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Showing 1-10 of 3,718 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 4,079 reviews
on March 15, 2011
This drive is fabulous! It is a great value, and extremely roomy.
However, there is one major issue that I have noticed that may throw off non-techies (and maybe even some techies).
Sometimes, when the drive is plugged in, the computer will not recognize it and Windows will install the WRONG DRIVER for it. Whenever this happens, you will not be able to access any of your information.

Fortunately, the SOLUTION to this issue is simple; plug in the USB cable of the drive BEFORE plugging in the power. I don't know why it has to be done in this order, but I've noticed if the power is plugged in first, the drive will not be recognized by the computer as a Western Digital drive!

Additionally, for people who do not want to leave their hard drive plugged into the computer all the time, you may have noticed that there is no "safely eject" option for the drive. An alternative to this is to go to the Western Digital site, and find the software for "WD Spindown or Stop Utility." That way, whenever the hard drive is plugged into your computer, and you want to unplug it, you can use the utility to safely eject it.

I hope this review helps. Please rank it as "helpful" so that others can see the "solution" to the drive recognition issue.
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on May 2, 2010
The Western Digital WD Elements is probably most notable for what it doesn't have:

1) It doesn't have any clever "look at me" flasing/glowing/blinking lights. One tiny light in the back will confirm it is on. But you won't need to check because "it just works".

2) It doesn't have any annoying, auto-loading, "I know better" software. There are lots of great backup programs available (freeware, shareware and built into most operating systems). And, of course, you can always just drag-and-drop files right onto the drive.

3) It doesn't get hot. Heat is a killer for electronics so that is even more important than you might think.

4) It doesn't make ANY sound.

5) It doesn't take up much space. It is smaller and more compact than any other external drive that I have purchased.

6) It doen't have any goofy stands or attachments. It is squared on all sides except the back so you can position it any way you want to.

7) And finally, it doesn't cost much. Considering drive space for cost this is the best value I have ever gotten on a drive.

For reference I have purchased two Seagate Freeagent drives, a 1 TB MyBook and have put several old drives into external drive enclosures. All of them are still working. I also have passing experience with several others from work and associates -- I like the WD Elements solution the best!
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on December 2, 2009
I purchased the 1tb Elements (WDBAAU0010HBK-NESN) for use with a Dish DVR 622.

Installation was was truly "plug and play". I simply took it out of the box, plugged it in, and it was immediately recognized by the DVR. I have since transferred about 200gb of content to/from it, and have watched content directly from the drive. So far, it is working perfectly. It automatically spins down after a few minutes of non-use, as well as when the DVR is powered off. It also spins back up automatically (less than 10 seconds) when the DVR accesses it.

One thing some people might not like: The case is designed to sit flat (as pictured), not on its side. There are four small non-skid pads on the bottom corners, but none on either side. There is no indication on the box, in the documentation, or on Western Digital's web site as to whether the drive will work properly on edge. As a general rule, WD drives are designed to operate sideways or even upside down (any X,Y,Z orientation), so this one probably will too -- but you'll need to provide your own non-skid pads.

Several similar Western Digital drives, such as the late model "My Book" series, now include a firmware-based CD-partition that is difficult to remove, and can cause compatibility issues with some devices. That partition contains backup software and utilities that are of questionable value in any case, and of absolutely no value when using the drive with a non-computer device (like the Dish DVR). The Elements -- at least at time of this review -- doesn't include any of that junk. (Note: WD does have a downloadable utility to remove the partition from the other drives, but if you don't want that junk then save yourself the time/trouble and just buy the Elements drive.)

*** UPDATE 8-24-2013 ***
Still using this WD Elements 1TB on my Dish DVR-622. I purchased in in December 2009, so it has been connected 24x7, getting regular usage for archiving and watching programs, for 45 months now! Still working perfectly.

*** UPDATE 11-10-2014 ***
Well, it has been another year -- and this WD Elements 1TB drive just keeps humming along. Still connected to my DVR-622, still connected 24x7 (note: It does correctly "spin down" when not in use and "spin up" when accessed), and still working perfectly!
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on June 2, 2010
Just received mine and it works with my HP LapTop under XP but although the drive shows up in Windows 7 you can't do anything with it. No Drive letter, no format, no nothing - device is working properly - you just can't use it. When you attempt to assign a drive letter in Disk Manager it complains that it needs a refresh which doesn't help.

After 5 or 6 Emails back and forth with WD they informed me to contact either my PC manufacturer or Microsoft to resolve the issue. After scouring the internet seems there are LOTS of people with this exact same problem under Windows 7 Pro 64 bit edition. (Most seem to have an NVidia video card as well.) Here's the fix (no thanks to WD):

1. Open Device Manager
2. Locate the Drive
3. Right Click - Uninstall
4. Unplug drive USB Cable and plug it back in

Transfers files at around 28 MB/sec. Other than this start up issue so far it's made a great back up drive.
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VINE VOICEon December 16, 2009
I bought 3 of these drives for $99 each around Black Friday. The value cannot be beat and I always prefer Western Digital due to their Advance Replacement policy.
One of the drives had issues. I always check all new drives I buy with the Western Digital Life Diagnostics program which is available for free from Western Digital. All drives passed the test without issues. The test will take at least 12 hours to complete on such a large drive. One of the drives was dropping the transfer rate after copying 500 GB to it for no reason and I had to replace it. What is really disappointing is that the drive passed the test so I have no confidence in the diagnostic program anymore.

The moment you receive the drive check your warranty online at the Western Digital website. The warranty for this model is only 1 year which I consider absolutely insufficient for a drive. The bad thing about it is that Western Digital starts counting from the manufacturing date and by the time you get it, the warranty left is only 9-10 months which is ridiculous. They will update the warranty to 1 year after the purchase date but you will have to send them the receipt and be patient. It took them 2 weeks to respond to an online request. They also have an option to extend the warranty for another 2 years for $25 per drive. I might consider that....
I recommend this drive because the size, price and ease of use. It doesn't have any of the limitations of the fancier Western Digital drives. It is just a big, cheap external hard drive.

Update - September 16 2010

Today I bought another one and when cheking the warranty it was shorter by 6 months. I went through my regular procedure to write to WD Customer support when I realized they had a link that was addressing the issue. Now you can register the drive and it will update the warranty automatically. It even gives you 1 month more ! Also, the registration page gives information about warranty upgrades. You can upgrade this drive from 1 year to 3 years for $25. Not bad considering that if it dies after the first year (and all do after they are out of warranty) it is just a paperweight.

My advices to everybody that buy WD drives are:

1. Check your warranty ASAP.
2. Register the drive to get it updated.
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on January 11, 2010
This is a great external hard drive for expanding your digital storage capacity. I was in need for added storage and wanted to go for the 2TB WD Elements External Hard Drive. I wasn't really happy with the prices I was seeing for the 2TB hard drive, and that is when I decided to check up on the 1.5TB drives. WOW! I was amazed at the price Amazon was offering these drives and I got two of them. Yes, two! (My work requires that kind of storage space)
I got 3TB worth of storage for the price of a 2TB External hard drive!

That said, let us talk about the performance of these drives -

1) Build and form factor - Nice sleek looking enclosures. All black, the sides are fingerprint magnets with a glossy finish. The top and bottom panels have a matte finish. Looks matter to me, even if it just an external drive. The microUSB and AC sockets are closely spaced with a small white indicator light besides them. All in all very compact, sleek, and aesthetically pleasing device.
2) Performance - I am getting constantly good speeds on these drives. Reads at 30MB/s and writes at about 24MB/s, which is good and fast enough for my needs.

As always, users have to be careful with all hard drives, internal or external. I am handling my drives with the utmost care. I don't want to lose any important data.

Finally, this drive is a complete value for money purchase. I say go for it if you are out looking for a large capacity external hard drive.
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on April 6, 2011
UPDATE 04/11/2011:
PROCESS OF RMA:
I made an Advanced RMA from Western Digital Website on Wednesday and received a "Recertified" product on Friday. That was really quick so I give them credit where it's due. However, since it was an Advanced RMA[means they ship product before receiving the damaged one], they kept a hold on my credit card for "market value" of the "Recertified Drive". They hold on $110 Plus Tax that looked a little bit more considering even the newer ones are available for price under $100.
However, I would encourage any one who has to return theirs for a replacement to go for Advanced RMA route. It will get u a drive within 2 days and also a "Certified Box" that u can use to return the damaged drive!!!

DRIVE CONDITION:
As far as the condition of the drive is concerned, it has "Recertified" printed at the back where the S/No is written. The hard drive came in sealed plastic[even the original one didnt come in sealed plastic lol] and from appearances, it looks exactly a new one and u can only tell it is a recertified one after viewing the label. So, I am impressed with the recertified product.

COMPONENTS I RECEIVED:
Hard Drive, Power Adapter and USB Cable[That's a bonus since they only want u to return hard drive and power adapter. So, thank u WD]

PERFORMANCE:
I have transferred 250 GB of data to this drive on Friday night. I used free version of TerraCopy and the copy process looked faster and there were no lags what so ever. So, again the drive looks good as of now. Again, I thanks WD for this.

WILL I PURCHASE ANOTHER WD ?
Probably not. Just because of the reliability and the fact that I may end up with a recertified product barely after fewer months is non-convincing. Plus, the stance of WD as far as Data recovery is concerned is not convincing.

WHAT WILL BE MY NEXT HDD?
I am in search of another external HDD and based upon reviews so far, I think whatever i purchase it's a loss/loss deal. Almost all external HDDs have bad reviews. What has happened to the manufacturers? I found "experts" praising LaCie and yesterday I searched for them and found "user" reviews about both the product and support "horrible". I have an extremely great Seagate FreeAgent Desktop that I purchased in June 2008 but that model is no more available and the so called "newer" models have horrible reviews. I have Toshiba Canvio Plus but I am not happy with its speed. Its the slowest among all the drives I ave[though it is also USB 2.0]. I have seen iOmega's reviews to be second to WD. May be I take a chance for IOmega since SSDs are right now out of my price range. If someone can suggest a good drive, it will be appreciated :)

ORIGINAL REVIEW:

[...]NOTE: If the review looks too lenghty, just read MY ADVICE portion[...]

I purchased this hard drive because of enormous number of +ve reviews. The first one that arrived kept hanging during data transfer, kept connecting/disconnecting from PC and I had to replace it[thanks amazon][but my mistake i overlooked the unanimous complaints of FAILED HDD AFTER FEW MONTHS even after this first drive's strange behavior]

The product in appearance is very elegant. Looks a black piece of slab that I really loved. There is no noise of any kind and heat emission is also excellent[very low heat print]

However, this drive is not for real life usage. It's as unreliable as any thing can be. I know hard drives tend to fail however, the first one I received started showing that sign just within few days of usage and the replacement drive died on me after 5 months :(

I had 1.5 TB of Data being stored on this drive. I was willing to format these drives and to re-arrange my data and memories[marriage pic/family videos etc.]. The data I copied to this drive was from following hard drives:
500 GB Seagate FreeAgent
500 GB Toshiba Canvio Plus
320 GB WD Passport [Also showing signs of Death]
Backup of internal HDD of 3 laptops[small footprints]

I don't trust hard drives and that's the reason I was willing to format other drives one at a time and then copying back its data. My luck or bad luck, I didn't get change to format and clean other drives and this drive worked flawlessly and kept my happy so much that I decided to format others simultaneously :(

past weekend, I formatted all the other drives[to get a fresh start for them] and I was comfortable that I had all my data on this drive. But, [proving worst things might happen at worst possible time] this drive suddenly stopped showing on my Laptop. I was extremely worried but thought it might be a bad USB cable or may be my laptop needs a restart. After restarting the laptop, I received a notification that an External USB Drive is being unplugged from Laptop. The Drive was placed on a sound position from Day 1 and there was no movement of any kind. I thought it might be b/c of a poor USB Cable[USB Cables tend to die easily]. So, I change the cable. But, nopes. Nothing happened. I then again restarted my system and the drive seemed to be detected by the system[the last time] but it gave an "Initialization Error" message and forced me to "Initialize" the Drive. Since I have a data recovery software from Seagate that works darn good[but only on drives that are detected by system], I selected "Initialize" and then the system gave me "I/O Initialization Error" and the drive gone from My Computer, Computer Management and Device Manager.

I tried to connect the hard drive to my other 3 laptops[Toshiba A305-S6905, Dell XPS 15, Dell Latitude D830] but none of them detected it.
The strange thing was the fact that the drive was powered on but the White Indicator Light was "Constantly Blinking". There was NO CLICK OF DEATH SOUND. So, I hoped it might be a problem with usb connection/circuitry within the drive.

I contacted Western Digital and asked them if they can fix my drive. They refused and told me they can only "replace" it with "a recertified one" and that's it. They also informed me "It's not recommended to attempt data recovery by going to third party b/c it may violate the warranty". Since I still assume the hard drive's problem is not the BAD MEDIA but a BAD CONNECTOR, I insisted them to let me send it to them and they can "fix" it. They refused. THANK U VERY MUCH WD

Just ended up creating an Advanced RMA and am now waiting for a replacement drive. I am not happy b/c now I have to grab all my stuff again and perhaps some of them is lost forever[my marriage pic/ family pic etc.]. I bade the worst mistake of relying on it while formatting other drives.

MY ADVICE:
Even if you are lucky enough to get a good piece, don't trust on it. Have some other drive too and keep ur data on at least 2 locations[I had them on 3 but i formatted 2 of them to make clean non-defragmented copies and that was my mistake]. Also, do check the "Limited Warranty Time period". WD gives only 1 year that can explain "internal" quality of their product and how much they trust on its "RELIABILITY".
Also, do check other 1 and 2 star reviews. I made a mistake to overlook them versus tons of 5 star reviews but those reviews are CORRECT. You will find most of them being about "FAILED IN 3/4/5 MONTHS" that speaks about the general pattern with this drive. This is definitely a SKIN DEEP BEAUTY and that's it.

My complain to the company:
Have some ethics. Customers trusted your product and you should have ethical liability to at least give them [even a charged one] an option to recover their data or at least try to fix their hard drives if it has only cosmetic issues[AGAIN SEE I SUSPECT IT IS A BAD CIRCUITRY PROBLEM AND NOT A BAD MEDIA SINCE I AM NOT HEARING ANY CLICK OF DEATH SOUND]. This will be a good will gesture for those who might have lost a lot just b/c they trusted your BRAND
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I have several of these now, and I've been using them to store my media collection (music, TV shows, movies) for streaming inside my house. They are plugged into a USB hub and then directly into my Mac. Despite the USB 2.0 standard, I'll say that through Homeshare and iTunes, I've not had any issues streaming content from these drives. Setup was very easy (really, just needed to plug it in) and OS X took care of the rest. I deleted the "utilities" that were on the disk since I'm only interested in storage, not anything fancy.

It's a good drive that has worked well for me over the years. I'm very satisfied with this product...it hasn't failed me yet, and this is over a period of several years. A good drive for what I'm using it for.
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on December 12, 2010
Great hard drive! Small, quite, easy to reformat for MAC. Copied these directions from another review. Followed instructions and works perfectly.

INSTALLING THE HARD DRIVE (MAC & PC)
1. Plug one end of power cord to WD hard drive and the other end into an outlet.
2. Plug one end of USB to WD hard drive and the other end to the computer.
3. You will see the Western Digital hard drive on the desktop called "Elements."

Note: you can double click the drive to open it but MAC users can not transfer files to the drive unless it is formatted for the MAC.

FORMATTING DRIVE FOR THE MAC
1. From the Applications folder select: Utilities, Disk Utilities.
2. Select (on left side): 2 TB WD Ext HDD 1021 Media
3. Select (on right side): partition tab
4. Select (under Volume Scheme): Partition 1
5. (Optionally): Give the drive a NAME under Volume Information
6. Click: OPTIONS
7. Click: GUID Partition Table
8. Click: OK
9. Click: Apply
10. Click: Partition

TIME MACHINE (for backing up system)
1. From the Apple (top left corner) select: System Preferences
2. Under System select: Time Machine
3. Click the LOCK icon to make changes (need admin password)
4. Click: OK (after entering password)
5. Click: Select Disk
6. Click: "the NAME you gave your new drive" (step 5 above)
7. Click: Use for Backup
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on December 13, 2016
Have had this hdd for almost 5 years. I keep it stored in an appropriate place when not using it, and only plug it in to transfer files. It has held up perfectly over the years so far. It's pretty compact, and the design makes it easy to handle (I am TERRIFIED of dropping storage media, since all of my memories are on this thing). Transfer speed seems pretty fast, though I really have little to compare it to except for USB sticks. Considering buying a new one soon and using this as a backup drive, simply due to its age and my paranoia.

The only thing that worries me about this is a lack of a fan and vent. I'm certainly no expert on removable storage media, but it has gotten warm a few times when transferring very large amounts of data (200+ GB).
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