Stop My Cloud from crashing / freezing with an external USB hard drive

I bought a 2TB WD My Cloud with the sole purpose of making my previous 2TB Seagate Backup Plus drive accessible through the internet. However, every time I plug Seagate into My Cloud, it will freeze within a couple minutes. The Dashboard wouldn’t load, the desktop app wouldn’t connect to it, and SSH connection is refused, too. After a week of non-stop troubleshooting and tweaking, I have learned the following procedure to desuckify My Cloud, and make it actually usable with external drives connected to it using the USB port.

Symptoms:

  • The standalone My Cloud is fine and can be accessed within and outside of the local network.
  • External hard drive (Seagate 2TB) is normal when connected to a Mac or PC.
  • After connecting Seagate through USB to My Cloud, it sometimes can be seen as a “share” for a brief moment.
  • A couple minutes later, any means to communicate with My Cloud will fail, e.g. desktop app, dashboard, SSH, mounting using Finder.
  • Unplugging (unsafely) the external drive will NOT make My Cloud respond or return to normal.
  • My Cloud may not respond to pressing the reset button.
  • Re-plugging its power (without external drive) will reset it to normal status.

I suspect that it is due to the media scanner and crawler that cause huge CPU usage when an external drive is plugged in, especially when that drive contains a lot of media files (1.2TB in my case).

Doing the following was sufficient to solve the problem, but I didn’t have time to test if they were all necessary.

  • Verify your external drive and repair any disk errors or bad sectors, e.g. using Mac’s Disk Utility.
  • Use firmware version 03.04.01-230. If you need downgrading from version 4, see [this page]. (For me, this step soft-bricked My Cloud. Simply plug in the power while pressing the reset button, and hold the button for 40 seconds, to perform a system reset.)
  • In the Dashboard settings, enable SSH; disable all items related to media sharing and scanning, including iTunes and Twonky server.
  • As soon as an external drive is plugged in, IMMEDIATELY navigate to Shares -> [External Partition] and turn off “media serving”. Do this for every USB drive that you may plug into My Cloud. If things freeze again, unplug that drive and reboot My Cloud.
  • Use SSH as root user to enter commands for My Cloud. (See WD’s manual.)
  • Disable some file scanners and thumbnail producers using the following commands. (See [this page].)

/etc/init.d/wdmcserverd stop
/etc/init.d/wdphotodbmergerd stop
/etc/init.d/wdnotifierd stop
update-rc.d wdmcserverd disable
update-rc.d wdphotodbmergerd disable
update-rc.d wdnotifierd disable

  • Running the “top” command will let you see processes and their CPU usage. I found a culprit: monitorio.sh. Follow the instructions on [this page] to prevent the calling of the media crawler whenever a drive is plugged in.

That’s it, and voila, My Cloud no longer crashes / freezes when I plug in the Seagate drive. Calling the support hotline was of not much help, since they generally do not recommend SSH-ing My Cloud, as that may void its warranty. If you need the media functions, try turning them back on one by one to see if the problem returns.

I urge the software engineers of WD to recognise My Cloud’s CPU limitations, and not write code that will run indefinitely without clear indication of its progress on the Dashboard or in the app.

I am using WD My cloud 2TB with a seagate 2TB external USB HDD as backup.

I tried the methods in the forum to solve the problem of freezing after connecting USB HDD, but without sucess.

Finally I formated this external USB HDD to ext4 format in SSH, and everything works like a charm since. I also setup a script to rsync between these two drivers periodically, speed is ~10MB/s, direct copy can reach ~30 to 40MB (for initial backup of full drive.

Hope this can help.