WD My Cloud (for Desktop) review

With the WD My Cloud desktop app, you have quick and easy remote access to the data on your My Cloud device.
Photo of WD My Cloud (for Desktop)

WD My Cloud (for desktop) is Western Digital’s companion application to its new My Cloud NAS—a device for sharing and streaming data to a variety of WD mobile apps and the Web. With the WD My Cloud desktop application, users can access data stored on a My Cloud from any Windows or Mac OS X. With the WD My Cloud desktop app, you have quick and easy remote access to the data on your My Cloud device.

Availability and Installation
The WD My Cloud (for desktop) app is available from WD’s Learning Center site. Download and installation was a breeze on my Windows 7 laptop.

The installer places a WD My Cloud shortcut on the desktop. If the desktop PC and the My Cloud device are on the same network, the app will detect the My Cloud device and display the device’s IP address. My laptop and test My Cloud were on the same network, and the app picked up the device right away.

If you want to access the My Cloud’s network remotely, you can connect to the device manually by entering your WD MyCloud account credentials (Western Digital’s remote cloud service for customers to access their network devices) or you will need to access the management interface of My Cloud and create an activation key. The key has to be entered into the appropriate field in the My Cloud desktop app. You do need to access the local management interface of the My Cloud to get this key.

Launching the program opens a listing of all the folders residing on the My Cloud NAS I have set up in the testing lab.

Using the My Cloud Application
When I first opened the My Cloud program, I was offered a walk-though demo of using basic features such as adding shortcuts to favorite files and folders. A link to WD’s Learning Center site is also displayed for additional help.

Files in folders are represented by icons based on file type. Images have tiny thumbnails as their icons. Videos are represented by a video camera icon and docs have papers as icons—these icons make it easy to quickly see the file type.

Folder shares are in a listing on the left pane of the interface. A dropdown menu next to each individual file and folder offers Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Rename, Email, New Folder, and Add to Favorites options.

Adding a file or folder to Favorites places a shortcut at the top of the folder listing for quick access to that data.

I did notice that the program offered no editing or file viewers; you must have the appropriate software installed to open a file.

While there is no specific command presented in the interface to upload data. I was able to drag and drop a file from my local desktop into a share on the My Cloud.

The interface is simple and uncluttered, which aligns with Western Digital’s goal of making the My Cloud management and access experience very simple.

Settings
Another menu on the upper right corner of the main folder list screen is for settings. One setting lets you disconnect your My Cloud device from the WDMyCloud.com service, while another shows you the status of syncing—that is, the updating of changes made to the My Cloud disk as reflected in the app.

With syncing, you don’t have as much control in the desktop application as you do with the mobile app. In the mobile app I was able to specify how often I wanted to sync with the My Cloud device.

One aspect I found disturbing about this application (as I did with the mobile app), is that when you open it, you can immediately access the My Cloud data. There is no authentication prompt, by default. So once someone opens the program from your desktop he or she could potentially get into your data. Western Digital is trying to make the access as easy as possible, but as I found with the My Cloud NAS and now this application, security is a bit lax because users aren’t even advised in the interface or setup process to set password protection to get into the management interface of the NAS or into the app, though the option to do so is available in both.

While not a great security measure, other cloud syncing services such as Dropbox and SugarSync also work the same way: You can set a passcode but can’t configure the app to require authentication every time you fire up the app. Of course, you probably want to lock the mobile or desktop when you’re away from it anyway, but the WD apps and programs should steer users to a tighter security setup.

Simple Remote Access
The WD My Cloud application makes access to a My Cloud NAS simple from your desktop PC. It provides more functionality that just accessing the My Cloud data through a browser, which you can do as well (although that only gives you access to the folders, you then need to use the operating system’s file manager for data management).

Although I think security could be tightened and I would like to control syncing in the desktop app as with the mobile app, the WD My Cloud desktop app is a very good way to remotely connect to your My Cloud NAS. It’s a 4 out of 5 star app for networking utilities.


Verdict
With the WD My Cloud desktop app, you have quick and easy remote access to the data on your My Cloud device.
Published under license from Ziff Davis, Inc., New York, All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc