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Western Digital sells a number of external drives under the MyBook World Edition brand. These are network-based external storage drives that you can connect to remotely from multiple machines. Inside are a couple of drives set up in a mirrored RAID configuration, as well as an embedded computer running Linux.

MakeFan: tipped us off to Martin Hinner’s website, which has a lot of details about the software running on the MyBooks, including info for hacking the devices capabilities to do more than what’s available out of the box.

This page provides information on how to hack your MyBook World Edition, so as you can improve performance and add new features. MyBook is powered by ARM9 microprocessor, it has 32MB of SDRAM and boots from internal hard drive. The system partition has 2.8GB (only 260 MB is occupied). This means that you have a lot of resources for various improvements.

You can enable SSH on the device without cracking the case. Martin hosts a script that subverts the firmware update software to create your ssl keys and boot the sshd process. Once that is enabled, you have full access to the OS to do what you like, including running an NFS server, web server, or even replacing the standard web interface.

Also worth checking out is the Hacking WD MyBook Wiki. They have links to information on rescuing data from dead drives and building other software for the device. Keep in mind that building MySQL from source will take about 18 hours, but there’s got to be something fun you can do with a LAMP stack running on a terabyte hard drive.

Hacking Western Digital MyBook World Edition – Link
MyBook World Edition Wiki – Link

14 thoughts on “Hacking the Western Digital MyBook World Edition

  1. This is really nice to see. I was thinking about buying one of these but bought a Lacie EDmini instead. If anyone knows of something similar for that device, please post up a link!

  2. So, when’s the source code for the MyBook released? It looks like their drivers (such as ox800sata) are not modules, but I can’t find the source anywhere…

  3. The throughput on the gigabit interface it really, really bad. I can only get 80 Mbit/s on the 1000Mbit/s interface. Actually I tried running a performance utility on the NAS using the 127.0.0.1-local address, and the max bitrate internally was 91 Mbps. Testing was done using iperf. Anyone experiencing the same or is my box the only bad one?

  4. Performance is slow on mine too. I’m using it for incremental backups, so it is fine, but man, the first backup took a week.

    I wonder if there is anything that can be done to speed it up.

  5. The post says it can take 18 hours to obtain Mysql…
    This is probably true, but it will take a few clicks and 15 mn to configure it as Web Server, photo gallery and Web File Manager …
    http://mybookworld.wikidot.com/featurepacks

    There are also a few contribution where you can install other Applications with a single click and no Linux knowledge :
    see here : http://www.myboxproject.net/

    Regarding slowness : the Gigabit network interface is effectively useless as the cpu is not enough powerfull to stream data faster then 4 MB/s… Nothing to be done on this …

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