Can I connect WD N900 Central just as external drive, not router?

I used the n900 central as a router and a NAS for many years. Now I just need to use it as a NAS or external drive so I can get all my files off of it. Is that possible? What is the best way to accomplish? Can I connect this to either my home network or directly into a computer?

I tried both without any success. I can’t seem to figure out how to get the n900 on the new network just as a drive. Windows 8 recognizes it as a “Storage” device and as a “Network Infrastructure,” but when I click on it either from the Network window, it pops up a browser and sends me to the n900 admin. I want access to the files on the internal hard drive.


This just might be your lucky day that I saw your post, because during this past month or so I have been doing what you want to do – except in reverse! I have been copying files from external drives to a new N900C w/HD via my laptop computers.

Here’s why I was doing this: I bought a new, “open box” N900C from eBay real cheap. SO cheap, that I will be using it as a dual-band router with my media files on its 1TB drive to take with us on summer vacation trips. I call it my oversized “wireless drive” to throw in the car trunk along with luggage, and we can use it at our destination so we can stream videos to our tablets, stream music to speakers, etc.

OK, the bottom line request of yours is “how do I get the data on the N900C drive copied off of it so I can put the files somewhere else?” Right? Yes. Easy. I will explain how by telling you the opposite of what I had been doing.

You will need:
Your N900C near your Win 8 computer. Plugged in and turned on, with no wires attached to it (yet).

You need your computer and a long enough Ethernet cable (CAT5e or better) to connect your computer and N900C together

You need a portable hard drive (or any external hard drive) you will connect to your computer USB port. Your N900C has either a 1TB or 2TB drive inside, and if the drive is real full, then you need a drive of the same capacity as what is in the N900C.

Next, connect one end of the Ethernet cable into one of the four output ports of the N900C. Unplug the Ethernet cable going into your PC, and plug the other end of the Ethernet cable (that’s now connected to the N900C) into the Ethernet port of your PC (where you just unplugged the “internet” cable from). You now have your PC and N900C directly connected to one another’s Ethernet ports.

Next, plug the hard drive you will be using into the PC’s USB port.

Hopefully, you can make Win 8’s tiles go away (so it looks more like a Win 7 screen) and you can get to the Windows File Explorer. look at your File Explorer screen and you see This PC and Network section on left panel of screen. Refresh both Computer and Network, by clicking on it and then clicking on the Refresh button (the curved arrow near top right of screen)

If all is going well, you should now be able to locate the hard drive under This Computer, and in Network, you will see your PC’s name and under that, your will see MyNETN900C listed. You now can see the hard drive and the N900C in File Explorer. I like to see two windows; one for each device on the wide screen laptop.

OK, click to open MyNET900C and if you have left the drive at its default setup, you will see one folder named Public. Open Public and find the folder(s) where you put your data. Perhaps you have used the default folders of Shared Music, Shared Pictures and Shared Videos where you put your media files as I did. It is real easy to COPY each of these folders in their entirety to the external hard drive. Maybe you made other folders such as Documents, so copy that one, too. Just copy all the folders with your data to the external hard drive. Forget about the folders/files that pertain to the N900C’s operation, you need them on the N900C, but nowhere else.

OK, so now all your own stuff is copied off of the N900C drive, and you know where you want to copy it from the external hard drive to its destination. Perhaps you have a My Cloud NAS, and you know how to copy to that; not by connecting to the NAS USB, too slow, do it via the computer like you took it from the N900C – keep the drive right on the PC, and copy it via PC through the network to the NAS.

Before you do that, you need to put your PC back together how it was before. You see, we removed it from your network by connecting it directly to the N900C. So, disassemble the PC and N900C connection, plug the “internet” cable back into the PC, and leave the hard drive attached to PC if you are going to dump the files you just took from the N900C to another device like a NAS.

OK, now what to do with the N900C. Well, you can now use it like I plan to use mine! Or, you can connect it to your internet signal by connecting an Ethernet cable from your new router into the N900C input port, although having them real close to one another is no real advantage. I am fortunate to have a house with network wiring in a few rooms, so I could take my second router and put it on the other side of the house if I wanted to and plug it in to network there. You can also, but it like having two separate routers since they share the internet signal but NOT the same network. To share the same network and internet, you could reconfigure the N900C as an Access Point (AP) off the main router via wireless and spread both the network and the internet around your house better. The complete N900C user manual that’s downloadable from WD at tells you how to do this reconfiguration. Get the manual if you don’t have it.

Anyway, that’s about all there is to it. It’s really easier than it all sounds. Let me know if you have any problems, and best of success.

Aha! Thank you so much… Your post saved my sanity. I wasn’t able to get this to work with Win 8.1, but my XP Pro machine connected and is displaying the Public folder as desired. I can now access all the files on the N900C and move them somewhere else.

Is this method the only way of accessing the N900C’s Public folder? Since the drive works well and it’s 2TB, I’d rather use it as a NAS drive than sell or recycle it. When I connect the N900C to my new router, it disappears from the network. If that’s all I can do, that’s fine - at least I have access to the files now.

Thank You!!


It should have worked well with the Win 8, too. That is why I suggested you click the Refresh button, because Windows may not have shown you the N900C connected right away. Glad you got connection with the XP PC.
There are other ways to access the drive in the N900C, but since I have no idea what other equipment you have, nor your computer experience, I told you a way that works fine with minimal equipment and computer savvy.

If I were to take the data off mine I would have kept it as the network router, and just copied all the data from it to my NAS server on home network (a WD My Cloud NAS) then, put the new router back in the system once I had all the data.

See my “end of life” options at the end of the thread where I suggest turning the router into a repeater of sorts called an Access Point (AP) on the same network. You just cannot connect one router to another and they both appear on the same network, because they both create their own network. Setting up the N900C as an AP makes possible to have N900C properly joined to the other network. Don’t be too concerned of what to do right away. Just get your data off and transferred, put the N900C away while you spend time learning more about how networks work and then set up the N900C as an AP…

Glad I was able to tell you how to get the data off; anything else is basically another topic of discussion.

Hello, don’t know if anyone will ever see this since the N900 Central is several years old at this point but… my unit died on me and I’m trying to salvage the files on the hard-drive (2TB). I removed the drive from the case (the unit would no longer power up), and have the proper SATA cables to connect to the drive enabling it to have both power and data transfer. As you can probably guess, when plugged into my computer (Win 8.1), I get nothing - the computer isn’t even recognizing anything in the USB input.

Any ideas? The drive is getting power and the light is coming on the part of the cable for data transfer so my assumption is that things are connected properly and the drive is functional (but maybe not?). Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Have you installed the bare drive in an external 2.5 inch enclosure case? That might help.

First enable WAN-administration on port 8080 (just for your sake to be able to log-in into the router if your changes fail), set your WAN (‘internet’) to receive dynamic address (from your ‘parent’ main router", than try to set-up the router as an Access Point. Remember you access the Access Point from WAN ethernet RJ-45 port (yellow one). Disable WiFi suprisingly it’s not neccessary for AP to work. Feel free to use 4 x LAN ethernet RJ-45 ports as a gigabyte switch. The trick is to know the IP address of your new “disk”. Learn it from ‘connected devices’ list of your main router. In your main router try to bind your MyNet900 “disk” MAC-address with fixed IP-address. Hope it helps.
REMEMBER! WD MyNet900 Central is NOT reliable as a storage of important data! I lost data on 1TB version due to the disk failure, disk is no longer visible nor accessible ( @grahamguy actually I hope to retrieve them, but the internal disk is formatted as an Ext4 not visible to MS Windows, so you need a Linux environment to work with the disk image). MyNet900 Central might be OK as a cost effective 2TB home DLNA media server with your movies / musics copied. BTW i just copied 1.5TB of data, the average speed is 1GB/minute (so 1.5TB takes 24 hours).

is there a way to just convert the router to an external hard drive or will i have to tear it down and put the 2TB drive in an enclosure?

Thanks in advance!