If you're a novice user looking for a plug-and-play network storage device, the $230 (for the 1TB version, $450 for 2TB) Western Digital My Book World Edition is a sound buy. It has much improved performance over Western Digital's last edition and is significantly faster than almost all the NAS severs we've yet reviewed. Unfortunately, it has a sluggish interface, a useless remote access solution, and lacks many features other NAS servers offer. If you're computer-savvy and want something that's feature-rich and offers even better performance, we recommend the Synology DS209+.
Setup and ease of use
Setting up the Western Digital My Book World Edition is as simple and easy as plugging it into the power socket and the router. From there, the drive will appear in Windows Vista's network browser or in Mac OX 10's Finder, depending on the OS you're using.
Under Windows XP, however, you will need to run the WD Discovery tool (included in a CD) which will set the network drive for you after literally three mouse clicks on the menu. Setting up without a network is largely the same. Just plug the server directly into the network port of your computer and you're good to go.
The My Book World Edition's default share folder, called "public," contains three subfolders to share particular types of content including: Shared Music, Shared Videos, and Shared Pictures. When you put appropriate content in each of these folders, the content will be automatically made available to other network devices. The My World Edition is compatible with iTunes and DLNA or UPnP-enabled devices.
The My Book World Edition is the easiest to setup NAS server we've reviewed to date. Using its default settings, data can be stored and shared within a minute or two, which will satisfy most home users.
The NAS server comes with five licenses (one for each computer) of WD Backup Anywhere software that worked pretty well, though we found that it really bogged down the computer's performance when a backup is being made. For a better backup solution, we'd recommend Acronis.
Doing something more involved than just sharing and storing data on the My Book World Edition requires more from the user.
The device's Web interface, though well organized, is sluggish. Once we clicked on an item, it would take a few seconds for the clicked item to register, during which time there is no indication--like and hour glass--that the device was working on this request.
The Web interface is useful in that it allows you to further customize the functionality of the NAS server. Despite its simple look, however, making changes can be a little intimidating for the novice user.
For example, say if you want to add a new user, it's fairly easy to see the User button that you can click on. However, after that, you might not know what to do. There's no instruction on the page; all you see is the list of existing uses. As it turns out, there's a tiny plus sign that you need to click on to open the add-user page. While some will argue that this is easy enough to figure out, we found that this not so obvious for novice home users and not consistent with other parts of the Web interface, where icons and buttons are made much more obvious and self-explanatory.
The device allows you to plug a USB hard drive--for backing up content--into the port on the back of the NAS server and manage it using the Web interface. The USB port, unfortunately, doesn't offer any other USB-relate functions, such as the ability to host a printer. The NAS also doesn't support any self-downloading features where you can set the NAS to download files on its own without the involvement of a computer.