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Comparison Between NAS and External Hard Drive

Wondershare Recoverit Authors

Jul 17, 2024 • Filed to: NAS Recovery & Hacks • Proven solutions

So much of our everyday routine is dependent on the computer. We use it to save pictures, videos, crucial data, and files. But what happens when your computer is running low on storage space? Nothing would be possible without purchasing an External Hard Drive or the best NAS. 

There are various reviews from the public about both devices, so maybe you got stuck on which one perfectly fits your needs. For this reason, we will explain NAS vs. External Hard Drive in detail.

Part 1: What are External Hard Drive and NAS?

Today, in the world of technology, our lives are centered around the computer. Many users have turned to use drives to manage the files and data. In this part, we will explain the External Hard Drive and NAS in detail.

External Hard Drive

External Hard Drive - a great way to free up your storage space and backup your files safely. It is known as a DAS device (Direct Attached Storage) because they connect to a host directly, such as a server, media player, or computer. 

external hard drive

With the help of External Hard Drives, you can access your data anytime without any fear of internet loss. The External Hard Drive has the most prominent use of backup of the hard drive. Advanced External Hard Drives have an automatic backup function.

The External Hard Drive has further types, i.e., desktop and portable. These hard drives are versatile, have various capacities, sizes, and shapes.


Instead of connecting with the computer, a NAS device is an External Hard Drive that connects to a network. Using a network cable, it generally connects directly to a router or a switch. The data is continually accessible with a NAS. It is simple to operate and good at centralizing data storage. 


Most cloud providers offer NAS services that make it feasible to match and mix NAS storage systems and cloud services. NAS supports a wide range of applications and allows access to data across the network.

However, External Hard Drives and NAS are the best solutions to expand your computer's storage. They are not as technical-oriented as they are relatively easy to set up and get started now. 

Part 2: Comparison: NAS vs. External Hard Drive 

Before making an investment in NAS or an External Hard Drive, it is necessary to read the comparison for what is more worth buying to you.  This part will cover all the possible options for NAS vs. External Hard Drive.


If you use an External Hard Drive on another computer, it will require you to shuffle the drive or drives from computer to computer to access files. In comparison, NAS needs to be connected to your network to have access to files. This also releases the ports on your computer.

Volume of Data

The External Hard Drive has various sizes; in case the volume runs out, you can choose what can be removed. It has a fixed volume that cannot be increased. 

On the other hand, you can place numerous hard drives in the NAS tank at a time or add them as needed. You can increase the data volume without any fear of deleting something. NAS has more features when it comes to data volume. 


Save your files, media, and other documents on an External Hard Drive, as well as NAS, which can do a lot more. 

Sometimes, NAS is referred to as a hard drive with a brain. It comes with RAM, a fully functional operating system, and support of first and third-party apps. This extends the functionality of NAS devices beyond storage. 

Ease of Use

The External Hard Drive has a simple operation that we connect by USB and get access to our information. 

Whereas NAS needs some effort when installing and using it. It covers some aspects, including what RAID configuration we prefer, what type of NAS it is, etc. Later, you will have to use third-party applications to approach it remotely. 

Mobility and Size

Basically, the External Hard Drive is compact, small, and can easily be moved around. It does not require an internet connection or a power supply to perform any function. There is also a big-sized hard drive that needs a wall socket for a power supply. 

On the other hand, NAS is placed in a permanent position, plugged into a router or a power source. 

Number of Computers

Having a single computer with an External Hard Drive is a good option. But if you own two or more computers, then you should go for network-assisted storage. 

NAS will connect you to your office or home network, and all computers that are connected to your router will have side-by-side access to data on the device. This is not the same case with External Hard Drives, which have limited file access to the number of connection ports on your computer or the hard drive.

Part 3: Recover Accidentally Deleted or Lost Data through Wondershare Recoverit Precisely

Losing important files and data in today's digital world is quite scary. There are several reasons behind the data loss, like virus attacks, corrupt hard drives, mistakenly deletion, etc. Nowadays, data recovery has become an easy process with the help of recovery software such as Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery. 

It is a recovery program made to get back your lost or deleted files. With the help of Recoverit, you can quickly restore the data if it is formatted. The tool offers an advanced feature of deep scanning to retrieve your deleted data without any effort. 

Wondershare Recoverit has a well-designed interface that has reasonable plans and pricing. It works for your inaccessible files and provides instant results. 

However, the following are the brief features offered by this data recovery program.

The tool is simple to use and offers all self-explanatory options. You can follow the below steps to proceed with the process. 

Video tutorial: NAS Data Recovery

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Step 1: Choose to the Deleted Data Location

Install and launch the Wondershare Recoverit on your computer. Then go to the location where you have lost the data and want recovery. Select the required hard drives, disks, or desktop and tap on the 'Start' button. 

select the location

Step 2: Start Scanning Process

Here, all of your files are getting a deep scan to locate. Some large-size files may take time in this process.

scanning your selected drive

Step 3: Preview and Recover your Data

After the scanning process, the program previews you all the recoverable files so that you can mark the desired ones. Now click the 'Recover' option to retrieve the files back. 

recover your lost data

The Bottom Line

The above article has concluded on the ways and discussion when your computer has left with no space. We have explained the best and possible solutions to expand your space without any fear of data loss. There are two different solutions indicated for different users. As NAS requires specific knowledge and budget whereas, an External Hard Drive is handy and can be taken anywhere you want.

Furthermore, a Wondershare Recoverit Data Recovery tool is introduced that offers simple and advanced features to restore data from any medium. You can go for it if you want a simple or advanced data recovery solution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What the term 'diskless NAS' represents?

A network storage device sold without any hard drives insides is known as a diskless NAS. Many NAS brands like Buffalo and WD sell their NAS server devices with drives that are already installed. It saves a lot of time and improves long-term storage by selecting a diskless NAS and choosing the drives yourself.

  1. How can I remotely connect to my NAS?

You can remotely connect to your NAS server with the help of mobile applications that are free with your NAS brand manufacturer for Android and iOS. On the other hand, you can use various desktop applications from the big brands Synology NAS and QNAP to remotely access your device. 

Ultimately, you can create a network and internet accessible drive with iSCSI and then set up software on your Windows or Mac machine to read and write to the NAS remotely. 

  1. Can one leave his External Hard Drive connected to the system at all times?

It is not a good practice to keep the External Hard Drive always connected. There is no issue if the user is using a backup rotation scheme. But if the user leaves the drive all the time plugged into a system, then it can be damaged by a power surge or virus attack. So, it is good to plug out the drive from the PC after using it. 

  1. Which format is best for an External Hard Drive PC and Mac?

ExFAT is the best format for the External Hard Drives in PC and Mac as it allows you to save files, whatever the file is.

Recoverit author

Theo Lucia

chief Editor

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