Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: WD My Book 2TB External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 File Backup and Storage
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on June 21, 2011
This applies to the My Book USB3 2TB drive.

First the good stuff -
It is a nice fast drive. HDTune showed and average speed around 90-100MB/s when connected to a USB3 port on my Lenovo W510 laptop. That is why I bought the thing, and it works well. I had NO trouble accessing the drive (but then I reformatted it completely and did not see any issues with the CD partition etc..).

Note: I needed to update the USB3 drivers on my W510 to get it to be recognized consistently by Windows 7. That is likely an issue with the Win7 NEC USB3 drivers preinstalled on my Lenovo, and nothing to do with the WD drive.

Now the awful part:
After about 4 months of usage, the USB3 female connector in the cabinet came loose - and was stuck to the USB3 cable when I removed it!

I have owned close to ten different WD external USB drives from ~320GB and up to 2TB drives. I have *never* had any such issue with any previous drive (my only real gripe has been the fickleness of the tiny USB connector which often doesn't need much in the way of movement to cause the machine to lose contact with the drive - rather annoying).

Inspecting the board where the connector was - it seems that on this drive, it is just soldered straight on with 5-6 soldering points - NONE of which go through the board. This is quite unlike their 2TB USB2 My Book where the tiny USB2 connector is supported by two plastic studs that go through the PCB board. And the power connector on both USB2 and USB3 is soldered with pins going though the board and an additional thicker plastic stud.

So if you intend to stick the cable in there and leave the thing stationary - you will most likely not have this problem.

HOWEVER if you do any amount of plugging it in and out, you must use EXTREME CAUTION or you will most likely break off the connector at some point.

The shop I bought it from had one raving review when I bought it from them - but when I went back after my problem, there were 7-8 other people with the exact same problem.

So it definitely looks like a terrible design which should never have been implemented, and can not have gone through any kind of real world testing. I am quite frankly disgusted at the QA process that let something like this go into the retail chain.

BUYER BEWARE!

If you google WD MY BOOK USB3 BROKEN CONNECTOR or similar, you should find people both on TomsHardware and on Western Digitals own community who have experienced this.

---
Be aware that if a hard drive fails, you will most likely not get any help/compensation for your data. They will at most replace the defective unit with a new one. Make sure you have multiple backups.

And I can't really say I disagree with that policy.

The problem here however, is that Western Digital has clearly designed a product which has an extremely weak point - and I hope they will show the corporate responsibility to fix the design and offer to replace the drives. The quality of that connector is quite UNACCEPTABLE and I will surely never buy anything like it again. And I have been very happy with my earlier WD purchases :(

Western Digital: I am looking forward to hearing your response to this post. Show us that you care about your customers.
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VINE VOICEon October 12, 2011
I have six of these drives. I have had no serious problems to date, the oldest I've owned for about four months now. I will return to edit this review should a drive fail in the future.

UPDATE: I wrote the above in October 2011. Writing now in October 2012, I now have eight of these drives. No problems to date.

SECOND UPDATE: Writing now in November 2013. I have nine of these drives at this point. No problems to date.

THIRD UPDATE: Writing now in October 2014. Same nine drives. Still no problems to report.

Here is my recommendation for how to set up the drive, out of the box. I've done this a bunch of times now, so I'm getting routine at it, and thought I'd write it out for others.

Some caveats, for what it might be worth:
--I am running Windows 7 64-bit.
--I use both 3.0 and 2.0 connectivity, depending on the computer I hook these up to.
--I have no use for the included backup software, so I can't speak to that. If you are buying this for the backup software, skip this review, because I'm going to be describing how to setup the drive by wiping that stuff off.
--I use these drives primary as HD media storage, accessing them directly through USB, or over ethernet, with my Dune Smart D1 media player.
--My media player initially had trouble "seeing" this drive until I figured out the sequence below:

Setup:
--Out of the box, plug the power in, and then connect the drive to your computer with the provided USB cable. For what we are doing, it makes no difference if you have a 3.0 or 2.0 USB port on your computer, the drive works fine in both.
--Your computer will begin to automatically install 3 drivers, and will almost certainly fail to install one of them. This is the "SES driver." Don't worry about this at all. We will get to that in the next step. Now, if this is your second (or sixth!) drive that you have purchased, it won't fail on installing that third driver, because you'll have done the following steps already, and your computer WILL already have the SES driver installed :)
--Take a breath. All you should have done up to now is plug in and sit back. Your computer may have put up an AutoRun message about what to do with the new drive. If so, just close that message box, "X" it out. The drive should now be showing up on your computer. You could start using it right now, absolutely. But we have some more work to do, in order to have a real clean start with this drive. The manual says that you need to install all the bloatware that comes with this drive in order to get the SES driver on. Happily, this is not true. What you now need to decide is whether you want to bother with the SES driver. If you install it, things will go more smoothly every time you plug it into the computer that has that driver. The computer will recognize the drive right away, and there will be no error messages. If you don't install the SES driver, you will have to put up with the minor irritation of having to sit there a few seconds every time you plug it in and have it re-recognize the two drivers that it will successfully install, and hit the error on the SES driver not being found. For me, this is enough of an irritation that I install the SES driver. But you absolutely do NOT have to, if you don't mind putting up with those few extra seconds on every plug-in. Your call. If you want the SES driver installed, follow the next step. If you don't, skip it and NO harm done.
--I don't want to sit there for a slow driver install every time I plug these things in, that is not the way to go for me. So I install the SES driver. BUT, I am not going to put the WD bloatware on my machine. And I don't have to. The SES driver is available as an automatic OPTIONAL download from Windows Update. So you need to launch Windows update from your computer, and you need to re-check for the latest updates, to refresh the list. Now that you have plugged in this new drive, you will find among the OPTIONAL Windows updates an SES driver listed. Install this update in the usual way. I don't think you need a reboot, but then it never hurts. So after downloading and installing the update, remove your new drive from your computer, the usual safe way, by "Safely Remove Hardware and Eject Media" :) Reboot. Now plug your new drive back in again. You should find it is discovered just a bit quicker now, and with no driver error. Great.
--Alright, now we need to clean up the drive itself. I want a clean, formatted drive. But I want it done the right way, and these new 3TB drives are an issue. Has to do with the way they allocate chunks of memory. You can't just format them the normal Windows way. Well, you can, but then you are going to end up with less than 3TB for a partition. Not what we want. The good news: WD has just the software to get you formatted right. The bad news: they put the software on the drive itself. Well okay, this is actually good news too, one less CD or DVD to deal with. BUT. I don't want to KEEP that software on my drive, I just want to use it for a sec. It couldn't be simpler. What you need to do is simply copy the files and folders that come shipped on the drive itself onto a temporary folder on your computer. Copy them all. You will only use one, but it relies on some of the others, so copy them all together. Once you have them copied onto the temp folder, go to that temporary folder and double-click the "WD Quick Formatter.exe" file. Why can't you just run this program from the file that is on the drive itself? You are going to be formatting that drive, and it can't do that and read a file from itself of course. You'll get a "can't perform action" error, the "drive is in use." So you copy the files and folders over, make sure the new hard drive is plugged in, and then run the "WD Quick Formatter.exe" file from the temp folder.
--The formatting process is pretty quick, should take just a minute or two. One key thing: you will be asked: "Factory default" formatting, or "XP compatible" formatting. "XP compatible" is the default choice. For me, I found this screwed things up. This was the reason my media player wasn't recognizing the drive. When formatting "factory default," I have had no problems. I would recommend you select this option.

Done. You now have a pristine, clean drive, formatted the correct way to take advantage of the 3TB. I would save those files and folders you copied over, by the way. If you ever want to reformat again, it is going to be a hassle without them, and super-easy with them. Keep them on your main computer, tucked away somewhere they won't bother you until your moment of need. If you don't keep them and need to reformat someday, you are going to have to go to the WD website, find and download them.

A few more words.

The "WD Quick Formatter.exe" is what you want. It is nowhere mentioned in the manual or the WD website, best I can tell. Bizarre. By all means, you do NOT want to run "WD SmartWare.exe." Unless of course you want all that stuff on your computer.

Some of the other reviews suggest that there is a hidden partition on this, where the WD software resides. Not so. The drive ships with just one single partition, as the manual claims. Check yourself on Control Panel-->Administrative Tools-->Computer Management-->Storage-->Disk Management. The software sits right there on the drive, in plain site. Four folders and two executable files.

The drive is 2.72TB for real, not 3.00TB. No truth in advertising, it turns out. And again, no that "missing" space is not some hidden partition ;)

The reviews about the fragile usb connection, the little tiny one that goes into the drive itself, are correct! It is flimsy, and it won't put up with any jiggling. You can't sit this drive somewhere where it could get brushed up against or moved. The slightest jostle and it loses the connection. Even if for a moment, this kills a large file transfer of course. What a pain. Four stars instead of five because of this. I don't keep them where they can get moved, so not really an issue. But if they were positioned in that sort of way, this would have to be a one star review. Truly lousy connection. Up to you depending on where you will situate the drive whether this is a non-issue or a huge issue.
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VINE VOICEon November 2, 2010
Capacity: 2 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are 2TB drives out there for less money and if all you need is a huge space, you might consider one of those. The value added in this package is the backup software that is bundled with the drive (actually, delivered right on the drive).

WD Smartware is a backup/restore suite that, once installed, boots with your machine. If the MyBook is attached via your USB port, it will constantly monitor activity and make backups accordingly in the background in near real time without any action on your part. It also maintains multiple generations of files (you choose how many), so you can go back to, say, three versions ago if you need to recover a spreadsheet or other data file.

You can also use it on multiple computers. Backups are stored under folders with the same name as the PC they're created on.

I tested on a Win XP Pro laptop and a Win7 laptop and detected no system slowdowns at all. Every now and then the activity light on the drive would flicker; otherwise the backup operations were not noticeable. The drive itself is completely silent.

INSTALLATION

Strongly consider copying the software included on the drive to a CD before you do anything. I can envision situations where you might want to delete everything off the MyBook and if you do that, you'll no longer have the software to install on another machine (the manual has instructions about where to look for it online).

Plug in the power supply, then connect the MyBook to a USB port on your computer, then turn on your computer if it's not on already. The MyBook will not power up until it is connected to a USB port on a running computer, which is actually handy - if you turn that computer off, the MyBook turns off with it, then comes back up when you power the computer back up.

My Win7 machine saw the drive quickly but complained that the drivers could not be installed. The drive worked fine, though - I was able to create folders, copy stuff to it, and delete stuff from it using Windows Explorer.

My XP machine saw the MyBook and started the Found New Hardware wiz. It asked if it could connect to Windows Update to look for drivers. The drive wasn't showing in Windows Explorer, so I said yes. After a long search for "WD SES Device USB Device," it found and installed what it needed to and the balloon said my new hardware was installed and ready to use.

I then installed the software (all of it) on both machines without incident, by running the WD SmartWare executable included on the drive (blue icon). On installation, I was prompted to perform my first backup, so I did. When I was through with both machines I had two presumably complete backups on the MyBook, one for each machine. For each PC you're supporting with the MyBook, this first backup is your baseline and changes to it will be tracked from that point on.

NOTE: these are not drive images. As nearly as I can tell, WD SmartWare doesn't support creating drive images or recovery boot discs, so you'll need to rely on other tools to create things like that if desired. I didn't see this as a flaw since this isn't sold as a system recovery utility. It will save your rear end if you blow a file or folder, but if your whole machine dies you have lots of other problems to solve before you start worrying about individual files. Of course it's a great location to store drive images, but be aware that the software isn't designed to create them.

I am regularly prompted that a software upgrade is available for the MyBook. Like another reviewer, I found that the installation program complains about additional USB devices being connected no matter whether any are connected or not. The drive works well so I just dismiss prompts to upgrade. Maybe I'll struggle with that later, or maybe not.

OPERATION

It just works. I disconnected the MyBook and then edited files, created new files, and deleted existing files on both my XP and Win7 machines. Then I connected the MyBook to each machine in turn. On both machines, a couple of minutes after connecting the MyBook, the new files appeared in the backup and edited versions (2nd generations) appeared in the backup without my doing anything. Deleted files (I had really deleted them, not sent them to the Recycle Bin) were still there in the backup.

Multiple generations and retention of deleted files is a good thing, but it is also going to cause bloat after time on machines that are heavily used. I can see needing to do housekeeping every so often, getting all my machines to a stable point, cleaning off the MyBook entirely, and then starting over with a fresh backup/baseline of each computer.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

This would ideally be connected to a desktop computer and just sit there quietly doing its job. I have three laptops and no longer have a desktop, so for me the advantage of virtually instantaneous file-by-file backup without having to think about it just isn't there because I don't want to be tethered to the MyBook all the time. I will have to remember to connect the MyBook to each laptop periodically to sync the changes on the laptop with the MyBook, but that's not that hard and it's a huge enhancement to the once-a-month (er, maybe) drive image I do now. I need to get off the couch occasionally anyway.

SUMMARY

This is a very well executed software/hardware bundle for those who want to maintain file backups without having to actually do anything - this thing is pure autopilot, and getting back some lost or damaged file that you update infrequently (your will? your online account/password list? your resume?) won't require a complete system restore, which is usually a disaster even if it's actually successful! I'd say it would be of the most benefit to folks who have one computer, or those whose most volatile (data-wise) computer is a desktop that they can attach the MyBook to and just let it quietly do its job, but I am having no problem putting it to use on my primary laptop.
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on February 28, 2011
Setting up the drive was very easy and it worked great for 2 weeks. The unit died after 14 days and western digital only sends used units out for replacement. Easier and safer to just destroy the unit instead of taking the chance of returnig to the store and sending it back to the factory. One only knows how many people have access to these units but I do not think it is worth the risk of someone, somehow getting the data off the drive. Not worth the risk of identify theft as I have tax information on the drive.
Update, I took the drive out of the case and installed in another external case (Not western digital). Cost $12. The hard drive works perfect. The control board in the old case appears burnt. Wonder it did not destroy my computer. I think from all the bad posts that Western Digital has got a bunch of bad control boards.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 14, 2011
Both of my My Book 3TB USB 3.0 drives failed within 6 months of purchase and within a month of each other. Both were running in a benign office environment and, after initial installation, neither were touched. I think that in each case it was the interface that died because, with either of the failed drives attached to my desktop computer, the computer would not boot. Based on this experience, I will not again entrust my backups to a My Book drive.
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on November 2, 2011
I have a wd 3 tb my book essential external hd. I repeatedly tried to do windows backup on the drive. It would go to 57 percent and then fail. Gave I /O error code Ox8078002A. The message said: One of the backup files could not be created. Details: The requested could not be performed because of an I/O device error.
I enabled the Volume Shadow Copy Service and made sure it was automatic.
I did a ChkDsk to the entire external HD. Everything was OK.
I performed a clean boot with selective startup and disabled all services after I hid all Microsoft services. That did not solve the problem either.
I found out that on the wd website it says that the disk will not work with OS Windows 7 or Windows Vista unless it is reformatted with the quick format utility with the "factory default" setting and not the Windows XP setting. At first the utility did not let me do it. It kept sending a message that the disk was being utilized and to close it. Trouble is, it was not open. I reformatted a quick format with factory settings through windows. It did not solve the problem. Then I tried again to reformat through the program utility and it worked this time. It took care of that error code Ox8078002A.
Unfortunately, however, the backup still failed and a new error code: Error Ox81000014 appeared. It said:"There is not enough space on the drive that Windows is installed on to prepare for backing up your files. At least 400 MB of free space is required to continue. Free up some space by deleting unnecessary files and try again. Details: The request could not be performed because of an I/O device error." The trouble is I have a relatively new computer with hundreds of gigabytes of free space on the disk that windows is installed on.

I have spent many hours with this drive and I have gotten nowhere. The drive is not worth my time. I think badly of WD for not clearly informing the public something so important that their drive will not work with vista or windows 7 unless it is formatted a certain way. Also, there were gliches even doing that along the way. And in the end I cannot even use the drive because of another error (Ox81000014), which itself is false. I could not find any solution to this last problem anywhere. I would stay far away from this drive. It is bad news!
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on May 10, 2011
For some reason most of the reviews shown to me when I select the 3 TB drive are for other smaller versions of the drive. Here's a review that's actually about the 3 TB model.

I've got two of these 3 TB drives and am close to adding a third. A lot of video data is taking a lot of disk space, and there really aren't many 3-TB drives available at this point. I'd like to add an esata drive to the mix, but I'm only aware of a couple of 3 TB esata drives, and they're twice as expensive as this unit.

I started out using these drives on USB 2. Of course data transfer was slow. I subsequently switched to USB 3 on a new laptop, and added a USB 3 hub to expand the use of that single port. No problem with two of these and a Seagate 1.5 TB GoFlex on a single hub. Inerestingly, I haven't noticed a slowdown in the transfer rate between a single drive direct in the USB 3 port and three drives in a hub. While it's not exactly instantaneous to move 10-100 gigabytes around at a time, the data transfer rate is reliably about 5X faster than USB 2 was for me, and I can see it burst sometimes at outrageous speeds.

You might ask, why don't I just get an array? I started out with one, actually, from a company which shall remain unnamed, but it failed me utterly. Two different arrays (after the first was exchanged) lost all my data three times. Fortunately I didn't trust it at all after the first time and had 100% backups. It's not easy to keep backups of terabytes of data, though, so that's why I ended up with the first of these Western Ditigal drives. At this point, I don't trust desktop RAID setups. So I'll just split my data between these drives, which isn't hard for this particular application.

I had no serious problems getting these drives to work with Windows 7 64-bit. The OS initially failed to see the second one, which is a quick fix in Disk Manager, I've seen this before with other identical drives where it seems to realize there are two separate drives but somehow considers them the same drive as well, and you have to click "online" to solve this strange little problem. So that happened. I also noticed that one of the two drives has a tendency to not be seen by the OS until I unplug it and restart it, upon reboot. I haven't seen this problem for awhile, so I suspect I solved it as part of a general issue with too many powered devices hooked up upon startup (I have a lot of stuff hooked up to three USB hubs, and now I just unplug one of the USB 2 hubs during initial boot).

The software that comes with this drive is both terrible and unnecessary. It's unnecessary because Windows 7 sees the drive without it, and I had trouble even understanding what some of the other reviewers were complaining about, like the guy with the catch-22 about not being able to get to the advanced drivers. I don't know what advanced features one would need with this drive. I plugged it in, it shows up as a drive, I put data on it, the end. But if those advanced features are the backup software that comes with it, I agree with all the other reviewers who urge you not to install it. I installed it and had a problem which I haven't seen in these reviews but which was all over the WD forums, namely that one of the background utilities has a tendency to run your CPU up as time goes on, apparently analyzing your files for the next backup or something. Totally unnecessary and very problematic. I immediately uninstalled the WD backup software, might as well just use the one that comes with Windows or any of the million others out there.

It was also annoying that the latest WD software doesn't work with older WD drives, so when I had smaller, older WD drives mounted, there were two completely separate sets of WD utilities running at once. I used those utilities to update the firmware on all my drives, then uninstalled them and am the better for it.

I have some smaller seagate drives to take on the road and I like the GoFlex system a lot. But I don't really trust seagate drives, they've always been the least reliable in terms of the actual drive hardware throughout my career, which began before hard drives even existed. I mention this because the 3 TB Seagate GoFlex drives are just about the only other 3 TB USB 3.0 drives out there right now.

So far these WD's have been working fine for me. So I rate the drives 5 stars and the software 2 stars, not 1 star because heck, it probably actually works as a backup program if you installed it and suffered through the CPU cranking problem (the solution last I checked: frequent reboots). I'll never know, because I'll never install it again. But I run the drives 16 hours a day, and no problems yet.

I don't know what the guy meant who thought these drives feel "cheap." They're professionally designed and built, and solid enough for plastic enclosures. It'd be nice if they were in metal cases, sure. If that jacked the price up $100, I'd probably risk the Seagate. I'd pay $50 more for metal, though.

So now I have to decide whether to get another of these or the G-drive esata. I'm a little afraid of putting four drives on a 4-port USB 3 hub, and esata's as fast as USB 3 in real terms on this machine, per my unscientific testing. Maybe I'll get one of each. It chaps my hide, though, to pay twice as much for the same capacity in a pretty metal case with a deadended technology interface. That's more of an Apple fan club kind of move.
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on January 30, 2013
After several months of use, this drive suddenly died. I used this drive for all of my family photos (thousands), and thus, I was really stressed when it would not work anymore.

I called WD. They first ran me through a series of hoops over the phone, and "concluded" that it must be my power source. So WD sent me a six-dollar replacement power source, i.e. another plug-in. Of course, it didn't work.

I called them back. 'Okay, we'll replace your hard drive,' they said. It's under warranty. But I really just want my photographs. A new hard drive us just about $100. But I would pay much more than that for my family photos! So, after giving me an "RMA" and case number, etc., to return my defective product for a new one, WD tells me to look at their website for a list of its "partners" who can "recover" the photos of my family.

I call the one in Dallas closest to me. It will cost a minimum of a couple of hundred dollars just to look at the defective drive, and possibly upward of $600 to $1,000 to recover all of those photos. Yikes!!!

I convince myself that there must be an easier solution. There is!

Turns out that there are several smart guys on-line who've had this same problem. They figured out that its the internal controller card that often busts on these WD hard drives. The "trick" is that you cannot just use any 'ole controller card -- you MUST find the same controller card (i.e. a card with the exact same product number on it) as the one that's in your hard drive, otherwise, your data will remain encrypted, meaning that even if you regain power, you cannot even read the data if you do not have the "right" replacement controller card. If you find the "right" one, and replace it, then your hard drive will actually work again, and you can recover your photos (data, etc.).

Note that WD did not tell me any of this, even though I was ready to just about have a melt down! I quickly found the right controller card from a seller on-line (the usual suspect, think about it, you'll figure it out), and ordered it for $26.00. YES, TWENTY-SIX DOLLARS! I'm no computer or technical wizard, but I can use a screwdriver. After I used my screw driver and some common sense, I quickly opened the casing of my WD hard drive, replaced the controller card, and VIOLA! -- THE HARD DRIVE WORKED AGAIN!

I quickly backed up (recovered) my family photos from my WD Hard Drive, said a prayer, and started shopping for the next hard drive (NOT WESTERN DIGITAL) where I will be storing (and backing up) my family photos and critical documents.

THE ESSENTIAL FACT OF THIS STORY -- WESTERN DIGITAL NEVER TOLD ME HOW EASY IT REALLY IS TO JUST FIX THIS DEFECTIVE PRODUCT BY MYSELF AND RECOVER THE IRREPLACEABLE PHOTOS OF MY FAMILY! AND THE SUPPOSED "PROBLEM" THAT WD INITIALLY IDENTIFIED -- THE POWER CHORD -- WAS ACTUALLY NOT THE PROBLEM AT ALL!

I cannot think of any good reason why I would buy another WD hard drive. Even though I cannot return the defective HD not (because I opened it to replace the controller card), I now have my family photos back and I didn't have to pay hundreds, possibly thousands, of dollars to one of WD "partners" to retrieve what is already mine.

Think about it....
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on September 12, 2011
The drive can be used on my computer only if I plug it in after the computer has finished booting.

There is a compatibility problem with some computer motherboard's BIOS not playing fair with the drive.

The workaround is to disable Legacy USB support in the BIOS. Unfortunately, that means my USB keyboard will no longer function. That means I need to buy a wireless keyboard and mouse to replace my USB devices. I wanted a wireless keyboard anyway, but that may be not for all (nor is the skill set needed to modify the BIOS settings).

I finally found the solution by sending the manufacture a Help Request. To their credit, they came back with an answer very promptly. I just didn't like the answer.

Here is a section of their answer:

*****
*
If your computer is not booting while the external hard drive is connected, is because the motherboard has a similar option, which is enabled in the system BIOS.

In order to solve this issue, in the system BIOS, disable the USB Legacy Support option. Doing this will allow the PC to complete the boot process to the internal hard drive and allow you to enter Windows. If this does not work for any reason, you should boot your PC before connecting the USB drive. Once the computer is fully booted into Windows, connect the USB drive and wait for the operating system to detect the drive.

Important: Do not disable the USB Legacy Support if you are using a USB Keyboard. Doing so will prevent you from being able to use the keyboard during the booting sequence.
*
*****
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Capacity: 2 TB|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Western Digital is a reputable brand for network, external and internal computer storage. This external hard drive is being used as a backup for my office computer. Since I work in the Human Resources field, I have very personal and confidential information I do not want to store on the company's server where everyone would have access to it. With that in mind, I want to be able to backup my payroll files and employee folders in case of a system crash.

Installation could not have been any easier, just plug and play. It sits in an upright position so it does not take up too much space. Runs quietly with no knocking or loud fan sounds. The only way I know it is working is by power light on the front of the unit. I am using it in a Windows 7 64 bit OS and it only has USB 2.0 connections. Since my system still has available slots available, I purchased the Buffalo Technology DriveStation SuperSpeed USB 3.0 PCI Express 2-Port Interface Card to take advantage of the USB 3.0 super speed. Doing this will gave me transfer rates up to 5 gigabits per second compared to a USB 2.O which is about 480 migabits. That is a very noticeable difference in transfer speeds. The PCi adapter card went in easily - only took about 15 minutes to install. The card does have backwards compatibilities with USB 2.0 drives (which means you can still use USB 2.0 devices).

Once I had everything installed and booted up, all I had to do is open the WD SmartWare visual backup application and run WD backup. The files were categorized and the status screen lets you know when it is done. Once the files are all backed up, anytime I add or make changes to any file, it will instantly back up. That's all there is to it. The user-friendly interface menu makes very easy to maneuver around and change settings without worrying you are going to do something wrong.

Optional: Does come equipped with a Kensington Security Slot for the Kensington 64068F MicroSaver Notebook Lock and Security Cable. This can be used to tether and securely lock to your WD hard drive without worrying it will sprout legs and walk away. :-)

It looses a star because it does not come with any helpful documentation or physical manual. It comes with a small pull apart quick setup guide that is just pictures. I was looking at possibly getting another for a Mac computer, but it states that the drive has to be reformatted and I could not find any information on the online manual or in the quick start guide on how to do it. However, one thing I did read is that Mac computers can not be upgraded to use USB 3.0, so hoping to get super speed USB on your Mac is not an option at this time.
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