WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

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WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:20 am

Hey Experts,

I think I may have made a mistake. I recently bought a WD My Book Essentials 2TB with the intention of using it as a NAS. My wireless router has a USB 3.0 plug, and I meant to hook it up directly to the router.

In the meantime I have been using the drive with my desktop for a few weeks. It seems to work fine and the connect (USB 3) is very fast. But now that I am trying to plug it into the router, there appears to be no response. I assumed (wrongly?) that *any* external drive could work as a NAS device if plugged into the router. Now that I've been looking a little harder, it seems that there are specific WD external drives for this purpose.

Was I mistaken? Am I SOL regarding this drive? I don't think I can take it back after using for this long, and I don't need it for just backup duty. What I want is a basic NAS so that all the network can access the media on the drive (music, video, etc...)

Any thoughts?

dave
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 4:34 am

What type of router, what version of firmware?

The router might only support USB printers in your firmware, or might only support certain filesystems.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:32 am

My router is a combination modem/wireless router. It's some brand I'd never heard of, supplied by Telus for free with my new high speed subscription. It is dual band and seems to work really well, and has a much better range than my old D-link (DIR-615).

The brand (I had to look it up because it's just branded Telus on the front) is Actiontec, model V1000H. Firmware ver. 31.30L.48.

I can't find much online about it, and it's USB capabilities.

I guess my basic question is whether the WD My Book Essentials is possible to use as a NAS device. Because there is no point actually worrying about the router too much, if I'm trying to hook up an inappropriate hard drive.

The model I bought is:
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/western-digital-western-digital-my-book-essentials-2tb-external-hard-drive-wdbacw0020hbk-nesn-wdbacw0020hbk-nesn/10155404.aspx?path=b4ca55bd33eaa5bffe9725e784463c87en02

and I wonder if I should have bought this for the extra $20:
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/product/western-digital-western-digital-my-book-live-2tb-3-5-external-desktop-hard-drive-wdbacg0020hch-nesn-wdbacg0020hch-nesn/10155407.aspx?path=29275c3fcaa60580314858e43333a907en02

Is there some reason why the My Book Essential will NOT work as a NAS?

thanks for any further advice.

dave
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:40 am

Is the drive formatted with NTFS? It might need to be FAT or ext2/3 to work.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:53 am

It's NTFS.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:04 am

I did a little googling around and found this thread, and specifically this post (emphasis mine):

It sounds like you'll likely be getting the Actiontec v1000h. There's a discussion of that router here. If you don't get that router, you'll be getting the D-Link DVA-G3810BN. There's a discussion of that router here.

From what the tech's write on here, it sounds like the Actiontec is being used nearly exclusively for new installs. This is a good thing, since the Actiontec does not have the wired/wireless bridging issues that the D-Link does. It's a bad thing, though, if you want to hook up a drive to the USB port on the router, since that works on the D-Link but does not on the Actiontec. (I'd trade the need for an extra router to get my wired/wireless bridging working properly for the lack of USB port functionality, but maybe that's just me.)
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:40 am

Wow. Thanks for that info. No wonder the router wasn't picking anything up.

Now that I'm looking at the details for the 'higher' grade My Book Live that is advertised as a NAS, it has an ethernet port (which the My Book Essentials doesn't). That makes sense. But it also produces a problem. I don't have any spare ports on the router (printers, PC, etc), and I already have a 'full' 4-port splitter (xbox, digital tv, blue ray player, and sonos system). The sonos bridge has 2 ethernet ports. Maybe I can plug a NAS directly into it... that's what I wanted the drive for anyway. But I also want the rest of the network to access it as well. Not sure if this will work.

Either way... it looks like I will try to return/exchange the My Book Essentials 2 TB drive. It's only been a couple weeks, so they 'should' take it back even though it's been opened. Just need to remove my junk off the drive...

thanks again for the great piece of information about my router.

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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:15 pm

Glad to help. Very disappointing that they'd make a router with a USB port that wasn't even functional :roll: ...though I wouldn't be surprised if the ISP has chosen to disable it.

You might be able to use the extra ethernet port on the Sonos like you said, otherwise just pick up an ethernet switch and you can have as many ports as you want.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:04 pm

Rather than returning your current drive for another one, why not get something like a pogoplug? I got one for $20 or so on sale a few month ago to use for streaming movies to my ipad (works great, btw) and it has pretty much sat there and done its thing without complaining once. Looks like it's still only $30 if you wanted to get one: http://www.buy.com/prod/pogoplug-person ... 88297.html
It also comes with an application (along with iphone/ipad apps) that makes the drive appear as a local disk on your machine for simple transfer/saving/etc. through windows. I got it just for the streaming and its done its job flawlessly for that - I imagine it couldn't be any worse than whatever WD has for their NAS drives and you don't need to return anything.
I'm sure it's much more capable than what I'm using it for, but seems like a pretty small investment to get what you're looking for
Just a thought.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:30 pm

Possibly an easy way to test whether the functionality is really gone would be to plug a thumbdrive into the same USB port, maybe trying a couple different filesystems to see what might be recognized if anything.

You could also RYO NAS pretty easy with FreeNAS or the like - certainly not as PnP as the router solution but dammit, it'll work.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:57 pm

Thanks for the link to the pogoplug. looks interesting. I think I will still try to return the drive (only $20 difference for the NAS drive). If I have any trouble with the return, I'll reconsider the pogoplug.

I did try the USB memory stick. No luck.

I'll post any results with the new (hopefully) NAS capable drive. thanks again for all the advice.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:35 am

It really sounds like the problem is the router, not the drive. In general, NAS capability isn't a feature of the drive, it is a feature of the thing you're plugging it into.

TBH I wouldn't trust the NAS capability of a device that's being sold as a router anyway, it is likely an afterthought with buggy firmware and crappy throughput. If you want a NAS, get a device that is actually marketed as a NAS... or build a cheap DIY server.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:27 am

I don't have any spare ports on the router (printers, PC, etc), and I already have a 'full' 4-port splitter (xbox, digital tv, blue ray player, and sonos system). The sonos bridge has 2 ethernet ports. Maybe I can plug a NAS directly into it... that's what I wanted the drive for anyway. But I also want the rest of the network to access it as well. Not sure if this will work.

Just daisy-chain another ethernet switch into the system. Cheap 5-port models are only $20-30. Although for the number of devices you apparently have plugged into the system, you might want to spend the money for a proper 16-port switch and then use the router as a gateway device only. The overall network performance will probably be better, and the router will live longer since it won't be producing as much heat.
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Re: WD My Book External Drive - work as NAS?

Postposted on Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:47 am

Just a quick update. Thanks again for everyone's advice. I exchanged for the NAS version of the My Book drive. I plugged it into the Sonos bridge unit, which has 2 ports and acts like a switch. Everything is working great, with the hard drive storing all the music etc and also acting as a backup device. I didn't need to add a new switch, which was convenient.

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