I’m one of the blue collar, non-expert, John Q. Public types who bought a WD My Cloud mostly out of curiosity, and trying to stay on top of new technology. Here are my first impressions, and an attempt to explain previous tips in a little more detail for those who might need to know.
I could have purchased a 3 TB USB 3.0 external HDD, but I liked the idea of using Ethernet instead, with speeds potentially reaching more than 50 MB per second for GbE, and the ability to attach my three laptops to the same switch for ultrafast backups, file transfers, and VNC sessions. I didn’t buy into the idea of using this device to access files on my home computer from a remote location, or to quickly share music, movies, and videos with friends online. I simply wanted a way to synchronize, backup, and easily copy files between my two Windows 7 laptops and MacBook Pro, without having to keep plugging and unplugging an external USB HDD, and without the security risk of having my laptops and their files constantly online for unscrupulous basement dwellers to try to hack into. My only connection to the Internet is using my phone’s 4G LTE mobile hotspot. That is all I need, and as such, I don’t have a cable modem or router, and no intention of creating an online cloud. I only want a personal cloud.
I read the thread comments up to this point, and the general consensus seems to be that the WD My Cloud has the potential to transfer files quickly, but occasionally (some would say often), can be slow, finicky, unreliable, or unresponsive. Sometimes the network drops for no apparent reason. Sometimes the hard drive thrashes, trying to index all of your files. I experience these issues whenever I turn on the WDMC, but once it finally “calms down” and sees the Windows PC on the network, I’m quite pleased with its performance, especially now that I’m at typical GbE speeds.
When I first plugged in the WDMC, I was using an old 10/100 switch and ancient CAT 5e patch cables that I had scrounged from work about 10 years ago, that had probably been stepped on, run over with wheeled carts, and kinked beyond their bending radii dozens of times. File copying was much slower than with my WD Passport. I was certainly tempted to return the WDMC to the store and exchange it for a normal USB HDD, but I wanted to know how something brand new could be so slow! Could my switch and cables cause this much trouble? Looking in Start – Control Panel – Network and Sharing Center, I saw that my WDMC connection was throttled at exactly 10 Mbps. I tried manually changing the speed of the Ethernet (Marvell Yukon PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet controller) to 100 Mbps Full Duplex, but the connection wouldn’t come up. The lights stayed unlit. I switched back to Auto-Negotiation and resumed at 10 Mbps.
I switched the two patch cables with two brand new CAT 6 cables, but the speeds were still slower than my USB HDD connected to USB 2.0 ports. I was thinking of buying a Netgear GbE switch, but then I watched the videos directly or indirectly referenced in this thread, NAS 101 - Why is my WD My Cloud or other Network Drive So Slow, and Connect WD My Cloud or NAS directly to a Mac or Windows PC with Ethernet cable, and realized that I could connect the WDMC directly to my computer for the initial transfer of ~ 900 GB data from my laptops and other backup drives onto the WDMC. Afterwards, I could go buy the Netgear GbE switch to allow simultaneous connections between the WDMC and the laptops.
My first attempt to copy from the laptop to the WDMC with a direct CAT6 connection, I was going from my laptop’s slow 5400 rpm HDD, copying tons of small files, and the speed was maxing out at about 25 MB per second (about 200 Mbps). Next, I copied some gigantic 600 MB videos to my laptop’s SSD, and tried copying from the SSD to the WDMC. I was able to transfer these large files at up to 76 MB per second (about 600 Mbps) consistently! This was the best case scenario for my laptop. Probably the only ways that I could increase the speed would be to install a faster SSD or copy from a RAM drive.
When you first plug in the WDMC to a Windows 7 computer:
Start – Control Panel – Network and Sharing Center, you will probably see Unidentified Network, set for Public (most secure) mode. Click on Local Area Connection, and you will see the speed in Mbps or Gbps.
While you’re here, click on Properties – Configure – Advanced tab. Try playing around with the Ethernet controller’s Speed & Duplex setting to see if it makes any difference. Some people have recommended changing the Checksum Offload setting to disabled. If the performance suffers or the network won’t even come up, just change the settings back to what they were. Fiddling with the settings, while watching the LEDs on your Ethernet switch react in real time, clues you in as to what is happening under the surface.
Go to Windows Explorer – click in the address bar – select Network. You should eventually see three icons for WDMyCloud. You may need to wait a few minutes for all three to appear. The icon for the shared folders is typically the last one to appear.
The icon in the Media Devices category (typically the second icon, once all three icons are displayed) is for access to the My Cloud’s Twonky server. I’m not sure what this is for and I’ve never used this feature.
The icon in the Storage category (typically the third icon, once all three are displayed) is for access to the My Cloud Dashboard. One of the first things that I did was to update the firmware of the My Cloud to the most recent version. I did so manually, as follows:
Go to the WD Support website.
Click on Downloads – Product Firmware.
Select My Cloud.
Download the current firmware (Firmware Release 4.04.01-112 (10/21/2015) as of 1 Jan 2016).
Unzip and extract the file.
Now go to Windows Explorer – in the address bar, select Network – double-click on the WDMyCloud entry under Storage – this will pull up the My Cloud user interface Dashboard.
Click on Settings – Firmware – Manual Update – Update from file – point to the file that you extracted before.
For me, the My Cloud reported that it was rebooting after firmware updating completed, but nothing happened after 20 minutes of waiting. I had to reboot the device myself, and confirmed the new firmware.
The WD My Cloud has no power button. You may find this strange. Apparently, it is meant to stay running continuously, except to carry out maintenance tasks. To safely shut off or reboot the device:
Go to the Dashboard.
Click on Settings – Utilities – Device Maintenance – Shutdown, or Reboot.
The icon in the Computer category (typically the first icon, once all three are displayed) = your shared folders on the My Cloud. When you first connect directly, Windows and the WDMC will need a minute or two for the automatic 169.254 addresses to kick into gear. Once they have unique 169.254-type addresses, they can talk to each other and you should be able to see the WDMC and any shared Windows folders in your Windows Explorer – Network folder.
To see a folder from the Windows computer in the same Windows Explorer – Network window, right-click on the folder, click on Properties – Sharing tab, and create a share with appropriate permissions. You will probably have to wait a minute or two before the share appears in the Windows Explorer – Network window.
When you first double-click on the WDMyCloud icon in the Computer category, you may see, “Network discovery and file sharing are turned off. Network computers and devices are not visible. Click to change.” From there, you can change the WDMC to a Home or Work network. You will probably have to keep redoing this each time you reboot. To make this setting persistent, try one of these methods:
Start - Run – secpol.msc - Network List Manager Policies
Start - Run – gpedit.msc – Computer Configuration – Windows Settings – Security Settings – Network List Manager Policies.
Make desired changes to your networks including to “Unidentified Networks”.
Start – Run - gpupdate /force.
Start - Run - regedit.
Look at the Category and change the value from 0 (public) to 1 (home).
Once you are able to see your shared folders, you should see three default folders:
You can create your own folders, of course. I created a folder called Documents and didn’t use the three default folders at all.
Security flaw?: Interestingly, when I set my cell phone mobile hotspot for Public mode, and shared folders on my Windows SSD and HDD to access them from the WD My Cloud in Work mode, a spurious entry called M10 showed up in Windows Explorer – Network. I double-clicked on this, thinking it was part of the WD My Cloud, but it was apparently someone else’s router on the Verizon 4G LTE network. Even though my mobile hotspot was set for Public, I could see this other person’s router, and presumably they could see my WD My Cloud and Windows 7 shared folders! (I seem to remember also seeing an error message about a duplicate IP address on the network.) From that point onward, I made sure to disconnect the hotspot whenever accessing files on the private network with the WDMC, and no longer saw the M10 icon.
If you want static 192.168-type addresses instead of autoconfigured 169.254-type addresses:
On your Windows computer, click on Start – Control Panel – Network and Sharing Center.
Click on the Local Area Connection for the WDMC, which is most likely called “Unidentified Network”.
Click on Properties – Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IP v4) – Properties.
Enter in your desired IP address, subnet mask, gateway, and DNS.
I’m not sure what some of them should be, so I made educated guesses and it seemed to work fine:
IP address = 192.168.0.1
Netmask = 255.255.255.0.
Gateway = 192.168.0.1
DNS Server 1 = 192.168.0.1
The autoconfigured 169.254 network will drop as soon as you complete the IP address step.
In WDMC Dashboard, click on Settings – Network – under Network Services, turn Network Mode to Static.
Enter in your desired IP address and other details. I entered in the same as for the Windows PC, except for the WDMC’s unique IP address 192.168.0.2.
The network should come back up, with the new IP addresses, after you complete this step.
In both instances, I’m not sure if the “Gateway” and “DNS Server 1” addresses should match the IP address of the Wndows PC, or that of the WDMC, or if it even matters.
At first, I only entered in the two unique IP addresses and the subnet mask. I was able to ping the WDMC from Win7 command console (Start – Run – cmd), but the Win7 PC’s shared folder didn’t appear in the Network folder. Once I entered in values for gateway and DNS, the shared folder appeared.
To enter commands in SSH to quiet down the My Cloud’s HDD thrashing in firmware v3 (not sure if this still applies for v4?):
Download Putty on your Windows PC.
In WDMC Dashboard, click on Settings – Network – under Network Services, turn SSH on.
A window will pop up, telling you that the default SSH login is root, welc0me, and that you will be prompted to change the password after logging in.
Take note of your WDMC’s IP address. If you have an autoconfigured 169.254-type network, you can find out your WDMC’s IP address in Dashboard.
Open Putty and click on SSH, with default port 22.
Enter in the WDMC’s IP address and click Open.
You should see an SSH screen.
The interface is very slow to respond. When you type in the username and password, try to type them in very slowly and carefully, with a deliberate pause between each keystroke. When I entered them the first few times, I must have typed too quickly and SSH kept locking me out.
When you are typing in the password, the screen does not react to each keystroke and it looks like nothing is happening. Just keep typing each character.
Once you are able to log in, you will see a pound sign prompt, #. You’re in some version of Linux. Isn’t it amazing how Unix (c. 1969) and Linux (born 1991) have taken over the world? Between Android, iOS, OS X, servers, embedded devices, supercomputers, spacecraft, personal cloud drives, pretty much everything (except Windows computers) runs on something Unixlike now.
In Linux or Unix, there are some key commands that help you figure out where you are:
pwd to inform you what folder you’re in.
ls to list the contents of the folder, similar to dir in Windows Command Console.
cd to change to another folder, same as in Windows Command Console.
cd … to go up one level.
As you change folders, you will see the path displayed before the # prompt changes accordingly.
For example, if you’re at root and you cd …, then cd usr, then cd sbin, you will see:
Commands mentioned in previous threads:
update-rc.d wdphotodbmergerd disable
update-rc.d wdmcserverd disable
The wdmcserverd and wdphotodbmergerd files are in /etc/init.d, and the update-rc.d file is in /usr/sbin.
When I navigated to the /etc/init.d folder and typed wdmcserverd stop, I saw “-bash wdmcserverd command not found”. I had to navigate back to root, and type in /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd stop. Then I saw “[ok] stopping wdmcserver.”
Then I typed in update-rc.d wdmcserverd disable, and saw:
Disabling system startup links for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
Just out of curiosity, when I typed in update-rc.d wdmcserverd enable, I saw almost the same:
Enabling system startup links for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
Removing any system startup links for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
Adding system startup for /etc/init.d/wdmcserverd …
I re-stopped and re-disabled wdmcserverd, and carried out the same process (stop, then disable) for wdphotodbmergerd.
I can’t tell if the SSH commands, mentioned in this thread, accomplished anything for me, on firmware version 4. The WDMC sounds nearly the same now as it did before. There isn’t much thrashing except (1) when I first boot or re-power the device, before it calms down, and (2) when I disconnect the Ethernet cable and don’t reconnect right away. If I disconnect the cable and come back an hour later, the LED is usually white and the HDD is thrashing – and when I plug the cable back in, the network takes a longggggg time to come up fully. As long as I leave the cable connected to the PC, the LED stays blue, the drive remains relatively quiet, and the network stays intact.