13 June 2021
A lot of the early Macs (pre-G3) don't have USB ports, so transferring files and backing up data can become tricky. One of the more simple solutions for file storage and transfers between Mac OS 9 and modern Macs/PCs is to use a NAS (network attached storage) drive. A NAS drive is a box containing one or multiple hard drives and connects to your internet router. Any computer that's connected to your local network can access the NAS drive and the contents stored on it. Transferring data over USB on Mac OS 9 can be incredibly slow due to it only utilising USB 1.1 drivers. Transferring files from a NAS drive over Ethernet is a much faster option.
When looking for a NAS drive you need to ensure you find one that supports AFP - Apple Filing Protocol. By using the AFP protocol for file transfers you can easily connect to the drive on Mac OS with the Network Browser application. This allows you to mount the drive onto your desktop as a normal hard drive would appear.
File transfer speeds over ethernet are typically the same speed as duplicating a file on the HD of your computer, or faster.
I have tested the following NAS Drives which have all performed exceptionally with both physical HDDs and SSDs.
Once you've got a NAS Drive you will need to set it up as per the included instructions with a modern computer.
It is advisable to set a static IP address for for the device so you don't need to re-enter a different IP address (192.168.1.72) each time you want to access it. The method for doing this will vary across different brands but below I will explain how to do this with the WD My Cloud EX2.
Make sure you are connected to the internet/same local network and open the application Network Browser.
Western Digital My Cloud have officially dropped support of AFP (Apple Filing Protocol). If your network drive is running firmware above version 5.18.117 you will no longer see an option for AFP Service, and will no longer be able to connect to devices over AFP.
You can downgrade the firmware of your device easily, but do this at your own risk. To do this, log into the web portal and navigate to Settings > Firmware Update > and upload the firmware file for your device with the Update from File button.
The firmware file for the WD MyCloud EX2 Ultra can be downloaded here - do this at your own risk, we do not take responsibility if you brick your device.