on June 11, 2014
I bought this specifically to use it as an external storage option for my Xbox One, which was down to less than 10% available when they released the update that allowed external storage in early June 2014. If you are considering this drive as an external drive for your Xbox One system, I can assure you it handles the task quite nicely! When I plugged the drive into an available USB 3.0 slot on the back of the Xbox One, the Xbox One immediately recognized it as an external storage device, and asked if I would like to format the drive. Formatting was very straight forward and very quick. The Xbox One OS also gives you the opportunity to name the drive, which I kept at the default "External" so you can tell internal storage from external storage. Another nice feature is that the Xbox One gives you the option to always install new content to the external drive until it is full. If you select this option, then anything that is installed from this point forward will be installed to the external drive, as long as it is connected. It's a great drive, very quiet, very quick, and I have no issues playing games off of it rather than the internal drive. Again, if you are considering this for an external storage option for your Xbox One, do it!
on October 25, 2013
Based on the drive itself and the backup software, I would have given this product 5 stars--it is very quiet in operation, quiet enough to be left running full time on your desk. The easy-to-use included backup software can continually backup files each time there is a change or you add a new one (or you can choose to do periodic backups), and even automatically can keep up to 25 earlier versions of files that you've modified (you set the number archived). Why then only 3 stars? Because the drive comes with drive utility software that has a glitch. After installing the drive, before doing anything else, I ran the drive diagnostics; it passed the SMART Status and Quick Drive tests (both very quick to run), but about 30% of the way through failed the Complete Drive Test, which takes hours to run. I ran all the tests again, got identical results, then called WD tech support. Based on my results, they said the drive was defective, and that I should return it to Amazon, which I did. Amazon quickly sent a replacement--which again failed the Complete Drive Test at around 30%. Another call to WD tech support, this time with someone more competent, and I learned that yes, the diagnostic software that is packaged with the drive is defective. He then had me download the utility software they use in-house and use it run a complete test. 16 hours later (I'm using USB 2.0, which probably runs slower than if using 3.0) the drive passed, and in actual use since then seems to be working just fine. So because WD is packaging the drive with glitchy utility software I had to spend hours running diagnostics, talking twice with tech support, and returning what was likely a perfectly good drive to Amazon. Ridiculous! One would think WD would test and de-bug their software before packaging it with a brand new drive. Bottom line: The hardware is good, but don't use the included diagnostic utility, it will give erroneous results (unless they've fixed it--and yes, I did check for updates before running it). Instead, if you want to check the drive integrity, download the Data Lifeguard Diagnostic program from the WD site (I used Windows version, didn't check to see if there is a Mac version) and run that.
on October 19, 2013
I purchased this drive largely based upon a specific need for a USB 3.0 product with 4TB of storage. I've owned many WD internal and external HD products over time and have not had any drive failures to date over many years. I purchased this drive specifically as a backup storage drive attached to a Synology 1813+ NAS unit. This required a reformat to EXT4 as the drive comes natively formated in NTFS. The Synology NAS schedules backup to this drive of selected folder shares using the "Time Backup" software available from Synology. I'm not utilizing any of the software included from WD with this drive (backup, cloud, etc.) as the Synology NAS has its own software for each of these purposes.
The drive itself is similar in size to other My Book drives. The plastic casing is certainly not as nice as the aluminum finish on the WD My Book drives that I have for my Macs, but it is similar to the black of the Synology unit and overall looks good. The power adapter is reasonably sized (not a brick), and the unit comes with a USB 3.0 cord for use with its single USB 3.0/2.0 port. WD provides a 2-year warranty with this product.
There are cheaper drives with similar specs available from other companies. However, having had drive failures with Seagate over the years, I'm unwilling to take chances with other options. It's important to backup your valued files, and WD drives have played a major role in my backup solutions over time. If I have issues with this drive, I'll update my review. This seems to be another winner from WD!
Following my review, another Amazon user asked me an excellent question, "Does the USB connection to the drive feel flimsy?" This is a very appropriate question given concerns raised with the prior generation of this same My Book device. While I don't own the previous My Book version in question, I did check the USB connector on my device. The supplied USB 3.0 cable seems to be stable in its connection to the rear port of the My Book case. I can't physically make it move horizontally or vertically with any significance - unless I were to apply excessive force. Modest attempts at movement of the USB cable did not disrupt the connection. I don't plan to move this My Book from one place to another (it's connected to my NAS), so I suppose that I won't be able to comment well on wear-and-tear issues with respect to the USB connector. Other My Book devices that I own are the Mac Firewire/USB 2.0 version. Those have never struck me as flimsy.
Since writing my original review, I've purchased a 2nd unit which I reformatted for Mac OS X and use for "time machine" backup. Both drives are functioning well and have had no issues. I'm still very pleased with the quality and function of the drives. Reading through a number of the questions regarding this drive, it's clear that the term "cloud backup" as assigned by WD to this drive is a bit of a marketing stretch. As has been noted by others, the "cloud backup" option is not intrinsic to the drive, but an add-on service provided by Dropbox and facilitated by WD software that a user may choose to run on an attached computer (I don't personally use or recommend that others use WD software). These drives are nothing more than a WD drive, in an enclosure, with a single USB 3.0 connection. If you are looking for "cloud" capability, other product options do exist. I do hope that WD changes its description of drives such as this in future marketing.
on August 12, 2014
NOTE: THIS REVIEW WILL COVER USE ON THE XBOX ONE ONLY.
As X1 owners will understand, the internal hard drive isn't anywhere large enough to hold many games, now hitting the 30GB range. Just by installing 3 games, over 30% of my space was used. Not good, so an alternative was necessary.
I chose the My Book line over the My Passport because I wanted the unit to stand as it's shown in the picture, which is necessary due to my setup. The My Book stands about 2x higher than the console vertically, but can also be laid atop horizontally, if one chooses.
The unit requires additional power, so be prepared to find another outlet. The built-in transformer makes for a larger plug, so if you intend to plug into a surge protector, you will need to be aware this may not fit among other plugs due to its size.
I've only had this unit for about 2 days, but so far, it's working perfectly.
For XBox One owners, here's some basic information:
-When you connect the drive and turn on the console, you will need to go into Settings - Manage Storage to prepare the unit. The console will automatically detect the new USB drive.
-You will need to format the drive before you can use it. Start the process. The console will ask you to name the device, if you wish to do so (I named mine Pipboy 3000). The format takes less than one minute.
-The final question will ask you if you want to use the device as the primary drive. I recommend this option since every download and save will go to the external drive rather than the internal drive. You can always change this option at a later time.
Transferring (moving) games from the hard drive to the ext drive is pretty easy and straightforward. Ryse was the only game that took a while, but that's because it's 30GB in size. Despite the size, it still moved in less than 4 minutes.
It's important to note the drive speed is irrelevant here. The 5400 RPM isn't going to be used to its maximum since the USB 3.0 is what will control the speed of data transfer.
That said, I did not notice any additional time being added to loading screens (Assassin's Creed IV).
If you're looking for additional space, I recommend this unit. Remember: this is only valid for the XBox One through experience. PS4 owners should do more reading to ensure the drive will perform as expected.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.
Be sure to check the various sizes, as the larger drives sometimes are only a few dollars more. In recommend getting the biggest drive you can afford as sometime you may/will need it. The 3TB drive was only $20 more than the 2TB drive which isn't much for 50% more space.
If you're a Mac user setting up or erasing a flash, thumb or hard drive up with your computer is super easy follow these steps.
1. Plug in the the drive
2. Open up disk utility found in your applications folder inside the utilities folder
3. Next select the newly plugged in a hard drive and on the right-hand side you should see partition click on that.
4. Then inside that screen on the partition layout drop-down choose how many partitions you'd like to set up. I generally go with one partition and just use folders to organize my files.
5. Then on the right-hand side you can name the partitions and select the format. If you are transferring video files I highly recommend you choose Mac OS Extended as it can handle files over 4 GB. Sometimes it's good to make two partitions and one using "MS-DOS fat" or "ExFat" if you might be transferring files to and from a Windows machine. The reason is Windows machines and Macs can read and write to the "MS-DOS fat" format but your files will need to be under 4 GB each as that's the maximum file size it can handle.***
6. Then click apply and your Mac will create all the partitions you wanted and you're good to go.
*** The ExFat format is new to Mac OSX 10.9 Mavericks and doesn't have a 4gb file size limit the "MS-DOS fat" or Fat32 does but not all devices like cameras & digital devices can't read or write to it.
on August 30, 2014
Be advised, these Western Digital drives use AES HARDWARE encryption. If the USB fails on the device - you CANNOT recover your data. Of course, mine died on the fourth day I had it - and even Western Digital cannot recover the data for you (as the encryption key is IN the hardware of the USB. Had to take the drive out and format it (lost all data). I suggest getting a drive which has AES password encryption not on the hardware - this feature not only does not provide you with any more security - it provides a second point of failure for your device. Don't learn the hard way like I did...
on February 13, 2015
Quick Overview for WD My Book 6TB USB 3.0 Hard Drive:
1) Very large digital storage space and reasonably portable
2) It is affordable ($234.99 when I purchased on 2/8/15) given this is their newest and largest drive at this time
3) Quiet (No audible noise unless I get right up next to it)
4) No heat issue (28°C when idle)
5) Fast read/write speeds (Read - 177.5 MB/s and Write - 175.7 MB/s)
6) Works right out of the box (Windows 8.1 x64)
7) USB 3.0 cord and Power Brick cord are sturdy
8) Did I mention that it works?
Cons: (Minor issues)
1) Glossy exterior can attract fingerprints easily
2) Can be easily knocked down (Watch out!)
The drive arrived expediently, 4 days after ordering, in good order with everything working right out of the box. Simply plugged it in and it booted right up without any problems. The drive itself looks exactly like the picture.
Assuming you are using this drive as a secondary external mass storage drive and not a primary drive with your OS installed, then this drive performs above average. When it comes to transferring large files, the read speed of this drive was 177.5 MB/s and the write speed was 175.7 MB/s. This is about 40 MB/s faster than a 5TB Seagate Backup Plus Drive that I own. So, what this means is that this drive performed beyond my expectations. I also ran extensive disk error tests on the drive and it passed them all.
Finally, the case the drive is in seems well ventilated and, so far, I have had no issues with heat. It is a quiet drive. I only hear noise when transferring files. So far, I am quite pleased with the product. If it fails, I will be sure to update this post. Hope this review helps everyone!
on August 13, 2014
Very impressed with enclosure and the ease of setting it up. It is quiet with very fast transfer rates (not formally tested, but moved whole movies within seconds). Easy to service and replace drives. I am pleased that it uses the server-grade Red drives as this should improve reliability. Absolutely love the two additional USB drives on back which essentially serves as an additional USB 3.0 hub. All modes (RAID 0, RAID 1, JBOD) tested and work well. FYI, JBOD (just a bunch of disks) offers access to two drives which can be formatted in your choice of filesystems (FAT32, NTFS, ReFS, etc). IMPORTANT NOTE: Out of the box, the drive is RAID 0 mode and requires additional steps to change into a different mode (highly recommended).
When looking into a backup or storage solution, one should consider all potential points of failure. Perhaps more importantly, one should have a recovery plan for each of the failure scenarios. I have attempted to list all these possible points of failure. In order of descending likelihood (your order may differ):
1. Single drive failure (not a question of if... but when)
2. Enclosure failure (internal RAID controller malfunctions, power supply failure, etc)
3. Catastrophic failure (theft, fire, simultaneous complete failure of BOTH drives)
Firstly, for castrophic failures there are no recovery options. This is why critical information should always be backed up OFF-SITE, and why RAID is generally not considered a viable option for backup purposes.
The most common form of failure is the single drive failure mentioned above. Importantly, RAID 0 will NOT protect against this common type of failure. Expect complete data loss! Thankfully, the RAID1 setting will help protect against the fairly common problem of single drive failure. Therefore, if you do not NEED the maximum capacity, I would highly recommend the RAID1 (data-mirroring) setting. In this case, even if one drive malfunctions you will have access to all your files. To successfully repair the mirroring function will require identification of the malfunctioning drive (which can sometimes be tricky) and then replacement with a new/different hard drive. In RAID 1 mode, the new disk will be re-populated with all the files from the working disk (hence the term mirror) and once again your files are protected from a single disk failure.
One frequently omitted consideration is what would happen if the enclosure/RAID controller failed. In this scenario, there would be two functional but inaccessible disks "trapped" inside the enclosure with no access to your files. Though I did not test formally on this drive, in many RAID1 setups you should NOT expect to be able to take out the drives and simply connect them to your computer to get to your files. Often times there is hidden formatting on these disks that prevents them from being natively recognized by Windows and MAC. While I was not able to find any documentation on this specific drive, I did find complaints from WD My Book LIVE Duo users who had difficulty recovering files. Many of those users described having to pay for expensive recovery service or needed to access the disks using a Linux system.
With that concern in mind, as a Windows 8+ user I setup my disks in JBOD mode which allowed me to use a new feature in Windows 8 called Storage Spaces. Storage Spaces works as a form of "software RAID" that also mirrors your data across two or more disks. One potential advantage of this setup is that an enclosure failure would be a comparatively minor inconvenience. I was able to find documentation that stated that access to your files could be maintained by hooking up either of the drives directly to your personal computer (without the enclosure). As such, a potentially costly and timely recovery process might be avoided. Also Storage Spaces allows for a mixed RAID setup using the two disks in the My Book DUO. For example once the two disks are added to the storage pool, I can make two different "drives" using this setup: (1) A mirrored disk which has built in redundancy, and (2) a striped disk with improved performance and the ability to use more of the available disk space. In my setup using a 6TB My Duo Book: Drive (1) is a mirrored backup drive with 1.5 TB of files on it (uses 3TB on the drive because it is mirrored), while Drive (2) being a "scratch" drive with a total of 3TB of free space. Using a setup like this, one can achieve backup of important files while maximizing storage space: 1.5 TB + 3 TB = 4.5 TB as compared to 3 TB on a fully mirrored drive. FYI, a drive that is setup using Storage Spaces is not compatible with Windows XP, Windows 7, or any other operating system (MacOS, Linux, etc).
As stated above, I researched but did NOT personally test any of these failure scenarios. If you have personal experience with recovery of files from this drive, feel free to update in the comments sections. Good luck to you and your precious data. Enjoy.
on December 8, 2014
UPDATE - 01/06/2015
This is an update on my impressions of the extracted WD Green HDD from the My Book. Even in my internal mount, the WD Green still exhibits the 5-second spin-up routine if left idle for too long. At this point, I can only conclude that this characteristic is the default for the WD Green and by extension, the My Book. Other external desktop hard drives I've used don't show this trait.
Hence, even if I can accept the automatic hardware encryption by the My Book, the default idling behavior of the HDD is not one I find desirable. I have thus written an addendum to the original review below to reflect my further thoughts post-review.
UPDATE - 01/01/2015
This is an update on my impressions of the WD My Book after performing a disassembly. Keep in mind however that any attempted disassembly will void the warranty on the product.
The build of the My Book enclosure is solid. The casing clips tightly to the mounting bracket while the internal HDD within is securely fitted to the bracket by rubber stoppers. Watching other YouTube videos on the My Book disassembly, it seems that different models of the My Book use slightly different mounting setups of the HDD to the bracket, though all of the setups appear to be equally secure.
Like many of the YouTube disassembly video uploaders, the HDD in my unit was a WD Green. I've no prior experience with the bare Greens, so I cannot comment much about its reliability nor speeds at this point.
However, upon fixing the WD Green into an internal mount, the drive was marked as unreadable and requiring a format. This suggests the presence of hardware encryption regardless of user preference set on the My Book. Due to this reason, HDD extraction from the My Book is definitely not recommended, especially if the unit still contains data desired to be retrieved. My opinion on this feature still stands; good security practices are fine, but make it explicitly known and make it optional.
Finally, is it worthwhile to purchase a My Book just for the HDD inside if the unit is cheaper than the price of the bare HDD itself? Unless the My Book at your desired capacity is significantly cheaper, I would have to say no. First, it takes considerable effort to extract the HDD from the enclosure. Furthermore, it is almost impossible to reassemble the enclosure after even after a partial disassembly of the unit. Coupled with the enforced hardware encryption mentioned above, any data stored will likely be forever lost should an extraction attempt fail. Moreover, the warranty of the My Book will be voided if disassembly is attempted; it is probably more worthwhile to just pay a little extra for the warranty coverage on the bare HDD itself.
Overall, my rating of the WD My Book remains unchanged and the original review can be viewed below.
(+) Reasonably priced for 4TB of external storage
(+) Well-ventilated enclosure design
(+) Rubber feet at bottom of enclosure for grip
(+) USB 3.0 capable
(-) Goes to standby if left idle after a while
(-) PC being unable to recognize the drive at times
(-) PC being unable to eject the drive at times
What's Downright Bizarre
(x) Enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge in the enclosure
Caveats for International Consumers
(/) The included AC adapter I received is a US-style 2 pin type, a physical adapter may be needed for overseas use. A quick check on Amazon's page does not tell whether the drive can accept international voltages. Check with WD to ensure that the drive can be used in your country
Overall: Two stars. A good value package soured by enforced hardware encryption
Note: The review is based on the 4TB version
The WD My Book ticks most checkboxes of a standard desktop external HDD. Its size is comparable to other external desktop HDDs and depending on your setup, its design means you can place it vertically standing as in the illustrations or leave it lying horizontally with not much issue. The enclosure is also well ventilated with grilles on the upper and underside, allowing for effective cooling of the hard disk inside. I could not locate any dedicated on/off switch on the drive; the drive simply starts up when electricity is supplied. Very efficient I must say.
The WD My Book does come with a variety of backup software on the drive, including the SmartWare Pro software. I personally do not use any of the supplied software, preferring to drag and sort my backups manually. This drive is USB 3.0 capable and I usually get 60 - 80 MB/s for file transfers. The included USB 3.0 cable is of reasonable length for an external desktop HDD.
One minor annoyance that I've experienced with the My Book is that the drive will enter a standby mode if left idle after a while. The drive is still listed in the file explorer, but accessing it takes about 5 seconds as the drive spins up again. Fortunately, I have yet to experience the drive entering into standby while it's being actively used.
Other annoyances I have encountered include the PC not being able to recognize or eject the drive. Usually, cycling the power for the My Book solves the recognition problem, but it's a little unsettling considering that large amounts of your data are stored on it and high reliability is definitely an important aspect. For the latter quirk, sometimes the PC will refuse to eject the drive even when there are no files being accessed from it and I have to resort to shutting down the computer so I can safely turn the drive off.
If the review were to end here, on balance, the WD My Book would earn a solid 4-star* rating, so why the measly 2-star score?
Enforced hardware encryption.
If you Google search "WD My Book Disable Encryption", you'll find a number of threads and posts on various sites that suggest that there exists enforced hardware encryption by the USB-SATA bridge on WD My Book devices. What this means is that as your data is copied over to the My Book, the USB port on the enclosure encrypts your data on the way in and decryption also occurs at the USB port as the files are accessed. All these occur even if you do not have a password set up to lock the WD My Book.
A thread on the WD Community forums titled "NOT using hardware encryption on "My Book Essential"" suggests that this hardware encryption function cannot be disabled. What this implies is that for you to access the files stored on the My Book, you need all parts of the device to be in working order; if the USB-SATA bridge ever fails, there's no way to do an enclosure replacement like you can with a standard external desktop HDD as the encryption keys reside in the original enclosure. Why introduce another point of catastrophic failure is really beyond me.
Good security practices are always welcomed, but it has to be made known explicitly to the end user with the option to disable it if so desired. The WD My Book already comes with software encryption tools on the drive for the security conscious, the enforced hardware encryption really does nothing of value for those who just want a plain desktop storage expansion solution.
Granted, some of the threads and posts on the enforced hardware encryption pertain to older My Book models and I have no way of finding out whether if this is still true for this particular My Book.
However, this is not the first instance I've discovered some sort of hardware lock on WD products; the WD My Passport Ultra (WD My Passport Ultra 2TB Portable External USB 3.0 Hard Drive with Auto Backup - Black), which I had also purchased and reviewed, also has similar hardware restrictions.
If there is official confirmation that the enforced hardware encryption has been scrapped for this particular WD My Book model, I'll be more than happy to revise this review and up the rating correspondingly.
Overall, if were it not for the enforced hardware encryption, this WD My Book will definitely be on my recommended purchase list, but the fact that there's no way to disable the hardware encryption means I cannot put my data in the drive with a peace of mind.
At this point, the only reason it receives more than a single star is because it's still fundamentally functional. I am going to continue using it, but I am going to have to do more shopping research for WD products in general and be on the lookout for replacements for this device. Such a shame really.
ADDENDUM - 01/06/2015
* I've since extracted the WD Green HDD from the My Book and fixed it into an internal mount. The 5-second spin-up behavior still persists. From my experience, it appears that this idling characteristic is the default for the HDD. Other external desktop hard drives I've used do not exhibit this behavior. Hence, even if I can accept the mandatory hardware encryption, I can no longer rate it at 4-stars; it'll probably earn a solid 3-stars at the very best.
on November 3, 2015
I was intrigued when I saw this "6TB external hard drive" selling for $183 when the cheapest "bare" 6TB hard drive that Amazon sells is (as I write this) for $223, the Caviar Green model. How/why could this external drive, with its case, USB 3.0 interface, a power supply (12V @ 1.5A), and a USB 3.0 cable, sell for $40 less than a bare hard drive? Do these additional pieces of the assembly cost negative $40? It makes you think that if someone somewhere was selling whatever 6TB drive is inside this thing as a "bare drive," it should be selling for about $150. Wouldn't you think that?
I took a gamble and ordered one on a Saturday night. This afternoon, Tuesday, 3 days after placing the order, it arrived at my doorstep, with an "Amazon Prime" sticker on it. I was pleasantly surprised, since I'm not an Amazon Prime customer. But hey, I'll take it.
The first thing I did was to connect the drive to my Mac via one of my USB 2.0 cables with a micro-USB plug, since my Mac does not have a USB 3.0 interface. I should also say that I am running a very old Mac OS (10.6.8) since I remain suspicious of the later Mac OSes. The hard drive light blinked a couple of times, and within a few short seconds, the drive mounted. I launched Disk Utility to inspect the drive, and to no surprise, it shows as the Mac interpretation of FAT32. Since I care about neither PC formatting nor the included Acronis True Image utility, I erased the drive and formatted it as a Mac OS Extended-Journaled drive (standard Mac format). The drive spun away for about 30 seconds, and just like that the drive was reformatted and mounted on my desktop. I then knew that the drive was alive and well. I wasn't going to have to return it for any defects, so it was now time to break it apart, meaning I now own it!
I did a quick internet searching about how to break apart a My Book hard drive and found many videos. All pointed out that there are snaps, not screws, that must be released, and getting them to release means that the snaps WILL break. I.e., if you're going to take the case apart, do not expect to be able to return it! It turns out there are 2 snaps on each side, at the back. The placement of the snaps is not symmetrical, as they are offset from one another. Nevertheless, prying with a couple of small blade screwdrivesr broke the four snaps, allowing the two halves to slide apart and separate. Sliding the two halves apart is easy. There is a little USB 3.0 interface daughter board that plugs into the standard ATA drive interface and is held in place with one screw, simple to remove. There are four rubber shock mounts that require a T-10 Torx screwdriver to remove (or you might be able to use a thin blade screwdriver ... maybe). And with that, you have your jail-broken hard drive.
And what did I find? I'll be darned, but there sits a Western Digital Caviar Green drive, model WD60EZRX, 64MB cache. The label on this drive is exactly the same label you'll find if you go out and buy this bare drive on Amazon for ... $40 MORE! There is no difference whatsoever between the drive in my hands and the one shown on the Amazon page displaying the WD60EZRX Caviar Green 6TB drive.
I've been contemplating buying a few 6TB drives for a while but have been put off by the price of the bare drive. If you're willing to tear apart the enclosure of this external drive and throw away everything but the drive, you can save $40/drive over the cost of a bare drive. Go figure!
I found my discounted 6TB bare hard drive. I'm putting in my order for a few more tonight!
UPDATE1: More units bought, and they're all Caviar Green drives. And the deal is often $52 cheaper than buying the raw drive! ($223 - $171 = $52). I've also found that when tearing apart the My Drive to get to the bare drive, it's worthwhile saving the USB3.0-to-SATA interface card and the power supply. The two make a great simple adapter to interface between any SATA drive and your computer! I remain mystified as to why the bare drive is so much more expensive than the My Drive, which is loaded with a whole lot more $tuff around it than the bare drive.
UPDATE2: More drives bought, and now they are all Caviar Blue drives! Thus, there is no consistency as to what type of drive WD will install inside their enclosures. However, no perceptible change in performance, noise, or power, have been observed with this change.