Mac 101: Viewing Servers on the Desktop

I’ve been having some issues with having enough storage recently, specifically, holding all of my photography work in multiple locations, as well as having everything backed up via Time Machine. I was considering purchasing a NAS, but for right now, it just doesn’t seem to be the best idea. Instead, I had to figure out another option. To get there though, let me first explain my setup.

My main work is done on my 15-inch MacBook Pro with a 500GB drive. It’s connected to three USB drives which I’ve named after characters from Futurama: Nibbler, Zoidberg and Bender. Zoidberg is the old drive that came with my MBP, and right now it holds my business data. Bender holds my movies that I’ve burned via RipIt, then Nibbler holds my Time Machine file for the MBP and acts as a backup for Zoidberg.

Connected across the desk from me is my 20-inch iMac, which I use mainly for home-related expenses. I also use it for an FTP machine, so I don’t tie up my MBP while uploading files to my editors. It’s only got a 250GB drive though, and right now it’s topped out with movies and music that streams to my AppleTV.

The problem happened recently when Zoidberg started to crap out on me. Every so often it would turn off and then back on, causing me to believe that there’s either a problem with the drive or a problem with the connection. I swapped cases for the drive and I still have the same result. I’m sure the drive is fine, but I don’t want to have it blow up on me when I need it the most. So I decided to purchase a 2TB drive to use for storage. This is going to mount to my iMac, and will hold my iTunes library, my photography work, and backups for the iMac. I’m going to get one last drive sometime soon, but that’s another story. This may all seem like a waste of drives to a lot of people, but it works for me, so that’s what I’m using.

The problem I was having was seeing the USB drive connected to the iMac on the desktop of the MBP. I like seeing my USB drives all across the desktop, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it. Here’s what I did to fix the problem:

  1. Open up the finder
  2. Right click on the sidebar
  3. Select Open Sidebar Preferences
  4. Click on General
  5. Under “Show these items on the desktop:” click “Connected servers”
  6. Bask in glory

It seems like a basic thing, but if you want to connect the USB drive from one computer to your machine, it can make life a little bit easier. And since I know the iMac isn’t going anywhere, I can get to those drives at any time. Pretty cool stuff.

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