WRT350N_med So in my previous post I talked about getting my WRT350N configured, which by the end of the day I was happily surfing and the connection was working great.  However, there is more.  This router had this feature called Storage Link, things that make you go hmmm.  Was I just happy with just connectivity, heck no!.  I wanted more and the nice little USB port on the back of my router suggested smiled at me and I know it whispered in my ear, this should be easy.  First challenge was that to satisfy the USB port I needed a bigger drive, the biggest USB drive I currently had was 300GB and it was mostly filled.  So to fully test this new feature, I needed a new drive, I needed a bigger drive, I needed more power,  yes I needed to shop again  (Think Tim Allen  arrgg,arrgh)

At this point of the story I should probably let you know the selling point I used for the funding.  Remember my better half named my XBOX monitor Maui, if you did not know that check out my post from a few years ago: Why is my XBOX TV named Maui?

I used pointed out to my wife that currently all the photos you work with are shared on my home pc, which is normally turned off.  Anytime she needed to access the file, she needed to turn on the system.  Now you may be wondering why is the system off?  Simply put heat, for some reason my office is in the hottest room in the house and when the xbox, laptop, and pc are fired up the room gets about 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the house, so my home PC is frequently off.  With the brand new feature Storage Link, we do not have to do that, and this was enough for approval.

I love tech shopping, more importantly I love tech shopping when I get a deal, so to the store I went, and I got a 750GB for $200, and I also got a 17 inch flat panel wide-screen for $100.  I know what your thinking, how did I go from new USB drive to new monitor, it was for the kids computers and it was on sale.  :-).   So new monitor and new drive safely buckled in, away I went.

Get home, take off the shrink wrap (I love shrink wrap  :-)), plug in the drive and away I went.  The nicest thing about this whole process is the admin is very easy for the drive.  When I went into the storage configuration for the drive, it was already detected and ready to go.  It was "claimed" by the router and all I needed to do was create a share.  This was fairly easy, but I did notice one issue was that the drive was formatted in FAT32, this is the only format that the WRT350N uses for drive formatting.  Knowing that FAT32 is not as efficient as NTFS when it comes to large hard drives, I safely removed the drive from the router (believe it or not there even is a button for that).  I then plugged the drive into my laptop and formatted with NTFS, connected it back to my router, created a share and I was happy until I tried to access it.

Now here comes the interesting part, at first my old home PC  running XP, was the only system that could gain access to the drive, if I tried to login in with the vista machines I got access denied messaging, turns out that I was not passing the right type of credentials, so a quick check on the web, what I needed to do was use 'secpol.msc' to change the LAN Manager authentication level to 'send LM & NTLM - use NTLM2 session security if negotiated'.   This seemed to solve the problem and I was able to authenticate just fine. image

Solved that problem.  On to the next one, if I used the UPN name to look at the share it would let me in I would see nothing not even the folder structure, all I saw was empty space.  I even tried to create a new folder or copy a file I got a funky error message, which included the string <%3 NULL:Op Text> (see message at the right). Bottom line I could not access the drive.

Unfortunately I could find very little on the error message on the right and I was not sure what the cause is.  However, I did find a work around and it was simple.  I mapped the drive to a dedicated letter and it worked like a charm when I viewed the drive from the the direct letter mapping.  I am still not sure why it worked, but I am a Happy camper again.  So if anyone can provide me any insight on what the root cause of the problem and alternatives to solve it please comment, and I will make it worth your wild.

Now I have read some things on performance of the device is not going to be real fast and that for better through put I should just share a folder on another pc and go the old route for my files.  I do not totally buy that but still testing, things seem to be working fine and smooth, and better yet I do not have to have my PC on in the office and running.  With that said, my wife's first comment when she accessed the drive was that it was faster than the old configuration and with a arrgg arrgg, she was working with the photos.  So time will tell how the performance works out.