32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Be very careful when selecting this drive.,
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 1 TB USB 2.0 Desktop External Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Program (What's this?)I have been using Western Digital drives for many years in my work and own hundreds in various capacities, including a few My Book models. Until now, there has been nothing unique about these drives. Plug them into USB port and you're ready to go.
This unit with its WD SmartWare solution is different from My Book units of the past: very different. Different enough to ruin the day for many people who find that they have something they don't want - an automatic backup system. Thus, this unit must be reviewed from two very different perspectives. One as a standalone backup system - and the other as a standalone external drive. Both merit five stars.
Western Digital blew it on this product line. I guess some MBAs decided that people wanted a plug-n-play backup system. Maybe some people do. But they sure don't make it clear on the box that when you plug this puppy in, it is very insistent on installing its backup software. And there is as virtual CD that pops up and pops up and pops up and pops up: you seemingly can't get rid of it.
As delivered - unless you want a simple backup system - this My Book model is bad news. Western Digital got the message after the marketplace blasted it with reviews running from bad to awful. They finally introduced some software that would update the firmware and suppress the virtual CD function.
So now if you're willing to take the time to download and run the firmware updater and the software manager, in about thirty minutes or so, you'll have what you might have been looking for in the first place - an external hard drive without any bells and whistles.
Western Digital did this one wrong. The advertising and the outside of the box should make it absolutely crystal clear that this is intended as a standalone backup system that can be converted to an ordinary external hard drive.
As a backup system for people who don't want to learn anything about backing up hard drives, it isn't bad. It is simple to use, configurable for default operation and even provides for whole drive encryption. However, it is not a system experienced users will like. It is inflexible and it is WD's backup way or no way. It is, effectively, backup for dummies - and the unsophisticated will probably appreciate it simplicity.
A lot of people, however, are going to buy this unit without reading the current descriptions or the notice of a firmware updater from Western Digital and are going to be very aggravated as they try to get rid of the virtual CD and defeat the backup software.
Physically, the unit is typical of the My Book line. Sleek, no fan and runs cool. One significant design defect, in my opinion, is the use of a "wall wart" power adapter. It is on the large side and doesn't fit conveniently into most power bars. They should have made it inline with a regular power cord going to the outlet. Also, the MBAs have decided the normal convention of putting the USB symbol on the top of the USB connector is too ordinary for them: they put it on the bottom and used a stylized "WD" logo on the top. So expect to attempt putting in the cable upside down a few times. Finally,the sockets for the power and mini-USB did not quite line up with the openings on the case.
For someone seeking a simple backup solution, this is a pretty good idea. For someone who just wants an external hard drive, it works, but only after you remove the backup features. The hard drive itself is a Western Digital product and I have been pleased with them over the hundreds of drives I use in my work.
If you're looking for just a plain vanilla external hard drive, don't buy this unit unless you don't mind taking the time to get rid of the backup features. Otherwise get one without the WD SmartWare features.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 26, 2010 5:43:05 AM PDT
S. Hansen says:
How can you list so many negatives for this product and still give it 5-stars? That makes no sense.
In reply to an earlier post on Aug 26, 2010 9:10:23 AM PDT
Jerry Saperstein says:
This sums it up: "If you're looking for just a plain vanilla external hard drive, don't buy this unit unless you don't mind taking the time to get rid of the backup features. Otherwise get one without the WD SmartWare features."
The basic box is fine: it is a hard drive in an external USB case. Period. Fine product.
The included software is a problem, but it is remediable for the person so inclined. If you can get rid of the problem easily, then it isn't really a problem.
Posted on Sep 30, 2010 10:30:15 PM PDT
J Moya says:
5 stars? Did you read your own article...? NO WAY is this a 5 start product.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 2, 2010 11:33:49 AM PDT
Jerry Saperstein says:
There's nothing wrong with the hard drive. Remove the backup software and it is fine.
Posted on Feb 20, 2012 12:07:40 PM PST
James H. Jones says:
Glad I read this before I bought. Now I will not.
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