Western Digital My Cloud 2TB NAS Review

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WD My Cloud: In the Box / Setup

Out of the box, we see that the WD My Cloud is only slightly larger than a standard internal hard drive.  A blue LED for power is the only light in the front that stays solid when it’s powered up and flashing when there is data activity. The rear panel has a gigabit Ethernet port, power connection port, and a USB 3.0 port which only supports connecting USB drives, not printers. The My Cloud comes with a small power adapter, a network cable, and a quick setup guide.  Everything that we need to get up and running is contained here.

WD MyCloud Contents

Connection was as simple as can be: Connect the WD My Cloud to our Netgear R6300 router and plug it into the wall. The My Cloud goes through a self-test that is indicated by the flashing LED light on the front and is ready for use in under 30 seconds.

WD My Cloud 2TB NAS

After connecting the drive, we opened up our browser and navigated to http://wd.com/setup/wdmycloud and were presented with this screen:

WD My Cloud Set Up

This is a pretty slick landing page where you can get a small tutorial of what a NAS is as well as how to use the cloud storage device.  There is a link for direct Western Digital support as well.  Overall, it is a really complete page that has a wealth of user manual-type information.

WD My Cloud Set Up

Continuing our setup, we chose to download and install the setup software. As experienced users, we normally just manually configure our network devices, but in this case we were not really sure what kind of configuration needed to be done so we just went followed what any typical user would do when installing the device.

WD My Cloud Set Up

After making sure the network was online and able to reach the internet, the WD setup software detected and displayed the drive’s serial number and assigned IP address.

WD My Cloud Set Up

The next screen is where we signed up for the Western Digital Personal Cloud Service.  To access our files from outside our home network, all we did was provide an e-mail address.  It was so simple that I was a little worried of how useful and effective this service would be. (More on that later).

WD My Cloud Set Up

The My Cloud software gave us the option of adding more users as well.  This is perfect for those of us with families or just want to have others with the rights to secured access to the NAS.

WD My Cloud Set Up

And with those few keystrokes, we are finished and ready to start loading up the drive with our content.  Before we do that though, let’s take a look at some of the user interface that is at the heart of the My Cloud personal NAS.

The My Cloud NAS GUI is pretty simple to understand with large informative graphics that you can click on to obtain NAS information and settings.  The GUI is broken up into 6 different submenus: Home; Users; Shares; Cloud Access; Safepoints; and Settings.

WD My Cloud GUI

The WD’s My Cloud desktop interface will have six tabs on top for Home, Users, Shares, Cloud Access, Safepoints, and Settings that will take the user to more customizations. Out of all the tabs the Cloud Access is the most interesting one. This tab allows the user to sign up for WDMyCloud.com online account for each user account of the NAS server and also to create an access code for mobile device app.  This tab basically allows a VPN like connection over the internet for computer users. Say you’re traveling away from home or you need something from your My Cloud you find a computer and connected to your WDMyCloud.com account and with a click you can create a network drive linked to a share folder on the My Cloud NAS server at your home. This means you can drag and drop files between the computer and the server as though the two were on the same local network. Basically a VPN access though there is no VPN connection.  With the mobile app users can download files from the NAS server to the mobile device or back up files, such as photos and videos from the mobile device onto the NAS server.  Another feature that works well is the Safepoints tab this creates a restore point for the server by copying its entire contents onto an external hard drive connected via the USB 3.0 port or to another My Cloud unit.

Western Digital shipped our 2TB My Cloud device with firmware version v03.01.03-127, but looking at the home screen we saw that there was a later version available.  With the touch of a button, we initiated the firmware update

WD My Cloud GUI

The update process took about 5 minutes for us to complete (download, install, and reboot of the MY Cloud device). To be honest, we didn’t see an overt change in the GUI nor in the NAS performance, but we feel pretty strongly about keeping your device’s firmware up to date.  ‘

WD My Cloud GUI

Staying in the Home menu we were able to easily add and/or create folders we wanted to share.

WD My Cloud GUI

From here we went back to Windows and mapped the network drive to the folder we wanted access to.  Of course, your workflow maybe slightly different and you want to use the WD utility.  For us, mapping the network drive is ideal and very simple.  With this, we are able to drop and drag files easily to the My Cloud device.

WD My Cloud Folders

Now that the WD My Cloud NAS is all setup and ready to use, let’s take a look at some speed tests to evaluate the performance

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  • edpaay

    WD MyCloud 3TB
    I purchased this device to have a networked online shared library for my files. I am a software developer and have many PC’s connected to a network at home and need a common repository for my files without having to have a PC running constantly to serve these files. I also had in mind to be able to access files remotely from client sites without having to sync with and carry around a USB drive.
    So I installed it using the quick guide and that was easy enough; however it installed a bunch of unneeded software including Apple Bonjour used by a useless utility showing the shares exposed by the drive and I came to realize that the remote access apparently goes through a Western Digital web server. So you receive an email with a link to set up external access and if you follow this link you are redirected to the Java install site. So to access your files remotely you need to have Java installed on the PC accessing the MyCloud device through their server. This is unacceptable for me since I do not and cannot expect client PC to install Java since it is a security risk at the least and it wastes space and computing power to a sub-system not needed for anything else. So for me forget the internet access. I will have to install a VPN for this or resort to FTP (which it apparently supports but I have not tested.).
    Ok, so I read many horror stories about earlier versions of the Firmware of this device related to the IP address changing through HDCP and the first thing I did was go into my router and assign the WDMyCloud device a permanent IP address through my router’s HDCP reservation feature so the IP address won’t change. So how does it work on the local network? First off, unless you have a Gigabit LAN and have your PC connected with network cables it will be slow. If you have modern fast WIFI “n” or “ac” it may be OK for streaming media but it will still be slower than a typical USB drive. The device appears to have some sort of processor in it and at one time I saw an indication that it identified the internal file system as Unix or Linux. Not sure exactly if that is what it is; however, it is quite slow, probably has a low power ARM processor of some description. Of course you get what you pay for the 3TB version selling for around $150 so this is not entirely unexpected. WD themselves have much better SAN drives for roughly double the money so we can’t expect too much.
    I copied a large library of files to it and got between 10 Mbs to 60 Mbs depending on whether I was copying many small files or fewer large ones, large files appear to copy faster. For me this is fast enough for what I am using the device for. So the drive has an internal web site (Dashboard) for setup like many routers and other networked devices and can be accessed from any browser via it’s IP address like http://192.168.1.141 in my case; it also exposes shares via the Windows Network section in Explorer so you can map these to network drives. It does all this without having to install any software at all. Having realized this I uninstalled all the software that got installed from the steps in the Quick Setup guide since it was superfluous for my use case; good riddance.
    The Firmware in the drive is quite “brittle” meaning that it has a number of anomalies and bugs that may need you to reset or reboot the drive at times or to work around at times the Setup Web Pages may stop responding properly. I think its dysfunction may have to do with the fact that a foreign operating system and file system in the device is trying to expose itself as a standard Windows network shared drive and it is apparently not really 100% compatible. ( I do not have a MAC so I have no idea what it does on OSX)
    At one time it did not want to copy a file with a .jpeg extension but after renaming it with a .jpg extension is was happy. It also did not like copying links containing urls apparently.
    On my local LAN, I don’t care much about security so I have made everything public without any passwords. However, several times trying different options I was presented with a logon dialog on the shares and none of the known user ids and passwords worked with it showing a security incompatibility with Windows (7 or 8.x)
    The device does not have an on/off button (and I did not notice the Reboot / Shutdown feature on the of the Settings/Utilities page until later) so I wanted to move it, therefore I shutdown all the computers and unplugged the power cord. Then when I plugged it back in and turned it on the existing shares on the computers did not work anymore claiming I did not have security access and the log-on dialogs as mentioned earlier did not work. I had to use the Settings/Utilities/Factory Restore – System Only feature to make it work again.
    Next I tried to set-up the SafePoint feature on the Settings Dashboard to make a backup of the settings and data on the device. However, this is bug riddled and very slow and unusable. I tried to use a Network share and it started and created the backup files but after a few minutes it stopped with an error: “SafePoint-create_NaN” with an error code of 200000. Now as a developer I know that NaN (Not a Number) results from trying to use a floating point number that is invalid or uninitialized with would be a true bug. Then I tried to plug in a USB drive to the WDMyCloud device’s USB port and tried to use it for the SafePoint backup but after copying 17% of the 80 or so GB on the drive it failed with the same error. It also showed it is very slow; much slower than copying files to and from the drive. So this is not a usable option either. So I am not impressed with the quality of the Firmware, I would give it 4 out of 10 and would not recommend the device to anyone except someone with above average technical skills.
    Now I do not intend to use it for streaming data to mobile devices so I have not tried any of that. Would I recommend the WD MyCloud? No, spend a little more money and buy a real NAS drive.

  • amit

    I want to know that this device is supported usb 2.0 or not

  • Mahmoud

    how many users can collaborate and access one account simultaneously

  • Randy Reichardt

    I’m curious to know if My Cloud works with PCs and Macs at the same time. What I mean is, at home I have an iPhone, iPac, MacBook, and a Windows 7 machine. Can all of these devices be connected to one My Cloud drive, or do the Mac and PC devices need separate My Cloud drives?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Yes, all computing devices can connect to the My Cloud, including Mac and PC systems (browser and My Cloud desktop app). The mobile app is available on iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry OS.

      • Randy Reichardt

        Thank you for your response, Nathan.

  • Maars
  • 23T Bucket

    My 2T box is sitting here unplugged. No support, No instructions. Spent 3 days trying to get this thing to work. SLOW, SLOW, SLOOOOOOOOW! Support? There is NONE…

  • Brian

    how many users total? At any one time may log into the device?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      There is not a set limit. WD suggests 10 people at most, but mentioned to us that some users have told them that they have gone beyond that.

  • Carolyn Sasuga

    I have the 3T MyCloud and have problems viewing my files. I work in graphic design, therefore my folders have tons of pictures. Is there a way to change to View of my file from the little camera icon to Thumbnails?

  • Nyela

    Is this compatible with MacOS X’s Time Machine?

    • ivan

      yes it is

  • LinAdmin

    If you had a look in the support forum of WD MyCloud you would have found out that there are a lot of user complaints proving that the firmware of that device is unstable since the first shipments in Oct. 2013.

    I can not recommend to buy that product before a stable firmware is available!

  • eval

    I have been reading a lot of reviews and description on My Cloud. Nowhere have I seen a word about file protection. Is there a block that will prevent 2 users from modifying the same file simultaneously? I would expect that the first user to opening a file that would set up a block such that any subsequent user could only open the same file as a “read only” file until the original user closed the file. Does My Cloud provide this level of file protection?

    • Binoy Raj

      Your OS will take care of this issue like you are editing a file in your local drive.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      With My Cloud (single bay) each folder has a user control on it that only a particular user has access to it at a time. However, if an Admin does enable multiple users to access the same file, and the users are both editing a file, there is a potential case that they could overwrite one another. This is normal under the fileshare structure (can occur on Sharepoint, Dropbox, etc.).

      For My Cloud Mirror, My Cloud EX2 and My Cloud EX4 there is a document flow management feature – a check-in, check-out feature. WD does support applications on those devices such as Joomla for content (CMS) and Git for version control.

  • Digtial Puppy

    Thanks for your comments. The My Cloud device is password protected via it’s App. When you are remote, there is WD software that does the “handshaking” and you access it via a password login. There are a few pictures of the GUI in the article, but it’s a step more secure than your DropBox. Not exactly SSH, but it’s not like you can see it from a simple snoop.

  • Guest

    I would have like to have read more on Security of this device. If it’s going to be an online device that’s holding your files I need to know how secure is it?
    Otherwise nice writeup.

    Basically a VPN access though there is no VPN connection
    Read more at http://www.legitreviews.com/western-digital-cloud-2tb-nas-review_131939/2#fQw38CEKoqpi3Hjv.99