My Book Live - Slow as a funeral

I have just purchased a My Book Live 1TB Home Network Drive and am in the process of backing up an Imac approx 260GB. I started it at 8.00am this morning and 9 hours later it has only backed up 80GB.

I am using Time Machine and is backing up using a wireless router. It also slows down my browser / internet connection.

Very poor speed and frustraing!

Is this normal? 

Yes it is, a wireless connection is even slower than Megabit. If you want speed then connect the MBL -and- your Mac to a Gigabit port on your router.

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Best title for a discussion about the MBL… EVER!  :smiley:

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I have noticed that the wire read speed from MBL can reach 60-70 MBps, however the write speed does not go more than 24 MBps. Is this normal?? The write speed is less than half the read?

Are you calling that slow?

I’ve just moved this morning EVERYTHING from MBL to my laptop HDD just because MBL software was messed up and could not access MBL remotely anymore (WD support suggested factory restore; that means everything is erased from MBL: GREAT!!!). Copy speed from MBL was 3-3.5MB/s (reported by Win7).

Now I’m moving back to MBL my data and Win7 reports 850KB/s.

Extra-fantastic-super drive!

mmmm… may be your windows is using WEBDAV, and not Samba…

In a command prompt write “net use”, and tell me what it says.

Update: after few canceled attempts to move back my data on MBL I’ve noticed that after ~2 minutes of copying the speed began to increase untill it reached 3.2-3.5MB/s (as win7 displayed). I didn’t do anything. So…

I noticed something that makes sense. If the copying include lots of small size files, the transfer speed is slow, because the OS does lots of admin work on the file system for each file. So this slows down the net transfer. But if you copy a large file alone, it will give you the max. possible transfer speed.

But are you on Gigabit ethernet, or 100M? Also, are you sure the duplex  is correct if on 100M?

It would appear that the standard speed of the MBL is indeed pretty much that of a funerary procession, and one with lots of old ladies wailing and breaking down, not one of those New Orleans Jazz funerals!

Worse still, It would seem that many folks here seem to think that attaching the computer via Cat5 cable is a satisfactory answer. I can hardly agree when I bought the **bleep** thing exactly so I could back up my data wirelessly, and 15 metres of cable running around the house is unlikely to brighten my wife’s day. Apparently these things are just plain slow, in the glacial sense, occasionaly the geological!

I can easily hit 60-70 MBytes/s on a my book live using gigabit ethernet.  Don’t complain about slow speed if you use wireless.  Do you see a wireless antenna on the MBL?    Blame your lousy wireless connection and the router.

When I received my replacement drive, I was able to copy around 190 gig of music from a usb3 drive on an usb3 adapter on the computer to the MBL at around 29 MB/s; all done in 2 hrs & the MBL had to create all the subdirectories while writing & cataloging the very long file/directory names.  The router is a 1 ghz capabable.

“Slow” is using a usb drive connected to a usb2 port of the router even if the router is at 1 ghz; guess what speed is the max of usb2 & if it ever is close to actual speed of the work…

I’m afraid I have this problem too.

Just bought the 3TB version.

  • Gigabit Network?  Check.

  • Gigabit Wireless?  Check.

What I’m doing?

  • Transferring numerous files, big and small, from an external HDD through my laptop, to the NAS


  • USB2.0 HDD --> laptop --> network router --> NAS.   Result:  Maintains at about 3.5 MB/s.

  • USB3.0 HDD --> laptop --> network router --> NAS.   Result:  Maintains at about 3.5 MB/s.

  • USB2.0 HDD --> laptop --> NAS.  Result:  Maintains at about 29 MB/s.

  • USB3.0 HDD --> laptop --> NAS.  Result:  Maintains at about 39 MB/s.


  • When I first installed the drive, I was getting only 350 KB/s transfers!  A reboot (WD software did not recommen this, I just did it) raised the rate to 3.5 MB/s.

  • 29 MB/s is the rate I usually achieve with transferring files from the USB 2.0 external HDD.  So in this case, when the NAS (My Book Live) is connected physicall via my laptop’s ethernet port, I am getting the maximum available speed.

  • limitations I have:  7200RPM HDD, 12GB RAM, i7 1.73 GHz processor.

  • I feel it disturbing at how many people are experiencing similar speeds (even online reviewers) and at how difficult it is to find a simple list of things to check.


The 3.5 MB/s rate for transfers over the network is unacceptable!  Does someone have an answer for this?  I haven’t seen a single repository with solutions for this issue.  Does WD have a defined escalation path document to help us determine bottlenecks? 

Thanks for all of your contributions.  For those who are getting 50, 60, 70, 80, 90 MB/s rates… what specifically are you doing?  Did you do anything special after taking the device out of the box and before using it?

In your USB2 scenario 29MB/s will be the maximum ever because the data throughput is limited by the USB2 interface. In the USB3 case you achieve 39MB/s, which sounds good for me as you write that the MBL writes at this speed as well. The high speeds that are claimed by some are only possible when the MBL can read big files, no chance while writing. I have never experienced transfer speeds over about 50MB/s. Maybe the guide you were talking about would be a good idea.

So the main bottleneck seem to be your router. Maybe you can exchange it with a Gbit-switch for testing purposes.

Another hint for tweaking your ethernet connection is increasing the MTU size on your laptop, your switch/router and your MBL.

Good luck


“Gigabit” wireless???  Do you have one of those new “ac” type router that can do wireless at 1 ghz?  Which make/model?

You didn’t state how the laptop was connected to the router but since you mentioned a gigabit wireless, I presume that your connection was done via wireless.  Most 1 gig routers only have “up to 300” or now, “up to 450” or so mbps.

Your numbers is about consistent with a “normal” wireless router unless the 1 gig router only has a max of 54 mbps.  However, if you do have a router that can do 1 gig wireless connections, then check your router setup on requirements for doing wireless 1 gig.  My netgear wouldn’t do lower than 300 mbps wireless in the 11n setting until the recent change in firmware; had to downgrade to the 150 mbps if I wanted “user friendly” wireless.

As of now, I haven’t seen the “11ac” protocol wireless 1 gig wired routers for sale at Frys or Newegg; perhaps later this year; however, none of my devices can connect at the 1 gig mode wireless & my printer only can connect wired at 54 mbps.