[Guide] How to use a 2.5 inch hard drive in a single bay My Cloud

How to use a 2.5 inch hard drive in a single bay My Cloud

Boilerplate Warning: Proceed at your own risk!!! Backup any user data, if possible, when erasing or replacing an existing hard drive!!!

Note: This was done on a first gen v.4x single bay My Cloud. I assume the same can be done on a second gen single bay My Cloud running the v.2x firmware.

Note on SSD Drives: I tried using two different spare SSD drives (a 64GB and 120GB drive) and was not able to get either one to properly boot. Both got stuck with a Red front LED and no Dashboard access. Multiple attempts at cloning and manually running the unbrick process failed. Not sure if its an issue with the drive small size or with an incompatibility between the firmware/hardware of the My Cloud and using an SSD drive as the main drive. YMMV Others may have better luck with their SSD drives (or not).

Items used:

  • First gen single bay My Cloud
  • 750GB 2.5 inch Toshiba hard drive from an old Toshiba Satellite Laptop
  • ORICO 2.5 SSD SATA to 3.5 Hard Drive Adapter Internal Drive Bay Converter Mounting Bracket Caddy Tray (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZWX6PD)

Steps used:
One can use any of the unbrick methods or clone drive methods described in numerous past discussions. When using software cloning one may have to use the manual option, if available, to clone from a larger drive to a smaller drive if the 2.5 inch drive is smaller than the existing My Cloud drive.

I generally use the unbrick directions put together by user Fox_exe. Over the years, have successfully used these directions on a number of different hard drives. From the current 2.5 inch 750GB drive to 3.5 inch; 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 8TB and 12TB (yes 12TB) hard drives.

I typically use the Linux Distro from Ubuntu (https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop). While I have an Oracle VirtualBox (https://www.virtualbox.org/) configured with Ubuntu that I use, I also have a bootable USB Flash drive running Ubuntu as a backup. If using Ubuntu, they have directions on how to create a DVD or USB Flash drive boot media for Windows or Macintosh on their Desktop Download page (https://ubuntu.com/download/desktop). The use of a VM or VirtualBox Linux setup requires additional knowledge and setup. One may have to use the VM settings to assign the USB to SATA adapter to the Linux VM.

There are many USB to SATA adapters, docking stations, SATA ports one can use. Currently I use a USB to SATA adapter (example: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B011M8YACM) for the 2.5 inch hard drives. If using a 3.5 inch hard drive one generally needs to use a dedicated powered USB to SATA adapter (example: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLL41MA).

I will not do a step by step explanation of the full unbrick procedure here. The directions provided by user Fox_exe are general enough that most people with a little bit of computer/Linux knowledge should be able to figure things out. If not use your favorite internet search engine to learn how to use Linux or issue Linux commands.

User Fox_exe repositories:
Main Repository: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/
First Gen: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen1/
Second Gen: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/

First gen directions:
English: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen1/Replace%20HDD%20-%20English.txt
Russian: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen1/Replace%20HDD.txt
File(s) used in first gen:
original_v03.04.01-230.tar.gz: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen1/Backups/original_v03.04.01-230.tar.gz
original_v04.01.02-417.tar.gz: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen1/Backups/original_v04.01.02-417.tar.gz
Latest first gen firmware: http://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?g=904

Second gen directions:
English: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/_Unbricking_en.txt
Russian: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/_Unbricking_ru.txt
usbrecovery.tar.gz: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/usbrecovery.tar.gz
Alternate method files:
uImage-wdrecovery: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/Developing/uImage-wdrecovery
uRamdisk-wdrecovery: https://fox-exe.ru/WDMyCloud/WDMyCloud-Gen2/Developing/uRamdisk-wdrecovery
Latest second gen firmware: http://support.wdc.com/downloads.aspx?g=904

I do not have a second gen single bay My Cloud so cannot comment on how that unbrick procedure works.

Notes on running unbrick directions: After successful unbrick one can update the My Cloud to the latest firmware. When running the first gen unbrick directions from User Fox_exe I typically get one or two errors, which I tend to bypass.The unbrick process typically completes despite these errors. Places where I typically get warnings or errors:

  • Step 8. The command ‘mdadm -A /dev/md0 /dev/sdb1 /dev/sdb2’ sometimes throws an error. I typically just ignore the error and continue to the next entry command in step 8.
  • Step 12. When using the original_v04.01.02-417.tar.gz file, I get a out of space error when running the command ‘dd if=kernel.img of=/dev/sdb5’. I typically ignore this error and proceed to the next entry command in step 12. When using the original_v03.04.01-230.tar.gz extracted files I do not get the out of space error message on sdb5.
  • When booting the My Cloud for the first time after unbricking the hard drive I eventually get a red front LED after the bootup completes. I then attempt to access the My Cloud Dashboard. If I am able to access the Dashboard I run a Settings > Utilities > System Factory Restore > System Only restore. This typically fixes the 0K capacity and the failed mount issue that typically happens with this unbrick procedure.

Using a 2.5 inch drive works but it is a bit slow both in loading/running the My Cloud Dashboard and in transferring files to/from the My Cloud. Otherwise all other features (local/remote access, etc.) appear to work without issue. Transfer speed to the My Cloud running on a 2.5 drive is very slow compared to a 3.5 drive. This is due to several issues including the 2.5 inch drive being 5,400 RPM among other things. Crystal Disk Mark results shown below.

Final words:
Why bother some may ask. Well why not. :slight_smile: Tinkering is fun for some. The ability to reconfigure these older single bay units when the drive goes bad is a major plus. Using a 2.5 inch drive isn’t the best method to replace the internal hard drive in a single bay My Cloud but it is doable as this post shows. One can use a 2.5 inch drive in a pinch while waiting for deals on larger 3.5 inch drives. Not sure why the unused SSD drives I have didn’t work despite repeated attempts. For those who like to tinker and keep this old basic NAS running, enjoy.

Screen captures:
Orico 2.5 to 3.5 drive tray.

2.5 inch drive in Orinoco drive tray.

2.5 inch drive in Orico drive tray with My Cloud backplane attached

2.5 inch drive in Orico drive tray in My Cloud Enclosure.

My Cloud Dashboard running on 2.5 inch drive.

Crystal Disk mark from old laptop running USB 3.0 Ethernet adapter to My Cloud running 2.5 inch drive.

You could really use the rs232 output to see what is going wrong.

I run original firmware and Debian on Sata DOM (Disk-on-module) with only 1 GB size (!).
Hell, why not!? :smiley:

Will probably take another run at some point at using an SSD drive in the My Cloud. Could mess with an RS232 to see what’s going on during boot, but probably won’t bother. So far the mechanical 750GB 2.5 inch drive is working fine with the unit being up for over two weeks now in light use. The Orinco drive tray is great since one can screw down the My Cloud motherboard on it for mounting in the My Cloud enclosure.

I admire the ingenuity and gung ho attitude in this thread.

At what point do you just get a Raspberry Pi and completely roll your own :slight_smile:

I have a MyCloud Gen 1 and an EX2 Ultra. . . I see a notable performance difference. . . pretty sure its not because of the HDD’s inside of the units. . . . .

Have done that too a few years ago. :grinning: Downside was the limited bus speed (USB2.0) of the Pi 3 B+ that was the latest Pi at the time. Ended up using the Pi as a Plex server with the My Cloud as the media library storage lrepository for close to two years before moving to a more capable Synology NAS. Currently just use the 3 B+ as a second Pi-hole in addition to hosting a Samba share to a old USB 2.0 hard drive. And use the My Cloud mostly for experimenting these days and limited storage.

Note for anyone interested. There is an Amazon Prime Day 2020 deal on the ORICO caddy for $6.39.

ORICO 2.5 SSD SATA to 3.5 Hard Drive Adapter Internal Drive Bay Converter Mounting Bracket Caddy Tray for 7 / 9.5 / 12.5mm 2.5 inch HDD / SSD with SATA III Interface