Sep 11, 2020 The Google Drive Preferences window opens, displaying a three-tab interface. My Mac: Allows you to specify which folders within the Google Drive folder are automatically synced to the cloud. The default is to have everything in the folder automatically synced, but if you prefer, you can specify only certain folders to be synced. The FreeAgent Go portable drives offer up to 500 GB of capacity, so you can comfortably store all your files. They’re formatted for Mac computers and Time Machine compatible, so.
A network drive, also known as a NAS (network attached storage) drive, is a storage device that connects to a home or office network instead of your computer. Some of the advantages of this are obvious: for example, you can get access files from a smartphone, tablet, or computer without having to plug the drive in.
Other, perhaps less obvious, positives of NAS include things like automated backups and the ability to mirror data on two drives. In other words, NAS offers a flexible and protected way to manage Mac storage that’s far beyond that of standard external hard drives. Read along to learn how to map a network drive and avoid some common NAS mistakes.
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Whether it’s populated or diskless, has one bay or more than five, a network drive is typically used as an alternative to cloud storage. It may be easy to drag and drop files to something like Google Drive or Dropbox, but just a bit of drive mapping can make using a network drive a fantastic cloud alternative.
Some of network drive’s key advantages include:
Nowadays, most NAS devices are seriously easy to map. Let’s say that you’ve been working on a document in your home office but have just remembered a key fact that you want to include. Time to make a quick edit from your wife’s laptop before you forget about it!
Network drive access can be obtained in three simple steps, provided you don’t mind having to repeat those steps if the connection drops, you restart your Mac, or the device is disconnected:
You can now access the relevant drive either via your desktop or the sidebar in Finder windows.
Maybe you have a server in your office with a connected network drive and want all your employees to be able to connect to it so they can collaborate on shared documents. If you want to keep a Mac connected to a network drive, even after restarting, the easiest way to do this is to follow the three steps above then add these:
Now, your network drive will be mapped and automatically remounted when you reboot your Mac. Network drives won’t, however, connect automatically if you’re using a different WiFi network.
Depending on your settings, mounted drives may not always appear on your desktop. That’s not necessarily a problem if you don’t mind only being able to see connected servers in Finder window sidebars and open/save dialogues.
If, however, you want your NAS device to always be just one double-click away (in the same way that most people have Macintosh HD as a visible item on their desktop) just follow these steps:
Managing, or working across, multiple departments that each have their own network drive? In that case, it can be handy to create aliases of mapped network drive(s):
This might not sound like anything all that significant but, as the subheading suggests, you can use this alias to reconnect to a network drive with one click. That can be very helpful if you need to keep jumping between different shared drives.
In most cases, macOS’s default tools are sufficient for viewing, editing, and deleting files. That might change, however, if you’re using a NAS device. For example, it’s very easy to end up with a ton of duplicate files on your network drive where it’s likely you’ll be less concerned about making the most of your storage as you might be with a built in hard drive.
Gemini is a great tool for digging out any duplicate content on your drives, so you can ditch everything you no longer need while hanging onto backup documents, photos, etc.
For a more granular approach to file management, you might want to consider something like DCommander or Forklift. These apps both offer dual-pane file management, as well as features like batch renaming, copying, and deletion, in a more seamless way than your default Finder.
Although Forklift was designed with FTP management in mind, it’s become a favorite of network drive users because of how closely it resembles macOS. Billed as a Finder replacement app in parts of its marketing material, you won’t find an app much more native unless it comes out of Cupertino.
Plus, actually getting started with the app is incredibly simple:
If Forklift isn’t for you then you might prefer to take a look at DCommander, an approved Mac alternative of Total Commander for Windows. In addition to two side-by-side file panels that look very similar to those of Forklift, DCommander puts a wider range of commands and features (including quick file viewing, selective file unpacking, navigation history, and a great looking Dark Mode) at your fingertips without the need to leave the dual-panel display.
Both apps let you do things like mark certain drives as favorites, create and browse archives, and get previews of items. In short, they’re much like macOS’s Finder … only better. It’s difficult to overstate how much easier it becomes to manage Mac storage with dual-pane browsing until you try to organize your network drive without it!
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Thanks to macOS, network drive mapping is a pretty simple process even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy. You might be out of luck if you’re hoping to access a NAS device from another network using standard macOS tools but, at present, that’s pretty much the only thing keeping network drives from competing with the cloud at the mainstream level.
If remote access isn’t such a concern for you and you’re using NAS as an alternative to cloud, then it’s definitely worth taking a look at programs like Forklift or DCommander to make file management easier once you’re done drive mapping, as well as Gemini to ensure that your NAS device isn’t filling up with duplicate files you don’t need.
Best of all, the software mentioned above is available for a free trial through Setapp, a collection of over 150 high-quality macOS applications from the best developers around. Manage your Mac effectively today!
Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.Read on