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Western Digital My Book Essential 500 GB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive

428 customer reviews
| 4 answered questions

List Price: $99.99
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500 GB
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Power Consideration: This desktop class hard drive requires the use of a power adapter (included) to operate. It cannot be powered by a USB cable alone.

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Capacity: 500 GB

Technical Details

Capacity: 500 GB
  • Brand Name: Western Digital
  • Model Number: WDH1U5000N
  • Hard Disk Size: 500 GB
  • Manufacturer Warranty Description: 2 years warranty
  • Hardware Platform: PC, Mac
See more technical details

Product Description

Capacity: 500 GB

Product Description

500GB - 7200rpm - USB 2.0 - USB - External

From the Manufacturer

Are you running out of hard drive capacity? Do you need to archive some important digital documents, photos, or music? This elegant external hard drive, reminiscent of a book, is the perfect solution. It takes no more space than a paperback book. Collect two or more and they nest neatly together like volumes on a shelf.

Table ShotWhat It Holds:
  •     Up to 142,000 digital photos
  •     Up to 125,000 songs (MP3)
  •     Up to 12,000 songs (uncompressed CD quality)
  •     Up to 38 hours of Digital Video (DV)
  •     Up to 220 hours of DVD quality video
  •     Up to 60 hours of HD video
One gigabyte (GB) = one billion bytes. One terabyte (TB) = one trillion bytes. Total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment.

Product Features:
  • Easy to set up, easy to use - Installation is a snap because you don't really install this drive, you just plug it in and it's ready to use.
  • USB 2.0 interface - A simple connection that offers convenience and compatibility among multiple computers.
  • Fits right in - Takes no more space than a paperback book. Collect two or more and they nest neatly together like volumes on a shelf.
  • Smart and energy efficient - Turns itself on and off with your computer.
  • PC and Mac compatible - Works with both Windows® 2000/XP/Vista and Mac® OS X 10.4.8 or later

Rear ViewIdeal for
  • Instant storage
  • Easy to use
  • USB 2.0
  • Saving and organizing your digital photo collection

System Requirements
  • Available USB port
  • Windows® 2000/XP/Vista™
  • Mac® OS X 10.4.8 or later
Package Includes
  • External hard drive
  • USB cable
  • AC adapter
  • Quick Install Guide

Which external drive interface is the right choice: USB, FireWire, eSATA, or Gigabit Ethernet? The right choice depends on compatibility with your computer and how you want to use your device. First, look at the connections on your computer.
Note: For convenience and flexibility, choose a WD hard drive with both USB and FireWire interfaces
(available in dual and triple interface configurations) or with both USB and eSATA interfaces.

Product Details

Capacity: 500 GB
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.1 x 6.5 inches ; 2.5 pounds
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Domestic Shipping: Item can be shipped within U.S.
  • International Shipping: This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More
  • ASIN: B000XRK3LG
  • Item model number: WDH1U5000N
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (428 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
  • Product Warranty: For warranty information about this product, please click here
  • Date first available at October 2, 2001

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1,169 of 1,193 people found the following review helpful By Phillip M. Dampier on November 10, 2007
Size: 500 GB
[Update: 3/2009: It's been more than a year since I wrote this lengthy review and I wanted to return and let people know how these drives are performing.

I have a total of ten of these drives - four the newer series referenced here, six the slightly older model that looks a bit different but is otherwise interchangeable. I am happy to report than only one drive suffered some intermittent failures in read/writing since purchase. No data was ever lost, but the problem was becoming annoying and I replaced it using their warranty service. I've had no drive failures otherwise and no data integrity problems. I find it important not to block the ventilation holes and am always on the lookout for any early signs of drive failure, such as ticking noises, grinding, or excessive drive whine, and have noted nothing thus far.

Overall, I am fully satisfied with this drive series and believe WD is definitely proven competent in the external drive marketplace.]

Western Digital has released v2.0 of the My Book Essential external hard drive series, redesigned for late 2007.

The Essential series is the value line from Western Digital's external hard drive product line. Featuring a USB-only connection, the drive is targeted to price-conscious users who need lots of extra storage space, but don't need multiple connectivity options (USB, eSATA, Firewire).

Slightly reduced in thickness from its predecessor, v2.0 is about the size of an epic paperback novel only a few inches deeper. It weighs in around two pounds.

Gone is the green lighted circle which used to represent the power switch on older v1.0 drives - v2.0 uses a blue-lighted vertical drive activity indicator which alternates on and off when the drive is being accessed.
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90 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Ankhman on May 21, 2009
Size: 500 GB
I'm an experienced computer technician with 20+ years of on the job experience. I am a firm supporter of Western Digital internal drives, and have always used them. When the My Book drives were released several years ago, I was enthusiastic that a low-cost external drive solution was available from my preferred hard drive vendor.

After years of using these drives in both a professional and personal capacity, and after having the last of my 5 personal My Book drives die today, I felt compelled to write a review warning people away from them.

In my workplace we had been using My Book drives exclusively for the last 4 years. Over that four year period, more than 50% of the drives we deployed for use in backup solutions died. We would always RMA the drives (they would usually fail within a year), but the replacements would also fail eventually (with a recurring fail rate of about 50%).

All 5 of the drives I have purchased for personal use have failed. The last drive to die was the one that died today. It's one month out of warranty (1 year). While WD might very well replace it (they have excellent customer support), I am throwing it away and giving up on the My Book line for good.

While I will continue using WD internal drives (they perform flawlessly over many years), I must strongly advise people to NOT use the external My Book drives, especially when using them in a 24/7, frequent write capacity (like backing up or transferring large amounts of data). There must be some inherent flaw in their design. Strangely enough, I have had great success with the Western Digital Passport line of drives. Those I can recommend highly. I have 3 of them, all over 2 years old and subject to frequent use, and all are performing flawlessly. I have also deployed many of these drives in a professional capacity and have yet to have a failure. The fact that the Passport drives are self-powered is a great added bonus. You have been warned!
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By T. G. Reese on May 21, 2008
Size: 500 GB Verified Purchase
I have two of these, and I use them for backups. I do not consider them to be reliable enough for use as a primary drive - backups only!

Consider the previous negative reviews in the proper context. The previous reviewers who used one of these drives as primary storage without backing up were asking for trouble. If your primary or backup drive fails, just replace it. Hard drives will fail unexpectedly, but that's why you make backups, right?

There's no guarantee that an external drive (like this one) will be any more reliable than your primary internal drive; indeed, the 3-year warranty internal drives are probably somewhat more reliable than the 1-year external drives, so use an internal drive for backup if you can. However, these drives are very convenient as backup media... just don't have unreasonable expectations.

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145 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Engine Ear on July 24, 2008
Size: 500 GB
I purchased one of these units last December for use as expansion space to hold music and photographs. It failed 5 days ago, unable to "be seen" by either my Mac or Windows computer; it worked one day, failed the next without being touched or moved; in other words, no physical damage to it by me. I had about 40 Gigs of data on this 500 Gig drive.

Suspecting either the power supply or USB-to-PATA interface card, I contacted Western Digital(WD) to see what I had to do to recover my data and have the defective unit repaired or replaced. I suspected that the drive itself was probably OK because of the nature of the failure to be seen at the interface. They told me that IF I tried to open the unit and recover the data from the drive, that that action would "void my warranty". Only if I paid one of their "preferred partners" [a minor fortune] to open the unit and recover my data to DVDs would they honor the warranty on their obviously defective product. If I had them send me a replacement unit, and subsequently returned the original unit in a "tampered condition" [i.e. I opened it to get at the hard drive to recover my data] they would then charge the retail price [$169, more than the current Amazon price for a NEW one] to my credit card. No person in their right mind would ever use this "warranty", so, in effect YOU HAVE NO WARRANTY for Western Digital products, unless you are willing to throw away your data or pay more than the price of a new drive to recover the data which THEY should have recovered for you in a repair department and sent back to you installed on a new drive.
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