January 30, 2018
2 tb storage
Long power cord
iPhone app is servicable
USB port to connect extertnal storage for direct upload
Abysmal customer support
Bare bones start up card/no physical documentation or common troubleshooting guide with the device
Downloadable manual does not address troubleshooting in Windows
No USB connection to tether drive to a computer (USB connector is to port information from external drives only)
Very, very difficult/frustrating to install on Windows
--needed to upgrade windows to install drivers properly
--even with the upgrade, I had to use the older version of the software, otherwise the drivers remained 'unsigned' and unaccepted by Windows 10
--all this required multiple installs/uninstalls
--very, very frustrating
Bundled software NOT compatible with cloud drive/No software to add value to Cloud Drive
No native Chromebook app
Slow upload/transfer speeds, even with a fast connection
I was really forward to receiving this drive for review purposes and was very sorely disappointed. To whit, the drive was very difficult to install on my Windows 10 computer, the install on the mac required some extra steps not described after installing the software, and customer support is virtually non existent.
I do have the drive up and running, and even now the 'bundled' software only works for hard drives with a direct USB connection. It does not work with the Cloud Drive and there is NO WAY to connect this hard drive to your computer without upgrading.
I am not well versed in what is available out there, but Seagate has some options and I would start by looking at their drive. Given all the troubles I had installing this drive on Windows, using this drive was more like beta testing than buying. It is not yet ready for prime time.
Couldn't be simpler: inside the box is the hard drive, a start card, a power cable, and an ethernet cable. That's it. The drive is rather attractive, with a white top with the WD logo, a silver bottom with a diamond-like pattern, and all teh ports located on the back. Between the white and silver is a glowing, LED strip. On the back of the drive you will find a USB port, the ethernet port, and a power cable.
The USB port is a standard, USB 3.0 female port used to connect external drives (e.g. thumb drives or other hard drives) so that you can port information to your cloud drive. There is no on/off switch nor is there a USB connection that can be used to physically connect the MyCloud drive to your computer.
Physical set up was easy. You basically connect the drive to power and connect the ether net cable from the MyCloud. The led will pulsate and then glow solidly once the device is attached to the internet.
Per the instructions, you then go to your computer, connect to the Wi-Fi network that your device is on, and go to the mycloud hello site
And in my experience, that is when all hell breaks loose.
You basically choose your device, My Cloud Home in this case, and set up an account. Initially, you type in your device's serial number and in theory you should be good to go. Sadly, for me, this was not so...
I was able to create an online account and the app worked on my iPhone and Mac but installation on Windows was a bear.
Basically, you download and run the software. The drive will be in the finder. Note, however, that each time you restart your mac you have to make sure the WD Discovery software is running and sign in or you won't see the My Cloud drive.
No problems here. However, there is only basic functionality: you cannot back up your entire iPhone to the My Cloud drive, only photos and videos. You do have access to view items backed up from other devices--such as Word or PPT files. However, these files have to be opened in their native iPhone app. You can read the file, but if you edit it there is no way to save it back to My Cloud. Saving in Word or PPT you can opt to sae to many locations, but My Cloud is not on the list. This was not well though out at all, especially if you are using an iPad or iPad Pro for productivity on the go....
You are able to invite users to use the drive but not much more than that.
ONLINE BROWSER PORTAL:
After logging on, you can see everything that is on the drive and can actually upload files to the drive.
Unfortunately, you can only view photos and see some videos via the online portal. For example, an mov file shot on my iPhone had to be downloaded to play the video on the browser. However, an MP4 video would play natively on the online portal. Documents, however, have to be downloaded and opened on your computer (for example Word or PowerPoint files). This limits the use of this portal on a computer with limited memory ability (such as a Chromebook).
SEVERE PROBLEMS INSTALLING WD DISCOVERY SOFTWARE IN WINDOWS:
I downloaded the WD Discovery software and it would NOT recognize the drive. I could not figure out why so I uninstalled the software and tried again. (What's frustrating is that you need to restart Windows after installing and unintstalling the software. Every time. Keep this in mind as I go through the trouble shooting saga below....)
As it turns out installation resulted in to driver loading errors: the Western Digital VFS Driver and Virtual PnP Bus Drivers were rejected by Windows 10, as 'Windows requires a digitally signed driver.'
So at this point, I could see my drive if I looked in File Explorer under 'Network' but it only showed up as a computer icon and when you clicked on it it revealed a folder that was labeled 'Public.' It did not register as a disk drive under desktop...
After some endless fishing around on the WD Help Site I finally found the page with the 'answer.' \
This gave me three options, in the following order:
1) update to Windows 10 OS build 16299.xxx (you can find your version by clicking on the Windows Start Button-->clicking the gear thing to get to the control panel-->clicking on System-->scrolling down and clicking on 'About' on the left hand menu. Then scroll down to windows specifications and it will tell you your Windows Edition, Version, and OS Build.)
2) Disable secure boot or contact my local IT service department
3) Uninstall WD discovery version 2.1.371 and install version 2.1.322 from the support.wdc.com downloads site
(I was particularly enamored of the advice to contact my local IT service department. This is a My Cloud HOME. At HOME I AM the IT service department. That's why this thing is supposed to work right out of the box...)
First and foremost, this answer was updated on 12/23/2017. That means that this is a KNOWN issue. What has WD been doing during this time and why have they not fixed this issue? Did they not get the memo from Microsoft? The whole idea of having installation software is to FIX these kinds of errors automatically. In the event that said software cannot do that, it should at very least walk you through the process or point you in the right direction. No such luck from WD.
So I updated Windows. Not sure why this was not already done, as I've opted in for automatic Windows updates, but--what the hey--it needed to be done, so half an hour later (as all things go with major Windows updates), I was up and running with Windows 10 OS build 16299.192).
No go. Uninstalled WD Discovery software/restarted, Reinstalled WD Discovery software/restarted. Same freakin' unsigned driver messages. (Started wishing there was a way to directly install the two drivers rather than having to install and reinstall the WD Discovery bundle which also takes quite some time to install...)
On to step two. Followed the Microsoft instructions on disabling Secure Boot (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/manufacture/desktop/disabling-secure-boot). Not being a computer genius, I have no idea whether this makes my computer vulnerable to anything, but I was game.
Still no go. Uninstalled WD Discovery software/restarted. Reinstalled WD Discovery software... SAME driver error. Restarted. Still no go.
Really ticked off, I started on option #3. I uninstalled the new version of WD Discovery--rinse/wash/repeat--and reinstalled the old version and restarted. No driver errors, but still no go. I restarted again. Nothing.
At this point, I wrote a detailed email to the company outlining exactly what you see above: that the drive worked on my iMac and iPhone but was a no-go on Windows. No response in 48 hours. (See below)
While I was waiting, I installed WD Access--not sure this was necessary, but I did it. And uninstalled and reinstalled the old version of the WD Discovery software. Finally, it showed up as a disk drive. Not sure if WD Access was necessary to get it to work but now it does....
SUPPORT (OR LACK THEREOF)
There is no online chat support at WD. I tried to find the phone number of their support services, but kept getting bounced to their WD Community Boards or email support. This is why I opted for email support. In spite of the DETAILED rundown of the problems and my ALL my attempts at trouble shooting up to that point, I was gobsmacked by the response.
It took 4-5 days before I got a response from WD support. By then, of course, I already had the drive up and running. I am reprinting their response, as I have a really hard time believing they even bothered to read my query. And what was there response. In a nutshell, they told me to: 1) make sure that one end of my ethernet cable was plugged into my drive and my router; 2) make sure the power adapter was plugged in and the light bar glowed solid white; 3) make sure my mobile device was connected to the same network as the My Cloud Home and go to the 'hello' page.
Sound familiar? Yup. It's the bare bones start up card. AAARRRGGGHHH!!!!! You can't make this stuff up. Ummm... if the thing was working with my smartphone and my iMac, I think it was plugged in correctly... I've fallen and I can't get up....
BUNDLED SOFTWARE DOESN'T WORK:
My Cloud comes with bundled apps. These include: WD Backup, WD Drive Utilities, and WD Security. But don't get too excited--these apps ONLY work with USB-connected WD drives. You can use the WD Backup utility to back up to your DropBox account but it WILL NOT WORK with your My Cloud drive. Why? As noted above, you CANNOT connect your My Cloud drive to your computer directly so there is no way to take advantage of this software.
Why they included these products in the WD Discovery app for the My Cloud drive remains a mystery. It is likely just another sloppy move by WD, who use these apps for all of their drives. But including software that only works for their other products is pretty much a slap in the face to their My Cloud Home buyers.
Even worse, the other listed software options (Adobe Creative Cloud, Upthere Home, Plex, Acronis True Image, ESET Drive Security, Blancco, Magisto, digi.me, and EncryptStick) are really just links to buy software or services. These companies do not even give a promotional price or free use period to owners of the My Cloud Drive: they are basically just advertisements for cloud services that bloat up the WD Discovery software.
You can download a stripped down version of Acronis True Image from WD downloads (but not the My Cloud app). (NOTE: This may only have worked on my computer because I have a Sandisk thumbdrive attached to my computer and this version will work with Sandisk products as well.) I was able to get it to initiate a back up of my computer to the cloud drive but I aborted it, as this version does not appear to create encrypted back ups. For this, you would have to pay for an upgrade.
The My Cloud drive is password protected but not encrypted--at least as far as I can tell. This poses a problem when it comes to using it for full backups of your computer or any kinds of sensitive data.
Videos, images, documents without private information, etc. might work for this. But as WD doesn't give you any security softare for the drive and the drive itself is unencrypted, I would NOT advise using this as a back up for any kinds of sensitive documents. Identity thieves will just be one password away from cracking the drive and getting at its contents.
MISSING CHROMEBOOK APP
First and foremost, there is NO app for Chromebooks. I really can't understand why they have not made a Chromebook app for this drive.
Chromebooks are becoming more and more popular and are notorious for lack of extensive on board storage. Sure you could use your Google Drive, but having a shared disk like this makes a lot of sense, especially if you are using a Chromebook and want to share files/data with others.
You can access the information via the web browser portal on a Chromebook, but in order to view anything other than pictures on the web browser portal, you have to download the file to your computer before opening it, making this far less useful for owners of Chromebooks...
I am very disappointed in the My Cloud Home drive. The device has a lot of potential but WD is going to have to make it easier to set up in Windows and boost the sharing capacity of the drive. Right now, I feel as though I am beta testing this drive for WD.
Their Windows set up software needs to be fixed in order to make this useful for the average user (who will not spend hours on end installing/reinstalling and trying to find and troubleshoot this device). They need to upgrade the WD Back Up, Drive Utilities, and Security software to work with the My Cloud device--this is a major, major flaw here. Software that adds value makes the drive more useful than just being a repository for information. Especially in the security department, where a cloud-connected drive is more vulnerable to attack.
I am very, very disappointed in WD's lack of support for this product. It is very frustrating that they have not corrected known software issues and have not made this easily accessible on their website. The major problem here, is that the product as it stands is not plug an play. It also has limited functionality and the company does not supply any added software to enhance value here as they do with their traditional, USB-connected hard drives.
Based on my experience, I cannot recommend this drive. I would recommend looking into competitors, such as Seagate, before purchasing a network drive. Security wise, this would not be a great option for the home user who does not have a built in network firewall or does not know how to encrypt data when uploading to the drive.