Connecting SATA hard drive enclosure to USB port on wireless router

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Old 03-27-16, 05:52 PM
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Connecting SATA hard drive enclosure to USB port on wireless router

I am trying to connect a SATA hard drive enclosure to a wireless router by way of a USB port on the back of the router.

There is an LED light above the USB port on the back of the router to indicate that the device is connected to the computer(s). This light does not come on when I toggle the power switch 'on' for the SATA hard drive enclosure; and of course, the drive is not active or showing on either of the computers I am currently using.

Although, one time this LED light did come on for a short time, but this was just that one time, and I have tried several times since then, but it has never lit up again.

I cannot get support help from Belkin (the router manufacturer) because my warranty is expired, and 'support' also is expired. The router is about 3 years old.

This SATA hard drive enclosure device has two cables, as well as a Power on/off toggle switch. One cable connects to the SATA enclosure device by way of a connection that resembles a printer-type cable connection, and then the other end is a 3.0 USB connection. The second cable is a 12V DC cable that connects to the SATA enclosure by way of a female-type pin connector, and the other end plugs into a wall outlet.

The first thing I would like to know is, if it is even possible for this type device to connect to a wireless router by way of a USB port. If it not possible, then that would be the problem, but if it is suppose to work than why doesn't it?
 
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Old 03-27-16, 06:08 PM
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Router and external hard drive to build - Hard Drives - Storage

Read the response by DJScribbles. Personally, I have never done it.
 
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Old 03-27-16, 06:59 PM
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What's the model number of the router?
 
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Old 03-28-16, 02:47 AM
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fenpeppertree,

if Pulpo's link doesn't provide the solution for you, I recommend that you take it to the basic (isolation) when it comes to hardware. In this case, you don't know if it is the router or the enclosure. Instead, test the basic first. Test the router against a SIMPLE medium such as a USB flash drive. Forget the SATA hard drive for now. Get the router and flash drive working first because it could be settings that you JUST SIMPLY need to turn on/off such as File Server security features.


Like CarbideTipped has requested for, what is the specification on your Belkin router? On the back or under your router, there are model # and serial #. You can take that and google for the manual. If you take a picture of the router's information and post it on here (or online) be sure to put black tape over the serial # (or personal information) before you take the image. If you can provide the model #, maybe someone can find the instruction or manual (PDF) for you.
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 03-28-16 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 04-22-16, 11:45 PM
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Ok, this took too long to get back, but didn't realize I had to go to 'Settings' to get an email when replies are posted; sorry.

This quote from DJScribbles:
If your router is capable of acting as a file server (it would have to have a USB/esata port, but it also needs support from the router MFG to enable the router to act as a file server)
I'm thinking this quote has answered my question. It is not possible with a wireless router that does not have a USB/esata port.
And in that case, I guess it doesn't matter if the router has support to act as a file server, because this router definitely doesn't have a USB/esata port. It has two 3.0 USB ports, that is all.
These two ports do work with a Western Digital 320gb external drive I have, and I am able to view files from the drive on either of my two devices. Does that mean my router has File Server capability?

Anyway, is it unanimous, or should I try to dig deeper? I was just thinking that the WD external drive works, and the Esata drive enclosure should be the same thing, basically (a USB device, albeit, with its own power supply, which I thought was a good thing).

The router information:
BELKIN N750 WIRELESS ROUTER (DUAL-BAND [DB] GIGABIT N+)
MODEL #: F9K1103V1
 
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Old 04-23-16, 11:51 AM
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eSATA is a physically and electronically different interface compared to USB. Some external hard drives support both USB and eSATA, but use different cables depending on the interface. Some computers have combination USB/eSATA ports, but these simply allow you to use one or the other with its associated cable.

Since you are able to access a USB hard drive when plugged into your router, you can use it as a file server. It will be slower than a local hard drive, limited by your network interface speed.

I have a similar setup using a 4 TB USB external drive. I use SyncBack to regurarly backup data from my family's computers to the external drive.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 03:38 AM
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I realize eSATA is different, but I have an eSATA hard drive enclosure, which I am using to hold a 500 GB hard drive I removed from my desktop computer when I upgraded to a 500 GB SSD. When I connect it, by way of a USB port on my computer, it works. So, this is why I don't understand why it does not work when I connect it to a USB port on my wireless router. Could anyone explain that?

I know I can use usb external hard drives with my router, but I really wanted to make use of this 'internal' hard drive on my home network, and it seems it just isn't possible.
 
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Old 04-24-16, 04:30 AM
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Be aware that network accessible storage like these carry some security risks.
That's another quote from DJScribbles, probably the most important quote. I hope that those hard drives aren't put in the DMZ because they would be vulnerable to attack. Secondly, I've seen many Belkin routers that had remote administration enabled, possibly by default (duh). A google search operator used to find them:
inurl:/status.stm
It doesn't seem to give the same results which is good for the people who own whatever model Belkin router that was.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 01:40 AM
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I think you're off topic. All I would like to know, if anyone in the whole wide world does know, is: "Is it possible to connect an eSATA hard drive enclosure, containing a 500gb hard drive, to a USB port on a wireless router?" That's all.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 07:45 AM
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I think you're off topic
What? Security of a network change is never off topic. It should be the first consideration. That's why it was mentioned in the same thread by the same person who said that it was doable. The rest is your decision. Either you try it or you don't.
 
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Old 04-25-16, 11:25 AM
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I think I misinterpreted the issue you are having. If you put a SATA hard drive into a USB3 enclosure and this works when you plug into a USB port on a computer, there is no physical reason why it should not work on your router. That being said, the router might not recognize the hard drive format. The Belkin manual indicates that FAT16, FAT32, and NTFS is supported.

Next, if this hard drive is still formatted as it came in your desktop computer, there may be multiple partitions which the router might not recognize. It may only be able to see the first partition which might be a boot partition and not an accepted format.

If you no longer need any data that is on the drive, I recommend deleting all partitions and then creating a new partition which spans the entire drive, then formatting it as NTFS. The router should be able to recognize it then.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 01:03 AM
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Finally, something that may make sense, thank you. This is not the only forum have tried to get answers about this question.
Ok, at the current time the drive has a clone of the entrire C:\ drive for the HP desktop it came from, that includes all partitions. This cloned drive, if I removed the SSD that is now in the HP desktop, and then took the hard drive from the eSATA drive enclosure that it is in now, then placed this drive back into the HP, it would start the computer and everything would be just as it was when I created the clone, which has been a little while, now. In other words I created the clone as a sort of backup in case the SSD had problems or whatever. But now, the clone is getting pretty old, and I could delete it.

But here is the next problem. When I plugged the eSATA drive enclosure into my computer, and then opened the Disk Management to try and delete everything, it didn't work. There are about 6 different partitions on the drive, none that I personally created, but just strictly what was there for the HP C:\ drive when I cloned it.
What I did when I tried to delete all partitions, was right click on the drive in the lower half of the page, that is the section furthest to the left that names the drive, or at least that is what I would like to think I did, but probably more likely, I right clicked on the partition section that names itself "D" drive, and I clicked on "Delete Volume". This unallocated that section and it became a black band instead of a blue, but all other sections/partitions remain. When I right click on any of them, I just get the word "help", which goes to a web page with a lot of information. I 'allocated' the "D" drive section with a letter designation, but it didn't change anything for the other partitions. I don't know how to delete them or get the drive back to a single volume format.

Can you tell me how to get the drive back to a single volume?
 
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Old 04-26-16, 07:23 AM
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Can you tell me how to get the drive back to a single volume?
Open a command prompt. Try the format command. Type format /? to get the syntax. If that doesn't work, boot the machine with a Live Linux or Unix CD or USB drive.
 
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Old 04-26-16, 07:47 AM
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I’m not an expert on USB but my guess would be you are going off on a tangent now worrying about the format of the disk. Since the routers USB port light does not come on when you connect the device I would think the problem is at a much lower level than the particular disk format.

In other words, I’m pretty sure (not 100%) when the USB device is connected to the router port, the enumeration process would cause the USB port to illuminate. The router would not be concerned with the particular disk format to turn on the light – it seems to me anyway.

If that USB interface works when you connect it directly to your PC and you are using the power supply that came with the enclosure, it seems like it should be seen by your router when connected directly to the router.

IMHO much earlier WRDIY gave you the best advice -

Test the router against a SIMPLE medium such as a USB flash drive. Forget the SATA hard drive for now.
-but if you don’t have another USB device to test with then maybe you can’t do the test.
 

Last edited by zoesdad; 04-26-16 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 04-26-16, 09:57 AM
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If Disk Management won't allow you to delete the volumes, you can try running "Diskpart" from the command line. I don't recall all the steps, but effectively, you will select the disk and then select the partition. When you are absolutely sure you are on the correct partition, delete it. Continue until the whole disk is unallocated. Then format it. It has been a while so I can't give you step by step from memory, but this should work if disk management would not.

Once in Diskpart, enter a question mark to get a list of commands. The main ones to use are LIST, SELECT, DELETE, CREATE, and FORMAT.
 

Last edited by knavekid; 04-26-16 at 10:15 AM.
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Old 04-27-16, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for the tip about running Diskpart in the Command Prompt. It deleted the volume, and I renamed it and gave it a letter designation, but when I plugged it into the router, it did not light up the USB led.

So, I guess this thing does not work with a regular USB port on a router, only on a computer.

To anyone who might know, could it be because the computer has eSATA technology built in and a router has none built in?
 
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Old 04-27-16, 11:48 AM
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I don't think it has anything to do with eSATA technology. Since you are using the USB3 interface, eSATA (which is simply an external connection to the hard drive's SATA port) doesn't come into play. There must be a compatibility issue with the USB interface the drive enclosure is using. Whenever you plug a USB drive into a Windows computer, it identifies the USB device and installs a driver for it. The router apparently does not have built-in support for this particular USB device, perhaps because it is a newer USB3 interface.
 
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Old 04-28-16, 10:33 AM
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I did make a mistake earlier in one of my posts by saying the USB ports on the router were 3.0. I tried to find out what they were, and ended up asking a question on the Amazon product page for it. I got an answer saying they were both 2.0, but no information on where this information could be found. Another, answer to my question said that 3.0 ports are blue and 2.0 ports are black or white. But that was proven wrong with my Asus 13.3" notebook, which has two 3.0 ports on one side, and one 2.0 port on the other side, and they are all black. Both ports on the router are white.

Your mention that:
perhaps because it is a newer USB3 interface
I don't think applies, unless I misunderstand, but the eSATA hard drive enclosure is suppose to be backward compatible with USB 2.0 and 1.1.


The USB cable for the eSATA hard drive enclosure connects to the enclosure with a connector that resembles a printer-like connector. I am attaching a .png image of this cable.

I guess I have to just forget about it.
 
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Last edited by fenpeppertree; 04-28-16 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 04-28-16, 10:39 AM
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Is everyone finished guessing yet?
 
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Old 04-28-16, 11:29 AM
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Nope I'm not finished guessing.

fenpeppertree-


I know what you mean, itís impossible to tell from their specs what version the USB ports are, but I found this in one place yesterday (under Setup and Design) on this link.

ÖAlso on the back are two USB 2.0 ports to be used with external storage devices or printersÖ
Belkin N750 DB Wireless Dual-Band N+ Router review - CNET

But since USB 3.0 is forward and backward compatible, the disk should just interface at USB 2.0 speed and the router would just think itís talking to an actual USB 2.0 device- supposedly, lol.
 
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Old 04-28-16, 11:43 AM
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Nope I'm not finished guessing.
Cool, go for it.
____________
 
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Old 04-28-16, 03:55 PM
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fenpeppertree-

I think knavekid is correct in that very early on in the enumeration process the Host (the router in this case) looks for a driver for the device type. So if the router does not have a driver for the disk, that would probably ensure that the USB LED would not illuminate.

The only thing I would say however, is that the device Class – “USB Mass Storage” , you would think would be the most common type of device that would be connected to the router, or any router for that matter, and the router would have a generic driver for that Class that would work with most external drives. But who knows.

If you had a printer you could connect it to the USB ports on the router and see if that would be recognized by the router (but you do have to do a little menu setup in the router for the router to handle a printer). If the printer also wasn’t recognized by the router, then maybe that would tell you there is definitely something wrong with the router USB interface.

I’m no expert for sure but I know there are things that happen when you connect a USB device: like USB Reset that requires the Host to send a signal at +5volts to the device to indicate reset. Maybe some signal like that is just out of tolerance and is not recognized by the device (disk in this case). Signal timing is also a factor. One side or the other can be a little off in voltage handling and/or timing.

Normally to troubleshoot something like this you would use maybe an oscilloscope and/or protocol analyzer between the router and the disk with the USB spec in one hand and see which end is at fault. But as you well know we don’t have those tools at home.

Doesn’t seem fair, you buy something that’s supposed to work, it doesn’t, and you have no way to isolate the problem. If I come across something helpful I’ll post it.

But good luck!

p.s. just wanted to remind you that you can have a device that doesn’t have the proper tolerances built in according to spec, but it may still work with other devices that happen to be within that limited tolerance. So for example, enclosure to PC may work but enclosure to router may not.
 

Last edited by zoesdad; 04-28-16 at 05:51 PM. Reason: added p.s.
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Old 04-28-16, 07:18 PM
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Very strange that the only information on the type of USB ports is found in a CNET Review? That doesn't say much for Belkin.

You know what is even more strange, is the fact that no one has said that this type of device definitely does work with a wireless router USB port; only "should work", or "supposedly work", or such. Doesn't anyone know for sure if this device does work with a wireless router USB port? Don't have to answer that, I know this post is getting a little old with all the 'chasing my tail' runaround.
 
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Old 04-28-16, 07:39 PM
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The fact that the OP was able to connect a different external USB drive to the router and access it successfully from his computer demonstrates that the router does have this capability. I did some searching and found that many owners of this router have similar problems. One provided the following link in which a Belkin representative states,

"Sorry to say this, the Belkin unit you have its not compatible to work with 3TB external USB hard drive..The maximum it could support is 1 TB, and also it should not be externally powered." ... "It's not a firmware limitation, the maximum the Belkin can support is 1TB."

Amazon Customer Review

This, to me, indicates that this router's capability for connecting to hard drives is somewhat limited.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 05:38 AM
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Far be it from me to 'beat a dead horse', but the knavekid quote:
it should not be externally powered
is just slightly contradictory to the information I gathered from the "Troubleshooting" section of the User's Manual for my Belkin N750 DB wireless router, and I quote from the manual:
A disk I plugged into the USB port is not coming on or remains on only for a short time.
Some drives require more power than the Routerís USB
port provides. If your disk has an optional power supply,
please use it while the disk is attached to your Router
.
Can't say anything else; except it is a 500 GB HDD in the eSATA drive enclosure, originally taken from my HP Pavilion 23-b010 all in one desktop computer when I upgraded to a 500 GB SSD.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 11:44 AM
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The fact that the OP was able to connect a different external USB drive to the router and access it successfully from his computer demonstrates that the router does have this capability.
Well I sure missed that- several times. But I think it is still possible that the router can be somewhat out of USB spec, and not work with the enclosure but still work with the WD external drive. Maybe the router tolerances are improperly narrowed and itís possible the WD external HDD could fall within them.
also it should not be externally powered." ..
I donít understand that at all. It seems to me if the enclosure or external HDD comes with a power supply then you are not doing any damage by using it, and it seems to me the advice in the N750 manual to use the external power supply makes more sense. I wonder if that guy meant it SHOULD be externally powered as the manual says. But Iím no expert.

It seems to me that the 500 GB HDD would not be up against any addressing limit like the 1TB limit so that shouldnít make a difference to the router. So you would think the difference between a 320 GB WD external drive and the enclosure containing the 500 GB HDD, would not make any difference to the router in terms of limitations, or even a driver limitation for that matter.

Probably without the right tools no way to find this. A bummer!
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:09 PM
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Probably without the right tools no way to find this
What tools do you suggest?
 
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Old 04-29-16, 12:33 PM
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Old 04-29-16, 12:42 PM
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LOL Price: $1,200.00 Do you think that you can convince her to spend that much money? She could buy a new PC, router & printer. There must be a cheaper solution.
 
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Old 04-29-16, 01:35 PM
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No. That's why I said in a previous post we don't normally have these tools at home.

In a case like this I don't know how you would isolate the problem to a unit without one of these. I would normally use the analyzer(but not USB) with one hand, with the spec in the other hand, and find the guilty party - device A or device B.

You could put traps in "A" and/or "B" if you had enough design information and possibly isolate it to some level that way, but since we don't have that kind of information (blueprints, source code, etc) we are out of luck.

btw - I was allowed to take $10K protocol analyzers home from work to troubleshoot. They do get expensive.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 09:08 AM
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I donít think anyone mentioned this but you might make sure you have the latest firmware for the router if you havenít done that already. Itís always possible this is a bug that they may have fixed.

I think this is the correct link, but you could also look around on the Belkin support section and make sure you have the latest stuff.

Belkin USA Site
 
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Old 04-30-16, 09:42 AM
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I donít think anyone mentioned this but you might make sure you have the latest firmware for the router if you havenít done that already.
Absolutely 100% correct!! I've been thinking about that for a few days. Another thing that no one has mentioned is looking at the settings in USB Print & Storage. Both ideas require logging into the router's web interface. Finally, guess who has his hands in the entire mess. Norton! That's right, the all time software blocker/killer. It's somewhere in the Belkin router.
 
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Old 05-01-16, 04:12 AM
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I might have mentioned in another post that this is not the first forum I have opened a discussion about this problem in; well in another forum the fact about 'special client software' for my Belkin router was offered as part of the solution. At that time, I did need to install the "Belkin Storage Manager". But yeah, there was, what I thought, a 'major' problem with it. After I installed it and it was showing in the notification area, all it would do when I right clicked on it was show the option "Shutdown", but plainly in Belkin Support article for the Belkin Storage Manager there is more. This is the URL for that page:
Official Belkin Support Site | Getting to know the Belkin Router Manager.

And this is a .png image of the right click menu as shown on that page:

Name:  BELKIN STORAGE MANAGER RIGHT CLICK MENU.jpg
Views: 430
Size:  14.0 KB

As for latest firmware, it seems to be ok. Here is a .png image of the listed firmware version, and the "Firmware Update" pop-up dialogue box from the menu options for my Belkin router online.

Name:  Capture  BELKIN CURRENT FIRMWARE.jpg
Views: 463
Size:  24.0 KB

As for the "USB Print and Storage" that was mentioned, I don't really know what that is, and I don't see anything like that listed on my Belkin router page online. Maybe it could be explained further?

PS
I just tried reinstalling over the existing Belkin setup with the Belkin CD that came with the product, and I got this error message:

Name:  Capture  BELKIN INSTALL ERROR MESSAGE.PNG
Views: 418
Size:  19.5 KB
 

Last edited by fenpeppertree; 05-01-16 at 04:35 AM.
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Old 05-01-16, 06:28 AM
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I just tried reinstalling over the existing Belkin setup with the Belkin CD that came with the product, and I got this error message:
Whatever is on the CD is outdated. If there is no firmware available besides 1.10.17 & you already have it, that's it.

Look under Networked USB Devices, Router Settings & Options. Make sure that nothing is disabled or blocked. Have the drive(s) connected.
 
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