How Do NAS Drives Work?

In this technological world of ours, we are able to gain access to a litany of things without even giving it a second thought. That’s because there are things happening in the background to facilitate those data transfers.

For instance, the drives that are used to store those files come in different forms. While we are familiar with hard drives and SSDs, there are also NAS drives. What are they? How do they work? Let’s take a closer look at these essential drives and what they provide.

What are NAS Drives?

When referring to NAS drives, we are speaking about what are known as network-attached drives. When talking about other pieces of data storage tech, we think of hard drives and SSDs. These are often built right into the computers we use, storing our data securely within. Network-attached devices are the same but with a key difference.

Rather than accessing them directly through a computer, NAS drives can be accessed through a network connection like Wi-Fi or ethernet. Even better, NAS drives have the capability to be accessed by multiple users in both an immediate vicinity and across great distances.

How NAS Drives Work

NAS drives work in what is a very simple way. The drives located in your computer – or plugged in through a USB port – read data and write data on that drive. Those devices are limited to that device alone. NAS drives work much the same but allow multiple users to access that drive.

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The same read/write functions are performed for things like editing videos or photos, transferring files, working on documents, and any other form of data transfer. While they might not be as fast as device-attached storage drives, they function in the exact same way.

The Key Elements of a NAS Drive

When discussing a NAS drive, there are a few key elements to be aware of. These four components make up any NAS drive that you are going to come across:

Operating System

One of the major differences between storage devices like a hard drive and NAS drives is the fact that the latter has its own operating system. As it turns out, NAS drives can run select applications to take care of tasks that would otherwise be managed by something like a computer.

The operating system on a NAS drive can handle things like multimedia transcoding and serving, file-sharing applications, web servers, software development, business applications like ERP and CRM, productivity tools, and so much more.


Each NAS drive has a CPU of some sort since it takes computing power to run an operating system. The operating system runs applications, performs read/write operations, processes multimedia files, integrates with the cloud, and can even manage multiple users where necessary.


Without networking, NAS drives could not connect. Through networking, NAS drives connect to one or more computers, typically through a wireless or ethernet (hardwired) connection. NAS drives do contain USB ports, but they aren’t used to connect that device to your computer. The USB ports are used for connecting other devices that can be used for transferring data, backing up the device, charging, or other purposes.

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One of the primary functions of NAS drives is storage (like any other type of drive). NAS devices for small business, home, and enterprise purposes generally have anywhere from two to five hard drives. That is compared to just a single drive in most home computers.

Multiple hard drives not only provide greater capacity, but faster file access and greater redundancy. These typically come in their own 3.5-inch standard so that they can meet the requirements of running constantly.

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Hi! I'm Bilal Soomro, the founder of Trend Bizz. I love creating websites and designs as a web and graphic designer. I'm also good at SEO (helping websites show up in Google searches) and I enjoy writing blogs. My favorite tool is WordPress, which I use a lot for making websites. I've spent the last few years learning all about building websites, blogging, getting websites to rank in Google, and doing digital marketing. Let's connect and share ideas!

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