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Hands-on Review of the WD My Book Live Duo

Back in January we told you about WD’s new storage and personal cloud device, the My Book Live Duo. Now we get hand-on with it, so here is our review.

Connect this powerful drive to your wireless router for shared storage on your home network. Share data with all your computers, stream media to your entertainment center, and get to your files from anywhere with remote access and mobile apps. And with RAID 1 technology, you have double-safe backup for your data.

Who are WD?

From their website:

WD, one of the storage industry’s pioneers and long-time leaders, provides products and services for people and organizations that collect, manage and use digital information. The company designs and produces reliable, high-performance hard drives and solid state drives that keep users’ data accessible and secure from loss. Its advanced technologies are configured into applications for client and enterprise computing, embedded systems and consumer electronics, as well as its own consumer storage and media products.

WD was founded in 1970. The company’s storage products are marketed to leading OEMs, systems manufacturers, selected resellers and retailers under the Western Digital® and WD® brand names.

Specifications

Dimensions

System Requirements

Supported Browsers

The My Book Live Duo comes as either a 4TB drive or a 6TB drive, and both variants support Gigabit Ethernet.

What’s in the Box?

The box contains the Duo, an installation CD, an Ethernet cable, an AC adaptor and a quick install guide.

A Closer Look

Installing the Software

After connected up the My Book Live Duo to the network, it’s time to install the software, so pop the CD into your computer and run Setup.

All you have to do is click on Start Discovery.

Your network is scanned for you.

Then all being well your new My Book Live Duo is found and all you need to do is click Continue.

And this is where is all started to go wrong!

Each time I clicked Continue I got a Runtime Error and the installation crashed.

I tried 3 different machines and got the same result, and I even downloaded the installation software from the WD website. But each time I got a runtime error.

After doing a bit of research, it appears the problem was that WD didn’t populate the default Software share on the box before it left the factory, and so it just crashes!

This is what I had to do to fix it:

1. Go to the WD link below to download the zip file:
NAS35GOnboardingDevice_MBL_Duo_1.5.3.15_12162011
http://www.wdc.com/wdproducts/wdsmartwareupdate/na​sduo.asp
2. Click on the Download now button
3. Save the zip file to your desktop and extract the files
4. You will then see the Software folder. **IGNORE all the other folders**
5. Open the Software folder
6. Copy all of the files in Software folder to the public/Software folder in the Duo.
Note: Delete any existing files in the public/Software folder first

So that’s is what I did – and it worked. But it took a while to do and was a pain!

So now we could run the setup again and continue with the install – this time it worked fine.

The last part is a list of 4 next step options.

Clicking on Open your My Book Live Duo option just opens the shares.

Click on the Back Up Files option gives you the option to install WD SmartWare, which is the backup software the Duo uses.

After accepting the licence agreement, the software installs.

Now all the software is installed and we are ready to use the Duo.

The Time Machine option displays the following information:

Apple® Time Machine™, a built-in backup feature on Mac® OS X Leopard, Snow Leopard and OS X Lion, backs up everything on your computer: music, photos, documents, applications, emails, and system files. Your My Book Live Duo drive can store backups and restore them at any time.

And the Windows Backup option displays the following:

The Windows® Backup feature for Windows Vista™ (Business, Ultimate, Enterprise, and Home Premium versions) and Windows 7 (Professional and Ultimate versions) let you back up all your media files, documents, email, and other personal files to your My Book Live Duo. You can easily restore all your files to your computer if you lose files or your system crashes.

Using the My Book Live Duo

The first thing I was told was that there was a firmware update available.

Downloading and installing it was just a case of clicking a button.

The Backup tab enables you to see the machine you want backed up along with the Duo.

You can easily select what to backup.

You can also easily retrieve stored backups.

There are various settings options that can be set, changed or tweaked.

Most things are done via the web portal.

You can add security to the Duo:

And there are a lot of detailed help files and diagnostic tools.

You can see the status of your drives.

And enable / disable the dlna services and the iTunes service.

You can also connect a USB storage device for extra storage.

You can also access your data via the Shares shortcut on your desktop.

Remote Access

Use the Mobile Access feature to remotely access your photos, music, documents, and videos through an Apple or Android mobile device. You’ll need to install the WD 2go and WD Photos mobile apps from the Apple App Store or Android Market for this purpose.

First though you need to enable Mobile Access and create an access code.

Then you need to choose either the free version or the Pro version.

Once installed, just tap the icon to launch.

Then you tap Connect Now, and tap on your device.

Then enter the activation code and tap Activate.

You can then access your device and any shared folders and files.

When you check the panel you will see you are connected:

Personal Cloud

A personal cloud is your content secure at home and under your control. Unlike public clouds, a personal cloud allows you to keep all your content in one safe place on your home network. Share files, stream media, and access your content anywhere. No monthly fees. No mysterious location of your data. Keep your media and files safe at home and always with you.

If you can access the Internet from a computer, you can securely access your media and files anywhere in the world. WD 2go web access provides fee-free remote access to your My Book Live or My Book Live Duo personal cloud storage. Once you log in, WD 2go mounts My Book Live or My Book Live Duo to your computer like a local drive and your remote folders are available on your Mac or PC. Seamlessly open, save as, and attach files to emails from this virtual drive.

After you have created the account and verified it, you create a password.

Then you can just access the Duo via the web.

Final Thoughts

This is a really nice little box that does pretty much everything you want. It can backup and restore your files easily, share files across your home network or via your own personal and private cloud.

It was really easy to use and very simple to make changes to.

One thing I was really not impressed with was the installation problem. I am not sure how WD could let these devices leave the factory without the proper files on there. It took a while to find the solution, then I had to download nearly 500MB’s of software, then extract it all and copies parts of it to the Duo. This wasn’t a major issue for me, but for some people it might be, and more importantly, it should never happen like this!

I found both the iPhone app and viewing over the web very easy to setup and use as well. Everything I wanted to do could be done using the free version of the app, but the cost of the Pro version was minimal so if the additional v

The Duo itself was fairly quiet, which isn’t bad considering it has 2 hard drives in it.

It was very easy to change between RAID 1 (mirrored) and spanned mode for the disks. The choice will depend on your own personal requirements.

I didn’t like that there was no on/off switch – that seems like a bit of an obvious oversight to me.

The single USB port on the back was easy to use as a way of getting additional storage.

My Book Live Duo personal cloud storage is available at select UK retailers. The MSRP is £409.90 for 4 TB and £499.90 for 6 TB however as usual you can get them a lot cheaper if you look around.

    

 

Learn more from the WD website