Lack of knowledge

I may be in the wrong place and if this is the case please tell me where I should be so I can put things right? I have an empty Drop Box and don’t know how to move my files into it. As for Cloud, I cannot understand how it works, what its relationship to my WD Elements box and back up files, or what I should be doing with it. As you can see, I am in a bit of a mess and would appreciate some help. Perhaps someone could point me in the direction of some reading matter which may seep through the windmills of my mind? (Being 84 doesn’t help matters) as I would really like to know how this all works.

You can download and read the WD My Cloud User Manual from the following link:

The My Cloud is a network attached storage device. Think external hard drive that any computer on the local network can access. The single bay My Cloud units do not have the capability, from within the My Cloud Dashboard, to upload files to Dropbox or any other cloud based storage service. What you will have to do is use the Dropbox software or Dropbox web portal to copy files from the My Cloud to the Dropbox storage location.

There are unofficial ways to possibly upload direct from the My Cloud to Dropbox but those methods involve accessing the My Cloud through SSH and may be complicated.

Note that if you have a large amount of data stored on the My Cloud it may take a very long time to upload that data to Dropbox. It is best to connect, using an Ethernet cable, the computer to the same router/gateway that the My Cloud is connected to in order to improve copying speed when copying a large amount of data. Trying to copy a large amount of data using WiFi will be even slower taking even more time.


Thank you very much for your reply. Is My Cloud another piece of hard or software please/ All I have is a WD Elements black box whose light flashes on and off whilst connected. When I open Drop Box I see two oblong frames one title C:/ and the left hand one showing F:/ next to them is another oblong screen which is empty entitled DropBox . What I am trying to do is move the contents of either C:/ or F:/ to the DropBox. I am not sure where My Cloud comes into things or for that matter, what it is? Sorry to be such a dimwit but the guy in the computer shop told me the hardware was easy to use and was the greatest thing since nylons, He told me all I had to do was plug it in to the computer and it would automatically update all my files whilst it was plugged in and the machine was switched on. It has done that alright but I cannot figure how to get the files into the drop box and what happens after that. My apologies for my complete lack of knowledge here, perhaps I should have been more wary and purchased something a lot more simple??



The My Cloud is hardware.

You can not move the computer operating system from the C;\ drive. What you can move is user data files. Dropbox is generally used to store files for remote access and to backup files from the local computer. The following links have more info on the WD My Cloud and Dropbox.

WD Product page for My Cloud:

Why do files move instead of copy?

All I have is a WD Elements black box whose light flashes on and off whilst connected

First things first; we need to establish exactly what equipment and software you do have.

If I understand you correctly, you have a PC, and a WD Elements external USB hard disk drive. You don’t have a WD MyCloud network drive (the white box, shown in Bennor’s post above).

Is this correct? Or have you also bought a WD MyCloud network drive?

When I open Drop Box I see two oblong frames one title C:/ and the left hand one showing F:/ next to them is another oblong screen which is empty entitled DropBox

When you say you ‘open DropBox’, how are you doing this?

  • using a dedicated program on the computer
  • using a web-based interface (using a web browser, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome)
  • some other means

The C: drive is the hard disk in your computer.
The F: drive is probably the WD Elements USB hard disk

He told me all I had to do was plug it in to the computer and it would automatically update all my files whilst it was plugged in and the machine was switched on

In order for that to happen, some program has to run to control the automatic copying; there may be backup software installed on the Elements drive to do this. Aha! “WD Elements portable storage comes with a trial version of WD SmartWare Pro backup software

So, did you install SmartWare, or SmartWarePro? If so, here’s the user manual for it:

The next question is: what are you using your Elements drive for? As a primary data store (e.g. for photos, videos and music, etc), or as a backup, leaving the C: drive as your primary data store. If you’re just using it as a backup, then you may not need Dropbox at all; your data is already backup up once, so you’re protected against failure of your computer’s hard drive (but not against theft, fire, etc. unless you keep the Elements drive in another secure location; a firesafe, someone else’s house, etc).

‘Cloud’ is just a term to describe a remote storage facility, accessible via the Internet. DropBox and Google Drive are example cloud services.

It’s up to you what you do with cloud storage such as DropBox; that and how much space you have. Cloud is useful as a secondary backup store, and for allowing you to access your data from a mobile device, such as a smartphone with phone network data access, or a tablet with WiFi access (using WiFi access points in cafes, etc).

So, decide what data you want to back up remotely, and what data you need to have available when you’re away from home. Put that data on DropBox. You don’t need to copy everything, only the files you don’t want to lose, or need when you’re out and about.

Feel free to ask further questions: I’m used to providing IT support for my 84-yr-old mother…

Hi cpt_paranoia,
Thanks for replying to my plea for help. No, I don’t have a white box like the one shown, just a wee black one WD
WD Elements. I started out to use it purely as a back up tool for all the files I have on my “C” drive and to the best of my knowledge I never installed any other software other than that for the external hard drive. I am using Windows 10 and showing on my “All Apps” list are the following Western Digital > WD Quick View > WD Smart Ware, no mention of any Drop Box so perhaps as you say, I do not have the software for a DP installed. I seem to recall there was a fee to be paid for the use of a Drop Box and storage? It would make things a lot easier if I could send you some screen shots of what appears on my screen when I open both the WD and the DP, is there any way I could do that?

Basically all I want to do is use it for a back up of all the files on my computer, I keep all my pictures on an IOMEGA external HD which still has oodles of space available. I have been under the impression that Drop Box has something to do with My Cloud, in fact I have the Drop Box icon on my desktop but when I try to open it, nothing happens.

When I open “Getting started with Drop Box” I get the following
. :- On Windows or Mac

  1. Make sure you’ve installed the desktop app on your computer. (which I have done)
  2. Drag and drop files into the Dropbox folder. That’s it!


  1. Sign in to
  2. Click the Upload button at the top of the window.
  3. Choose the file you’d like to add, and click Open.
  4. Or, just drag and drop files directly into your
    web browser.

These are just two of the items I see when I click on getting started with Drop Box.

It’s all a mystery to me. Are you in the UK or shouldn’t I ask? I will have a look at and see what’s on there, maybe I can get the software from them.

Will keep you posted.

Cheers for now,


Hi Bennor,

Thanks for that, so I would be far better staying with what I have got, just a WD Elements unit for back up of my “C” drive purposes and that’s it?

Cheers for now,


The Smartware Pro program has an option to back up to Dropbox. If you plan on using Smartware its a good idea to read the Smartware User Manual (, in particular Chapter 8 which has a section on how to back up to a Dropbox account when using the Smartware Pro software.

If all you plan on doing, or want to do is have an external hard drive that connects directly to the computer and is used to backup your computers data then the WD Elements drive should be sufficient. If you want an external hard drive that other computers/devices on the local network can access and that you can access remotely while away from home then the WD My Cloud is a good option.

Before I start, I’d better point out that I don’t use SmartWare or Dropbox. So my comments are based on the SmartWare User Manual, and the Dropbox website.

my “All Apps” list are the following Western Digital > WD Quick View > WD Smart Ware

So you do have WD SmartWare installed on your PC. Is that what you’re using to backup your C: drive files to your WD Elements drive?

If not, what tool are you using to do backups? And how do you control what files you backup? As Bennor explained, you cannot simply backup your operating system to an external drive; you will have to use the Windows system tools to create a Recovery Drive and System Image.

According to the manual, the paid for SmartWare Pro (you will have to pay for it after the free 30 day trial expires) has the option to backup to Dropbox (p3 “The upgraded WD SmartWare Pro software supports Dropbox cloud services.”). I would imagine that it is able to do this without any additional software being installed; it will have all the protocols required to access the Dropbox service built in to the program.

You would also need a Dropbox account. According to their website, you can have up to 2GB of storage for free (the ‘Dropbox Basic Plan’). For more than 2GB, you’ll need a ‘Dropbox Pro Plan’, costing £7.99 a month, giving you up to 1TB storage.

Once you have a Dropbox account, you can login/register that account within SmartWare; see p65 of the SmartWare user manual.


Basically all I want to do is use it for a back up of all the files on my computer

You seem to be doing this already, backing up your files to the WD Elements drive.

I keep all my pictures on an IOMEGA external HD which still has oodles of space available

If you don’t have a copy of these files anywhere else, then you have no backup in case the IOMega fails (as all hard disk drives can, at any time; that’s what backups are for).

If the Elements drive is big enough, you could also backup the IOMega drive to it.
Your C: drive will then be your working version of files stored on the PC.
Your IOMega drive will then be the working version of your pictures.
Your WD Elements drive will then be the backup for both your C: drive and your IOMega drive.
This backup system will provide you protection against loss of data due to failure of your PC’s hard drive, or your IOMega external hard drive.

Then you will need to decide how often you need to backup, which will depend on how often you add new files, or modify them, and how much data loss you are prepared to accept.

I use a different backup tool, that I run each time I log off my PC after I’ve been using it. This backs up any files I’ve changed whilst working on the PC, in my case, to my MyCloud NAS, but in your case it would be to your Elements drive.

I store all my media on my MyCloud NAS, and none on my PC. When I add new media to it, I run a different backup ‘script’ (but using the same tool as above) to backup my NAS to a USB HDD I connect to my PC.

I don’t have continuous backup running (where a backup tool continuously monitors for changes, and saves them on the backup drive), because I don’t need it, and I suspect you probably don’t either. You just need to make sure you follow your routine backup regime.

Doing regular, scheduled backups means that you don’t need the backup drive permanently connected to your computer. You can keep it somewhere hidden from burglars, reducing the risk of data loss through theft. Or you can even ask someone else to look after it (provided you can get access to it for your regular backups); this will reduce the risk of data loss from fire, flood, etc.

I have been under the impression that Drop Box has something to do with My Cloud

No. WD My Cloud ™ isn’t necessarily anything to do with the Dropbox service. Dropbox is a cloud service, which uses a large. remotely accessible ‘data warehouse’ somewhere in the world to store your data. Literally, it’s a big warehouse, full of racks and racks of hard disk drives and internet data links. You access your data via the internet, using various tools.

MyCloud is simply a Network Attached Storage device; a bit like a USB hard drive, only connected by Ethernet in your home network. The ‘cloud’ bit comes from the fact that it can be accessed external to your home network, giving you a ‘personal cloud service’, rather like the commercial cloud services such as Dropbox. Only you own the hardware, and the ‘data warehouse’ is your house, and the communications link is your internet connection.

If you don’t need to be able to access your data when away from home, you don’t need a WD MyCloud or a Dropbox account

If you don’t need offsite backup, you don’t need a Dropbox account.

in fact I have the Drop Box icon on my desktop but when I try to open it, nothing happens.

I don’t know why you have a Dropbox icon on your desktop…

Hi Again,

Wow, what a wonderful wealth of information, so much so that I now know practically everything I wanted to know. I will stick with just the WD Elements and do regular back ups in the future. I have set up a back up routine for 6-30pm every night so I can go in any day of the week at that time and do what is necessary. I have been advised not to keep the unit continually attached to the computer as it could well put extra strain on the hard drive. I know not whether that is true but that’s where I am.

As for the Drop Box icon on my desk top, I will delete it as I now have no intention of using it, as you say, I have no need of it. It’s obvious I got my self in what we would say in the RN, “a two and eight” but am much more clear about all now.
What you have recommended is much more simple and clear to understand and that will do me fine.

Thanks a million for all your help, I really appreciate the time and patience you have shown, without it, I would still have been struggling and probably bought a Elements Smartware Pro update and got myself into added expense I don’t need, so once again a big thank you.

If I get stuck again with my back ups, I hope you won’t mind if I get back in touch with you again, if that’s possible using this system. for now,

Kindest regards and best wishes,


Hi |Bennor,

Thanks for coming back to me. Since I last posted I have had a wealth of info from cpt_paranoia, who has put me on the straight and narrow in as much as I now know I don’t need a Drop Box or any clouds. As I am using my WD Elements simply for back up’ s from my computer, what I have got is sufficient which is nice to know. As I said earlier, I have set up a back up routine for 6-30 every evening so I can connect the unit and let it do it’s stuff without me interfering, what more could you ask for. I was told by the guy in the computer shop, yes, the same one, not to keep the unit continually connected as it could be putting extra strain on the hard drive (“c”.) disc. I don’t know whether that is true or not but that’s what I have been doing.?

Thanks again for your interest, help and advice, it is very much appreciated.

Kind regards,


A regular backup is a good idea. But there’s only really a need to run a backup if files have been added or changed.

So your backup regime should reflect how you use your PC; if you’re not using it every day, and adding/editing files every day, you won’t need to run the backup every day.

My main desktop PC is turned off most of the time; it saves power and stops it wearing out. As I said, I run a backup utility when I’ve finished working on it that backs up any changes, and then shuts the computer down.

I manually run a backup of the NAS to a couple of backup drives, when I’ve added media files to it. If I’ve ripped CDs, I won’t always bother, as I can re-rip a few CDs if the disk fails before I back it up.

I have another, low power PC that I use for accessing media. It runs Win7, and will sleep, and uses less than 1W in sleep. I don’t keep any files on that (everything is stored on the NAS), so I don’t need to back it up.

If your PC shuts down external disk drives when it sleeps (I’m assuming you’ve set up sleep or hibernation options), then you should be able to leave them connected without reducing their life expectancy. But turning off USB power is a bit of a black art in Windows 7: maybe Win10 has improved it…

Also remember not to just unplug the USB HDDs if the PC is running; either eject them or ‘safely remove’ them, or shut the PC down first.

You’ll settle to a backup regime that suits you and your way of working. Backups are important if you don’t want to lose data, but they shouldn’t take over your life…

Always happy to help out an old salt; please do come back if you need any further advice.

Thanks for that. I have removed everything connected to a Drop Box but am still in a pickle because I have one oblong screen with a record of all the files/pictures that are backed up and another beside it which is named Drop Box with nothing in it. I went to Retrieve to see how it works but all I got was a blank screen with something about selecting a volume but could no response from anywhere? So, the question is, if I wanted to retrieve a doc/pic how would I go about doing so? I wish it wasn’t so complicated and that I was fifty yearws younger so I could keep up with all this and not be a pain in the …. To all and sundry.

Oh well, nearly time for a tot, the sun is almost over the yard arm.



This is the screen I was trying to describe…


Have you got your elements drive plugged in?

I also note that you do seem to have media on your C: drive. Is this backed up to your IOMega, or does that hold more media?

Sry about the delay in response. At the time I sent the post no, I didn’t have the unit plugged in, but when I did I got different screen. The majority of my pictures (media) is on the Iomega but yes, there is some on the WD. Unfortunately, I have to attend a meeting this evening and have to leave home now. Could we continue this tomorrow please as I would really like to get it all sorted out.

I will sign off now and pick up your response when I get home about 9-30 to 10pm. Sorry I cant stay with you at the moment but thanks again for replying.

Cheers for now,


How can I send you some screen shots of what is going on please??



These are the two screens I get with the unit plugged in and turned on. I am not sure what I have to do to retrieve a file if I had the need. Apart from that, I think I have a grasp of the nettle.



I’ve read a bit more of the manual. I noted that the Elements drive wasn’t mentioned in the list of supported WD drives, and that you have to upgrade to the Pro version of the software to make it work. This is confirmed on p32 of the user manual.

If you haven’t upgraded your software to the 30-day trial of Pro, then I suspect it simply won’t show your Elements drive, or your IOMega drive. That’s why it’s only showing the Dropbox image. [edit: hmmm… Pro is needed for Drop box support, too, so you may have installed it…]

I note that the Dropbox logo in your screenshots doesn’t have a little key symbol beside it, which means that you must have created, and logged into a Dropbox account…

Since your source data includes more than 300GB of photos, and you only have 2GB of Dropbox storage, the backup tool may have decided not to do anything.

So it looks like you would have to upgrade to SmartWare Pro, and pay for a licence, or look to another, free backup tool. I use FreeFileSync:

The interface looks à bit daunting at first, but, once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to configure, and very versatile.

I was hoping some SmartWare users would pitch in to this thread with advice.

Hi cpt_paranoia,

Been having a bit of bother with the machine, I suspect it has been caused by a MS update. Having bought the Elements, I will have a look at an upgrade. It seems a shame to have spent all that money in the first place and then not to take advantage of it. If you think I am taking the wrong course, please, do let me know. As a back up, I will have a look at the link you sent me. The machinations of it all may be a bit above my technical ability however, I will give it a go tomorrow, that is if the machine is still working properly. It’s a bit hit and miss at the moment.

I will get back to you tomorrow and let you know ow how it goes.

Thanks for your reply and your advice, much appreciated.

Kindest regards,