Western Digital 1TB My Book Live

6/7/2012 11:23:33 AM

In principle it is a simple matter to connect the WD My Book live to your network. The drive uses the familiar WD styling and looks something like a book, provided the books on your shelves are made of grey plastic and have a bright activity LED on the spine.

Description: WD 1TB My Book Live

It's easy to become obsessed with the WD activity light but we'll come to that in a moment.

On the rear of the casing, the My Book Live has a jack for the power connection and a gigabit Ethernet network connection, and that's your lot, unless you want to get picky and mention the Kensington lock. There are no power or control buttons, and you don't get a sniff of a USB port either.

This simple appearance reflects the purity of the WD design. It runs Debian Linux on a 1GHz CPU with 256MB memory, and has a desktop 3.5" drive sealed inside the casing. 2TB and 3TB models are also available at $216 and $304 respectively.

So you connect the drive by plugging in the two cables and wait a short time until the activity light turns to a solid green. Once that happens you run the WD software disc to discover the My Book Live on your network and then you can install the WD Quick View management software.

Except that the activity light remained amber in a cannot-see-the-network sort of way. We ran the WD software which could see the drive, but we couldn't do anything more sophisticated than opening the public share folders on the drive. Clicking the 'setup' button merely opens a browser with an IP address, yet the window remained completely blank and there was no drive activity.

After a moment of thought we visited the WD website and found a utility called WD SmartWare updater v1.5.4.8 which updated QuickView from v3.1.5.4 to v3.1.5.9, and then sat alongside QuickView as a network management utility.

Once that was done we restarted the WD My Book live and the all-important solid green LED came to life on the front of the drive. The next step was an automatic update as the software got busy updating the firmware on the drive. The process took about ten minutes and introduced us to the blue/ white LED where the My Book Live sat there looking at us like a sullen teenager.

When the process was complete we restarted the WD, and got first the blue light, then yellow, then flashing green followed by solid green. You see what we mean when we told you the light could turn into something rather obsessive?

From this point onwards the WD My Book Live was an utter joy. The software worked properly and we could assign a name to the drive, set a backup strategy, manage users and also set up a personal cloud. Sorry, that should be a 'Personal Cloud', as these are clearly the buzzwords of the moment.

Western Digital has another trick up its sleeve as it offers some remote access apps for iOS and Android. These are WD Photos, WD2 go (file viewer) and WD2go Pro, which gives full access to your files so that you can modify them while you're on the move. WD2go Pro costs $3.184 and won't be relevant for most home uses but it could be a real blessing for business travellers.


Price: $192

Manufacturer: Western Digital


Required spec: Windows XP or Mac OS X 10.5 onwards


Description: Seagate 2TB FreeAgent GoFlex Home

Seagate 2tb Freeagent Goflex Home

Seagate delivers a useful chunk of storage with the minimum of hassle for the home user and the price is good too.

WD 1TB My Book Live

A simple NAS that required a bit of work on our part but delivered the goods in the end.

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