Shuck-a MyCloud Home, when the walls fell

In case you are in the wrong forum, the My Cloud Home (MCH) is the more recent personal cloud storage device which WDC introduced around the June of 2017 and it is a perfectly rectangular box, without the rounded front that is associated with the earliler generation of My Cloud (MC) storage devices. With its introduction, the MCH case was also manufactured to a tighter tolerance and it is no longer feasible to wedge the unit open by sliding a slim edge or card into the seam of the unit. Instead, one or two 1mm holes can be drilled to the depth of 1 mm on one side of the casing and a pin inserted to deform the clip to release the bottom silver case. The exact measurement is 6 mm from the seam between the ivory top and silver bottom case and 39 mm from the opposite ends (please see photo). Prior to pulling the case apart, remember to remove the 4 Phillip head screws hidden under the two gray rubber pads on the bottom silver casing of the MCH. Only one side of the MCH needed to be drilled, on the side opposite from the hard drive and the upper and lower case should pull apart relatively easily after the internal tabs depressed by pins.

Please note that all warranty is void when a hard drive is shucked from its casing when it is done without the authorization of WDC. Please note that one does not have to shuck a MCH in order to find out the identity of the hard drive inside, please see the SMR link below for instructions to identify the hard drive and possibly file a claim.

The primary reason one would wish to shuck a MCH is that the hard drive in the the MCH is most likely a SMR (Shingled Magnetic Recording) drive (series WD?0EFAX) and is unsuitable for use in a network connected environment and in many cases SMRs are not suitable even for desk top use and should be relegated to archival purposes such as write once-read many times archives. As shown below, under certain test conditions, the performance of random writes in the MCH private space can be 0.0 MBps, to say that that number is not satisfactory could be an understatement.


To understand why it has come to this and why allegorical ‘when the walls fell’ for some MCH users, one has to understand why the identity of the hard drive in the My Cloud Home was never published by WDC. WDC may have it posted somewhere internal to their company, but it was never revealed to their customers. Many customers would have likely avoided the MCH had they known they were buying a SMR drive.

Part II Knives out for the My Cloud Home

Yes, the use of two 5 or 6 inch steak knives really is the best way to release the black plastic cage from the white casing which is sometimes difficult to release - don’t force or stab the knives in, just lubricate the tips of the knives with a little petroleum jelly or pork lard if you prefer /j, and slip it behind the plastic catch that is holding each side of the case against the drive cage, it should release without much effort.

The rest of the hard disk drive can be removed by loosening the 4 Torx #8 screws and two Phillips screws.

Once the hard disk is out, you can plug into the SATA ports (2 free ports suggested as USB support may be lacking in some partition and cloning software) of a PC and resize and clone the hard drive. Do not use Windows partition software because most of them don’t support Linux very well and no software can yet recognized the proprietary WD partition file system and they will show up as unknown partition as shown below. The following is the result of some trial and error and the result was successful in cloning the original WD40EFAX 4TB and resizing its partition #24 into a much smaller 0.5TB SSD drive. I would suggest anyone wishing to try this to read 'HOWTO: Restoring to a smaller disk.’ from Rescuezilla (free but donate ware) and Rescuezill boot iso disk is the one to try to accomplish this. Rescuezilla iso is compatible with Ventoy, so it is possible to have a menu system from a bootable flash drive with a dozen resident iso on the flash drive.

Once the cloning is done, reattach the main board of the My Cloud Home and power up. One could test the unit and power up without reassembling the entire unit, but be careful attaching the cables as the unit can easily fall apart without support. A temporary make shift plastic holder can act as the casing such as shown below:


Results: random writes no longer zero

Well, the random writes are no longer zero. One way to look at this is that anything is better than zero, or the random write performance has increased by >=357 times to infinity over zero.


Finally, the SSD performance of writing and sharing and then deleting a folder (of 700 files total 300 MB) into a zip file with mx=0 option on the My Cloud Home private space has improved by ~20 seconds or nearly 50% over the original stock My Cloud Home (with hard disk WD40EFAX). This method was described in an earlier post for rapidly sharing and/or deleting a large number of files.


More results:

Simple network throughput test of private space on hdd vs ssd:

MCHssd vs wd40