MyBook Live

This section deals on all and everything concerning the Western Digital (WD) personal NAS MyBook Live version.

[ this is the first published hack, a newer tutorial you can find here: ]

Getting in

  1. Getting SSH : just activate it using http://yourIP/UI/ssh (beware case sensitive) post
  2. Installing Packages (programs)
    • apt-get and aptitude : the normal way with Debian based Linux : it is pre-installed
    • install Optware refer to the optware page
  3. Basic Tools (Putty, Nano, SCP, …)

Upgrade recommendations & problems

The MyBook Live is delivered with a Lenny linux based system. Any update of the WD firmware wipes out your own installed upgrades and new packages. The delivered firmware is not compatible with all upgrades you can make. We will try to list known problems mostly related to packages very near from the system (exemple : udev), or related to WD Web System Management ( //yourIP/UI).

If you don't know what you do, do not do a full apt-get distr-upgrade or aptitude full-upgrade or safe-upgrade : It can brick your system !!! (you can see some related experience in the forum)
Be conservative and upgrade when needed i.e. to only install dependencies needed by a specific package and find help in the forum.

1. By default WD authorize to install packages from "debian lenny" and "squeeze" version to avoid incompatibilities you should limit to "lenny packages". To install only "lenny" packages comment out the "debian squeeze" line in '/etc/apt/sources.list' :

#deb squeeze main

If you get 404 errors while updating or do not have a lenny line in your sources.list file (as is the case with recent firmware updates) you will need to use the repository:
deb lenny main

Although it's safer to stick with "lenny", never downgrade packages to resolve dependency issues. As WD hasn't upgraded these packages just for fun, this will probably brick your system. In case there is no other way to fulfill dependency requirements, try to install necessary packages from "squeeze". Be very careful! Think twice before doing any changes! Always do a test run with the option '—simulate' first. Limit the number of packages you install to the minimum. In case you are not sure what will be installed, ask in the forum or check package contents using

2. do not upgrade 'udev' : There are compatibility issues with the kernel. To reload the good version of udev (see post) and to avoid any upgrade of udev :

# echo "udev hold" | dpkg --set-selections
# aptitude hold udev

If you want a newer udev, you have to disable
General setup -> enable deprecated sysfs features which may confuse old userspace tools (CONFIG_SYSFS_DEPRECATED_V2)
and recompile the Kernel

You can also build modules whithout recompile the whole kernel

3. if you upgrade to PHP 5.3 : your will need to modify php.ini and restart apache or install a version of cake >= 1.3 (if you don't want to lose access to the Web System Management ( http://yourIP/UI)).

# echo "error_reporting  =  E_ALL & ~E_NOTICE & ~E_DEPRECATED" >   /etc/php5/conf.d/cake_1.2.6.ini
# /etc/init.d/apache2 restart

4. If you upgrade the firmware through WD's UI, all customizations will be removed. This does not include SSH access, but it includes packages, kernel modules, SSH keys in /root/.ssh, everything that is not configured through the Web UI.
WD's upgrade is actually very clever: the system's root partition is a 'fake RAID' (two 2GB partitions on the same disk) and during upgrade, they disable one copy of the copies, install a new partition image, then synchronize the fake RAID, and reboot. So everything gets overwritten. This can also help if something is broken - just upgrade the firmware again, and everything will be reset to normal. You can force a firmware upgrade by making the Mybook Live think it has an old version:

  echo "02.01.06" > /etc/version


  1. Setup development tools to compile packages Setup development tools on MyBook Live
  2. Compile kernel modules Compile modules for the MyBook Live
  3. Compile source packages. Example : compile-nano-from-source
  4. Mysql post
  5. Mail : mini_sendmail
  6. Git and gitolite : git
  7. Partially bricked (SSH access) & re-install firmware post
  8. Completly bricked : Debricking guide - draft
  9. Resize data partition (sda4) after cloning from a smaller disk : post
  10. Pull Data from removed hard drive : use of debugfs
  11. Windows based method for replacing HD : []
  12. Backups
    1. Data Backup : The MyBook Live lacks USB port, you have to backup on your LAN
      1. for backup a partition over the lan google for +dd +netcat
    2. System backup
      1. backup-images-of-mybook
      2. FileSystem Backup : todo
  13. stop Load_Cycle_Count on WD drives
    1. see here:
    2. use this tool for MyBook Live
  14. leave cron running when going in standby : post
  15. Harden SSH : how-to
  16. Setting up webdav on mybooklive : how-to

Mediaserver improvements

  1. How-to let Twonky decode Flac files
  2. Playing flac files > 3 mn in iTunes —» Solved in firmware since april 2012 !


- command line help : # any-command - -help
- copy/paste to Putty : to paste in Putty at the blinking cursor 'click right' on your mouse

Others tools specific to MyBook Live

HightLevelBits packages by Teintureman :
pre-prepared packages with Web Server (share files, photo, music) inside your local net but also from everywhere (secure SSH)
and a lot more for complete newbees. Like Transmission (peer-to-peer download), OpenVPN …


Wikidots existing infos
Wikidot Forum
Google : Google is your friend you can type to search anything : command line, PHP, Pearl,.. , errors, etc …
Debian/Ubuntu : a lot of Ubuntu documentation can be of help

  1. first steps
  2. command line memento
  3. man pages :
    • Wikipedia -
    • "Okay, If you donno what it means RTFM, let me tell you what is it. It is Read The Fucking Manuals. This is what the linux “expert” user trying to be helpful in the forums or channels and ask you to check out the available manuals for help." link

Modifying the Hardware


A good description : by smallnetbuilder
disassembling pics from MyBook Live


Here is a link to the NZBget 14.1 stable binaries (compiled 13/12/2014).

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