The MBL is NOT a Waste of Time - It’s a pretty powerful and useful little device - and you can’t beat the $200 price for a 3TB home NAS. However, you do need to spend a little time experimenting with and understanding what its capabilities are and how to properly use them.
The MBL is actually a linux server - on which there are multiple services running in the background to allow the NAS to make the various features available to users on the network - disk space shares, streaming media server, WD Photo Server, FTP Server, iTunes Server. The disk space on the drive is formatted in a proprietary format - that can be used by different operating systems - Windows, Mac OS X, etc.
The Dashboard (http://MyBookLive/UI) - is the configuration tool that you use to set up the operational paramaters of the drive. You use the dashboard to create user shares and permissions - and to enable/disable other features of the drive.
The drive comes preconfigured with 3 Shares: Public, TimeMachine and SmartWare.
The TimeMachine and SmartWare shares are special shares used by Apple TimeMachine and the WD Smartware backup program. You can’t see or map to either of these two shares from a Windows desktop.
When you install WD Smartmare (which only works on a Windows Platform). It installs a backup process that attempts to backup all user created files that it can find on the local PC. The SmartWare backup stores those backups in the MBL’s SmartWare share - which is only accessible to the SmartWare and the user interface provided by SmartWare.
The SmartWare backup was not intended to be manually manipulated by the user - it is intended as a foolproof backup for user files - for users that don’t want to deal with the details of managing a backup. SmartWare allows you to set the number of backed up copies it will keep for each file and it by default wants to backup by category and show the backup statistics in that manner.
The WD SmartWare backup application DOES NOT create a system image backup. You cannot restore your complete system from the SmartWare backup - you can only restore user files. If you lose your internal hard drive - you would still need to reinstall Windows and all of your software before recovering your user files from the SmartWare backup.
The Complete PC Backup functionality provided in Windows 7 - Professional and Ultimate - can backup your entire system to a private network share that you create. The Complete PC Backup created by Windows 7 - can be used to restore your entire system to an empty drive. For Windows Vista - the Complete PC Backup functionality is provided in the Business, Professional and Ultimate versions - BUT - it does not support backup to a network drive - only to a locally attached USB or Firewire drive.
For the backup you are describing - it sounds like smartware may be too simplistic for your needs - and you should probably consider a different backup program - such as Norton Ghost or the FileSync that was mentioned in this thread.
The /Public share is really intended for Media files (music, photos, videos, etc) that you want the video streaming services to be able to see and render to media player devices. You should not be storing your non-media files in the Public share - for those files you will want to create a private share that will not be “processed” by the background tasks that will try to prepare your files for media streaming.
There is an extensive user guide provided on the install CD (and also in the /Public/Software share on the MBL).
The rest of your interaction with your files on the MBL is going to be achieved by using the Windows Map Network Drive option to map a Windows Drive Letter such as X: to a share on your MBL - from there - you would use Windows Explorer to copy, move and delete files from folders within your mapped drive.
Keep in mind that a mapped network drive works differently than a directly attached external hard drive (USB/Firewire) in that when you move folders into other folders or vice-versa on the network share - the PC must completly copy the files in those folders (through the PC) into the new folder - which can be time consuming - unlike on a USB/Firewire external drive where moving a folder simply moves the folders pointer.
I hope you find this helpful as a nutshell overview of MBL.