My Cloud Home: The Easy Answer to Family File Sharing

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My Cloud Home. Single drive on the left, dual drive on the right. Photo: Western Digital

My family consumes a fair amount of media that we already own and have on our computers and other devices. We also regularly share files for school, work, and personal reasons. But each one of us has a different subset of songs, audiobooks, movies, documents, etc. We’ve been feeling a need for some kind of home-based server that we could store our files on that we all could access, all while keeping it tidy and organized. And with a larger capacity than any of our Dropbox accounts. Enter My Cloud Home from Western Digital.

Setting Up My Cloud Home

While most server setups that we’ve looked at over the years were pretty complicated to set up, My Cloud Home was incredibly easy. Just hook the device up to the router, plug it into the wall outlet, wait for the light to remain steady, and then log into the My Cloud website and enter the code on your quick start guide.

Next you create an account, installing software onto your computer to use. You can then send invitations to your family members who will then also need to create accounts and install the software, but it’s super quick. Now you’re ready to store and share files! It really was that easy.

Using My Cloud Home

Accessing things on the My Cloud Home from a conventional computer is incredibly intuitive, and very fast over Ethernet, slightly less fast over wi-fi. My Cloud Home becomes the Z: drive for all of the computers where you have it installed. From your perspective, the root directory acts as your own private cloud for your account (you can also sync folders on your computer to the My Cloud Home if you choose).

The back of the drive has a USB port for easy file copying. Photo: Western Digital

Also, anything you copy into the Family folder is accessible to everyone in your private network. Copy over files from your desktop computer, laptop, phone, tablet, cloud and social media accounts, or wherever you store your stuff. There is even a USB port for importing files from thumb drives and other USB-connected storage (the dual drives have two USB ports).

You can also create share links for files stored on your My Cloud Home, making it easy to share files with family and friends. This would be perfect for sharing photos of your kids with grandparents, for example. It really is a lot like having your own cloud service, but without the small capacity and without a monthly fee.

My Cloud app icon.

You can also access your My Cloud Home files from the app or the web interface. Accessing My Cloud Home via the app also allows for an auto-backup option that will automatically save all of your photos and videos from your device to your new home cloud. It also has an easy option to back up your content from other cloud services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. You can also add skills to Alexa, connect it with IFTTT, and even connect it with Sonos, Plex, and other services and devices. The app also allows you to see your activity history. The app interface is great for photos, music, and other media, but not so great for documents. A simple text file or Word document doesn’t automatically open up in a corresponding app on your device. I’ve found that dealing with these files is best done on a conventional computer of some kind, so I hope they improve the app functionality in that area.

Here’s a video that gives you a closer look.

Features and Take-aways

There are some cool features and ways to use the My Cloud Home.

  • It’s really easy to set up and really easy to use, especially on a computer.
  • Store your files at home and access them from anywhere.
  • You can sync files and folders on your computer.
  • Search the My Cloud Home to find your files.
  • There is a shared file folder that everyone who has My Cloud Home access can share.
  • Each individual user also has a private folder for their own private cloud, but can still choose to share those files with others if they like.
  • Each user has an individual account and password, and they can set up a passcode and touch ID for the mobile app.
  • It works with Windows Backup and Time Machine to help you backup your computer regularly.
  • It comes with everything you need including power supply/cable and ethernet cable.

No Security Concerns

There have been some security concerns about other My Cloud products, but the My Cloud Home does not have the vulnerability the other products had. Regardless, they’ve issued a fix for those other models in the form of updated firmware.

Choosing Your My Cloud Home Model

The capacities for the My Cloud Home range from 2TB to 8TB for the single drive and from 4TB to 20TB for the dual drive (where everything is mirrored to the second drive, though it appears that you can change the configuration if desired), enough options for anyone’s needs. I was able to test the 4TB single drive version, which is enough for all of our household media, a ton of files, plus a computer backup or two. That size is currently $159.99 on Amazon right now, with several other sizes available there. All the rest of the sizes are available on the My Cloud Home website.

I’m so happy how seamlessly the My Cloud Home has been integrated into our lives. There was almost no learning curve, and even the 4TB size has plenty of room for our family of four to store, share, and backup a ton of files. The price for these models is as affordable as most external hard drives out there, too. If you’re looking for a great gift that you can give your own family, or other family or friends, My Cloud Home is a great option.

Note: I received a sample for review purposes.

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