Bluetooth, meaning it won’t be able to connect to your standard pair of wireless headphones. It does support Sony’s proprietary PlayStation Link wireless technology, however, allowing you to connect it to the forthcoming Pulse Explore earbuds and Pulse Elite headset. There’s also a 3.5mm headphone jack in case you prefer a wired headset or pair of wired headphones.
As of right now, the PlayStation Portal is only available for preorder in select regions, including the US, UK, France, Belgium, Canada, and Japan. The latter two countries can’t preorder it from Sony, though it is available through Amazon’s Canadian and Japanese storefronts.
Update September 29th, 4:40PM ET: Updated to include additional preorder details for Amazon, Best Buy, and GameStop.
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