Customer Review

396 of 409 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent NAS Product!, February 21, 2012
This review is from: WD My Book Live Duo 4TB Personal Cloud Storage NAS Share Files and Photos (Personal Computers)
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Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4 TB Personal Cloud Storage Drive by Western Digital reviewed here for Amazon is an Excellent Network attached data storage product. It is very simple to use and consumes very little power ideally suited for home media streaming environments and also doubles as a "Personal Cloud" Storage drive to access your photos and files over the internet.

For your background information, I am an "Enterprise Systems Engineer" by profession and work for a global IT company and I have worked with many NAS and SAN products over the years and fully understand the limitations and expectations from customers who use these product lines. It is a nice offering from WD to combine "Personal Cloud" with a NAS product and honestly I am truly impressed by this My Book Live Duo.

Here are some PROs and CONs first for some quick overview before we get to the nitty gritty details.

PROS
[+] Personal Cloud Storage + NAS all-in-one device - Love it!
[+] Plenty fast enough to play Hi-Def Video files over Gigabit Wired or Wireless-N networks
[+] Super Efficient Power usage - Perfect for home environments!
[+] Extremely Silent operation - No FAN design
[+] Capability to have Data Redundancy mode (RAID 1) - Peace of mind!
[+] High Quality Hardware - Pleasing nice looking "My Book Live" series design.
[+] View photos and file with free apps for your iOS and or Android tablets
[+] Connect up-to 7 USB HDD devices using a powered USB Hub for additional shares!.

CONS:
[-] No power off button - This is a minor issue (You can still power off using the GUI)
[-] Setting up remote mobile or Personal cloud Access is "multi-step" activation process which can be time consuming and tricky for some - Thankfully you need to do it only once!.

Before I talk in great detail about the software portions this product let me tell you that WD Live Duo is fully functional with 4TB RAID 0 SPAN right out of the box without using any software. For experienced users you can completely ignore the included software and get the basic functions as NAS device working without using the software CD (My Book Live Discovery Software + SmartWare etc;) that is provided with the product.

If you know how to browse your network and discover the IP address of WD Live Duo you can map network drives and start using the "public" share to store and access you data as guest user without setting up users and additional NAS shares etc;

The "public" folder also contains the needed software and you can install all the applications like SmartWare and other packages for windows and Mac to the attached PC's.

For others who are not technically inclined, thankfully the include CD "setup" process guides you thru' the full process of setting up your WD Live Duo on your home network.

The included "SmartWare" software provides features like backing up your PCs connected to your home network. Software works well and the user interface is simple to use. If you really want to use it to backup your PC files it does work. FYI - It does take considerable amount of time to do a full PC backup. But thankfully, you can customize the time and select the need directories and let it backup when your PC is idle.

Personal Cloud feature:
=======================
This is new buzz word now-a-days that everyone wants to have it in their product. Let me explain what this is and what it can do for you. A "personal cloud" is your "own data" like photos and or that video file of your vacation that you secure at your own location and on your WD Live DUO hard disks and completely under your control. Unlike public clouds which are being offered by multitude of hosted services companies these days, a "personal cloud" feature allows you to keep all your data in one safe place inside your home. Other things you can do are sharing of these files with your family members, streaming these media files remotely, and ability to access your content via Internet from anywhere. Bottom-line: No monthly fees. No "unknown" strange location where your personal data resides. That is "Personal Cloud".

WD's "2go" web access software app provides fee-free remote access from My Book Live Duo personal cloud storage. You need to register your device with your name and email, Instructions will be sent by WD via email how to activate it. Once you log in, WD "2go" software mounts My Book Live Duo to your computer like a local drive and your remote folders from your "personal cloud" are available on your Mac or PC.

The speed at which you can access your files fully depends on how fast internet connection (Upload speeds are important here) you have at home as well as how fast Internet connectivity (Download speeds are important here) you have at the remote location where you attempted to mount your personal cloud.

For most small document transfers, uploading downloading few photos and files it is just perfect. Just do not expect to stream that Hi-definition Blu-Ray Rip remotely :-)

Suggestions:
============
In order to maximize performance you need to disable the services that you do not want to use. For example: I do not want this to be my "Itunes" Server so I disabled it. I also did not use the Media Streaming (DLNA) features so that the box is not busy with those additional tasks.

Most of my PC's and Media streaming devices on my home network are capable of mounting SAMBA NAS shares. So there was no real need for WD Live Duo to stream via DLNA.

If you want you can pair this up with Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player and you will be very happy with the results. WD TV Live Streaming Media Player is excellent when it comes to playback of multitude of media files and this Western Digital My Book Live Duo 4 TB Personal Cloud Storage Drive is an excellent storage device.

Do not expect to change RAID 0 (SPAN) to RAID 1 (Mirror) instantaneously, the rebuild process takes a very long time (But you can still access the files while the rebuilt takes place in the background with some performance hit)

Verdict:
========
This Product is awesome! - 4 ˝ stars!

Important Information:
======================
FYI- There were some batches of WD Live Duo wherein WD did not populate the correct files in the software directory and users got "Runtime" errors when attempting to install the software. Please see my comments section how to resolve that issue.

Thanks for reading my review and please feel free to comment if you have any questions.
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Comments

Tracked by 11 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 44 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 21, 2012 2:11:07 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 21, 2012 2:17:00 PM PST
rbhatta says:
Some users of this product (not the one which I reviewed) had issues when they attempted to install the Software.

The Software installation failed for some with Visual C++ "Run-time Error". and the installation would abort. Here is the suggested fix for those problems.

1. Go to the WD link here to download the 500MB zip filename:NAS35GOnboardingDevice_MBL_Duo_1.5.3.15_12162011.zip
The URL for the file is http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/wdsmartwareupdate/nasduo.asp
It will display a WD company webpage for My Book Live Duo software update for Windows users.
2. Click on the "Download now" button
Direct link: http://download.wdc.com/mybook/NAS35GOnboardingDevice_MBL_Duo_1.5.3.15_12162011.zip
3. Save the zip file to your windows based PC and extract the contents of the zip file.
4. You will find a "Software" folder in the extracted contents of the ZIP file.
5. This "Software" folder needs to be copied over to the Duo's Public share folder.
6. Make sure that your PC has access to the Public Share from the Duo. (Map a drive letter manually if needed)
7. Delete or move the contents "software" folder that is on the public share first.
7. Copy all of the files and directories in the extracted "Software" folder to the public/Software share folder in the Duo.

Apparently, researching this matter on the internet it seems that WD didn't populate the default "Software share" on some of the Duo's before it left the factory, and so the application just crashes during install.

Most likely you may not need it now as my unit did not exhibit this issue.

Thanks for reading this post.

Cheers!

Posted on Feb 22, 2012 3:30:23 AM PST
Did you play with user access. I didn't want the Public share to have delete access from any computer. So, I created a private share and provided read access to a userId. But my WD TV Live Streaming Media Player is not able to recognize the private share. Any ideas?

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 8:55:13 AM PST
rbhatta says:
I experimented with it last night with my Western Digital WD TV Live Hub 1 TB Media Center (Which uses similar firmware code) when compared to your Western Digital WD TV Live Streaming Media Player

Here are my observations:

1. You can login from WDTV LIVE Hub to MBL DUO only as "anonymous" (Windows Shares) and you get access to the "public" folder on MBL Duo just fine and have full read and write access.

2. I created some additional users on MBL Duo and created some private shares as test. When I attempted to login from WDTV Live HUB I was not able to login to MBL Duo as "admin" nor any as other users that I created as test to have access to their private shares marked as Read-only.

Only "anonymous" user login was able to get access to MBL Duo's public shares with full read/write access.
After fiddling and researching this matter further, To me it looks like bug in the WDTV Live SMP and or WDTV Live HUB Firmware here is why...

If you login from Windows based PC's as one of those additional users that you created MBL Duo behaves correctly. It grants access to the private shares as "read/write" or "read-only" as you specified in the GUI and at the same time gets full access (Read/Write) to default "public" share.

If you login as "Admin" from Windows based PC's and if you have granted rights to all the folders and shares, you will find you have full read/Write access to all the shares on MBL DUO - again this is as expected.

I suggest that you post your problem to one of these forums:

1. My Book Live Duo
http://community.wdc.com/t5/My-Book-Live-Duo/bd-p/mbl_duo

2. WD TV Live Streaming
http://community.wdc.com/t5/WD-TV-Live-Streaming-Discussions/bd-p/streaming_discussions

Thanks

Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 22, 2012 7:48:25 PM PST
Y. Kim says:
rbhatta,

Thanks for your great review. It was very helpful. I have one question for you.

I just finished to set up MBL Duo and it worked pretty well. I have 3 WD TV Live players. 2 of them are WD TV Live Streaming Player and 1 of them is WD TV Live. I do not have any problem to see MBL Duo from my old WD TV Live, however, WD TV Live Streaming players cannot see MBL Duo if I choose Windows Share. When I choose Linux Share, I could see MBL Duo. I have other NAS that I see on Windows Share, so it is very cumbersome for me to switch to Linux Share to access MBL Duo.

Do you have any solution that I can access via Windows Share to MBL Duo from 2 of my WD TV Live Streaming Players? (FYI, both of my WD TV Live Streaming Players cannot use Windows Share, so it is not a problem of the product I have).

Thanks in advance

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 8:21:34 AM PST
rbhatta says:
There seems to be some problem with WDTV Live SMP's Firmware code when it tries to authenticate to MBL Duo's SAMBA (Windows Share) method. It is very strange that all other Windows PCs are able to authenticate with the MBL Duo just fine.

Currently as it stands, The work-around is to use "anonymous" login to MBL Duo's Windows Shares.

Clear your Network Login info on WDTV Live SMP and use "Anonymous" login with default password that WDTV SMP populates automatically and check "Remember login info" on the WDTV SMP network setup screens. You will get access to the "Default Public" share on MBL Duo.

I have submitted this issue to WD's Community and attempting to get some resolution.

Cheers!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 3:58:29 PM PST
Y. Kim says:
rbhatta,

Thank you very much for your detailed answer. The problem is that, even after I did 'Clear your Network Login info', I do not see My Book Live Duo as a content source on Windows Share on WD TV Live SMP. So I could not do "Anonymous" login method you talked about. The only way I see MBL Duo is that I choose Linux Share on WD TV Live SMP. Once I select MBL Duo in Linux Share, I was not asked to put login and password. Did I miss something?

Thanks in advance.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 4:42:51 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 23, 2012 4:48:55 PM PST
rbhatta says:
Y. Kim,

I am really stumped by this. I think you need to make sure that Windows shares are really working fine on the MBL Duo.

Use a regular PC on your network and attempt to browse for your MBL Duo if that sees it then MBL Duo's SAMBA server for windows shares are working fine. If not follow the steps below:

First check these following by logging on to the MBL Duo GUI

1. Under Network Tab in the MBL Duo GUI make sure that Workgroup is set to WORKGROUP
2. Under Remote Access Tab in the MBL Duo GUI make sure that Remote Access button is unchecked (Disabled) Make sure that the connection status shows : Disabled.
3. Under Media Make sure that DLNA is set to Disabled.
4. Under Itunes section disable the Itunes Server.
5. Click on "Shares" and then Click on the Public share and make sure that Media serving is set to none.

Save your settings and go to utilities tab and reboot MBL Duo

Reboot your WDTV Live SMP as well. Make sure that 'clear your Network Login info' is done. Make sure that you are using Windows shares and let WDTV Live SMP scans for the network for Windows (Samba) shares from the network.

If WDTV Live SMP sees the MBL DUO enter the username as Anonymous and default password and it should allow you to see the Public share on the MBL Duo.

If your MBL Duo does not have Public shares defined or deleted by accident then you can always use the "Quick Factory restore". If that does not help you can do a full factory restore on the MBL Duo to see if that clears this odd condition.

Good Luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 23, 2012 8:44:20 PM PST
Y. Kim says:
rbhatta,

I cannot thank you enough for your time and effort. I really appreciate it. Yes, your guide did work. I was finally able to see 'MyBookLiveDuo' on Windows Share of my WD TV Live SMP.

Before I asked a question to you, I had no problem to connect to MBL Duo from any computer (including Windows machines and Macs) and WD TV Live. My two WD TV Live SMPs were the only problems.

Other than changing the name of the workgroup (I had to use my own workgroup name), I followed your instruction and voila, it worked like a charm.

Now I can sleep comfortably. Thank again

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 8:18:03 AM PST
Dolfan101 says:
For everyone out there be aware that if you use the backup software to backup your data that you will not (1) be able to access that backup (2) view the backed up data on your cloud (3) view your backup on your network. You will on the other hand be able to MANUALLY be able to save a second copy of your data to the device to then view on the network and cloud...what??? I have to save my data twice to really utilize the intended function of this? That's correct...WD's answer to this...we do this to protect the user from corrupting their backed up data...no choice, just "you are stupid so save your information twice"...They say what I want is syncing not a backup and I say a backup is a sync as long as I can access the backup. Just be aware that if you want to use this device in a logical manner you will have to take 4tb down to 1tb of storage and spend a lot of time doing it (i.e. 4tb done in Raid1 = 2tb then you have to save everything twice to get backup and cloud access = 1tb of space).

Posted on Mar 16, 2012 10:25:51 AM PDT
George Irby says:
To rbhatta
I hooked everything up as per instructions but i'm having speed issues with using norton 360 as my back up! I saw a post about using software for backups, but im using gigabit ethernet port; plus cat6 cables but its still taking over a day to do backups any advice?
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