Initial setup is as easy as you would expect with just a power and network connection needed to get going. Once turned on the drive's shared folders should be instantly visible on your network from where you can assign them to be network drives, etc. For setting the NAS up you can log onto it via a normal web browser, if you already know what IP address your router has assigned it, or you can run the WD Discovery utility found on the included CD that will find the drive for you and let you 'configure' it. All the 'configure' option actually does is open a web browser and take you to the aforementioned configuration page, though. WD Discovery also makes it easy to map a network drive, browse the network shares, or create a shortcut, which again are tasks that can all be done manually if you so wish.
At the configuration page you're initially lead through a wizard for setting up time zone, administrative passwords, and some network options. From there on in there's a choice of two modes to the menus with a Basic view and Advanced view on offer. To our eyes the basic view really did seem to be just that, offering very little in the way of any useful features, dumbed down or not. This is of course, not necessarily a bad thing for novice users. Switching to Advanced view, however, lets you do more including specifying user access control including group policies and separate permissions for USB device access. Network options include manual and DHCP IP control and workgroup access. You can of course, split the drive up into more folders and you can specify accepted file systems for each folder with a choice of CIFS, FTP, NFS, and ATP on offer.
One of the features many people will be very glad to see is an iTunes server capability. This lets you store all your music and other multimedia on the My Book World Edition and then multiple computers running iTunes can access it all, without any conflicts. It's also DLNA certified so can be used as a generic media server for any other DLNA certified receivers like the Sony PS3, Microsoft Xbox 360, anything with Windows Media Player, loads of TVs, many mobile phones, and a whole host of other products besides.
In operation the only noise emanating from the My Book World Edition is from its hard drive, which is of the low power Green range, the 2TB version of which we just looked at. No cooling fans are used and the drive runs quite cool anyway, but you should avoid positioning it in confined or dusty places to keep it running optimally.
There's no wake-on-LAN feature so you can't turn it off completely and wake it remotely but with only 5.8W being drawn at idle and 8.5W when performing a file transfer, we wouldn't have a problem leaving it running all the time. The Gigabit Ethernet port means file transfers should be reasonably fast but with a quick file transfer test (using a 1,125MB file) we measured write and read speeds of 15.3MB/s and 34.4MB/s respectively. The former being a somewhat below par figure.