Expansion via USB - Any Restriction?


I have a WD MyCloud 4TB single bay, I believe that’s what is referred to as 1st Gen? Couple of images (stickers on back of MyCloud) attached to this post.

It’s a couple of years old, I run it purely as a media server for Movies and TV Series on my home network. It’s been running with a 2TB non mains USB hard drive plugged in as expansion (networked drive). I want to expand the storage, replacing the 2TB drive with a mains powered drive of higher capacity 4TB/6TB upwards. Is there any restriction in expansion size, problems arising etc?

Apologies if it seems a simplistic question to you guys in the know. I’ve seen similar questions asked but nothing querying expansion restrictions, I’d appreciate any advice/tips. TIA.

Secondly, I’ve seen mention of hack to run Plex, is that applicable to this model?

The photos you posted show no meaningful information in identifying your My Cloud Model Number and Generation.

A Model Number will be P/N … but the still won’t tell us what “Gen” you have

Open the Dashboard of your WD My Cloud and look under Device > Firmware

If it’s 2.xxx firmware, it is Gen 2.
If it’s 4.xxx firmware, it is Gen 1

Size doesn’t seem to be a problem … but how you partition and format it can be (See User: Bennor comments … no probs with a 5TB)

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TY for all the info and the link to that thread, appreciated. :wink:

Firmware is v2.31.195 so Gen 2 - What does that mean btw? Newer models?

Having browsed that thread I see they mention potential problems if more than one partition on the drive which mine won’t be, there’s someone in that thread mentions having 4x8TB drives for expansion! :astonished: My expansion will be either 4 or 6TB.


Gen2 uses different system software (which is needed for the modular installable packages), has more RAM, and a slightly faster processor.

However, it also has no persistent root file system, which makes it painful to work around for some of the more “Fun” things you can do with it.

However, since it is a Gen2, and you want to hack it to run Plex, check out this thread.

Be aware that the single bay units lack sufficient processor power to do on-the-fly transcoding. Instead, you will need to tell plex to do the “alternate versions” thing, and let it grind away at the media library, and make multiple versions of your movies at different bitrates so that it can satisfy connecting devices and their needs.

In terms of limits with USB drive attachment, the manual mentions something about 3 drives on the port. This is most likely an issue with the automounter more than anything else. The real limiting factor is that the port does not give true USB3.0 speeds. It is more of a USB2.0+ port, where you get somewhat faster than normal 2.0, but not the speeds of 3.0. Also, CPU use will go up when using the port.

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So far no problems using hard drives from 250GB all the way up to 12TB on a single bay (first gen v4.x firmware) My Cloud. So far there doesn’t seem to be a limit on the size of the internal hard drive one can use. Probably is but don’t recall anyone posting what it might be. Same goes for external USB hard drives attached to the My Cloud USB port. Most people don’t have trouble with a single USB drive, where one typically runs into problems is using multiple USB drives and an unpowered USB hub. The My Cloud documentation states that up to 7 USB drives can be used on a single bay My Cloud yet people have reported problems with using 4 or more USB drives. If using two or more USB drives try using powered USB drives or a good powered USB hub.

Some examples.

8TB drive internal:

12TB drive internal with another 12GB drive attached to the My Cloud USB port:

Note: That second image indicating 22TB free is not a typo. :laughing:

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Cheers, I’ll pass on the Plex thing. Clearly a proper Plex setup on a NAS demands the appropriate hardware. Shelve that idea.

If going with a dedicated NAS to run a Plex Media Server it helps to review the Plex NAS Guide sheet which lists various NAS brands/models and their Plex compatibility.


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Bennor gives good advice with the NAS table. I own a 2 bay EX2 Ultra in addition to my single bay Gen2.

The EX2 Ultra IS able to transcode on the fly. (The NAS table listed says the opposite, iirc…)

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Apologies for bumping what might be considered a slightly old thread. However I’m about to order my expansion drive today/tomorrow and opted for WD 10TB Elements Desktop External Hard Drive which I’m seeing for £172 on Amazon etc.

Ideally I’d have wanted a new NAS with a couple of hefty drives (10TB) configured in RAID1, but the cost becomes silly money, approaching a grand!

While looking at the 10TB Elements Desktop I noticed other 10TB WD drives and even to the cheapest one (shown below) the price difference from the 10TB Elements Desktop is huge - why? I can appreciate maybe better quality drives or whatever, but how can you have 10TB in a case, USB etc, for much less than a drive alone, is the drive in the Elements Desktop hugely inferior quality or is it just a bargain atm?

WD HDD Gold 10TB SATA £317
WD 3.5" Red NAS HDD £339
WD WD101KRYZ 10 TB Enterprise Hard Drive - Gold £407

Also it’s doubtful the 10TB Elements plugged into my MyCloud will ever be turned off, anyone else do this?