Customer Reviews: (Old Model) Toshiba 320GB Toshiba Canvio Basics 3.0 Portable Hard Drive (HDTB103XK3AA)
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on February 21, 2012
Many people have complained about the Toshiba 2.5" drives (of all capacities and price points) quickly 'dying' after a very short time. This opinion is prevalent on both Amazon and other shopping sites and even Toshiba's direct site itself.

I was in the same boat. My Canvio Basics failed to be "recognized" by my PC within 1 month. My 2-star rating reflects this.

HOWEVER, this is directed toward those who believe "all [my] valuable data is lost forever". I conjecture that 99% of the time it is not, and there is a relatively very simple & inexpensive fix.

The problem is most likely not with the drive itself but rather the 'bridge' circuitry between the drive and the USB connection. There is most likely nothing wrong with the drive itself, and thus nor is there anything wrong with your data. Such was also the case with me.

These drives, regardless of manufacturer or capacity, are essentially identical in their 'guts'. The difference is often nothing more than what you see: packaging, branding, bloatware, and other brand-specific identities. Indeed, crack open a lesser-known brand (Calvary, Fantom, etc.) and there's a good chance you will actually see Toshiba, Hitachi, Western Digital, or some other recognizable name's 'guts' inside.

Here is how to fix the problem.

1. Purchase a 2.5" SATA-to-USB enclosure. Amazon lists them for as little as $3. If you are fortunate enough to live close to a MicroCenter, they sell them for $6. Yes this is extra money and hassle, but your data is worth it, and I presume for many of you this is more convenient than dealing with returning the drive. You probably purchased this drive because it was over $6 cheaper anyway.

2. The drive casing is a 2-piece shell. Use an Exacto knife or boxcutter to gently pry/'slice' open the seam between the 2 pieces. Once you get it 'started' it will be quite easy to pop apart the rest of the fasteners.

3. From here it is simply a plug-and-play situation. Disengage ('unplug') the drive from the circuitry. Be gentle (use the wiggle method). Then 'plug' the drive into your new enclosure and, *Voila*.

There are several Youtube videos showing this as well.

Now, there are several sites/Youtube videos that claim this is not a permanent solution, due to the 'delicate balance' of the rubber bumpers in the original drive. I smell bull-manure, but only time will tell... maybe this new setup will last until the expected life of the drive, maybe it won't. Also, the $3/6 new enclosures will not support USB 3.0; you'll indeed have to shell out extra money for that. Regardless, this process will almost certainly buy you enough time to find another place for your data.

All is not lost! Hope this helps.
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on October 10, 2012
This drive worked fine for about a year, and now will no longer mount. Toshiba claims that there is a 3 Year Warranty on the product, which is clearly expressed on the box, and in the pamphlet. Well, I spent 3 hours so far trying to file a warranty claim on the product with no progress. I've called about 5 phone numbers and visited 3 websites, and I just keep getting redirected from one person to another. Nobody can help me, and they even refuse to escalate my call to a manager.

The warranty claim phone number put me on hold for about 35 minutes before I gave up, with no indication at all as to how long I would have to wait, or how many other people are ahead of me!

From my point of view, the warranty that Toshiba claims to offer on their external harddrives is total B.S. It seems that they are purposely making it impossible to file a claim their products. So frustrated and upset after this experience, I will be sure to avoid Toshiba in the future.
2828 comments| 563 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
**Update** Be sure to check the different prices on the different size hard drives. I wrote this review several years ago when the 320 GB hard drive was a good deal. At the time of writing this update you can get the 2 TB hard drive for the same price as the 1.5 TB hard drive. And now the 320 GB hard drive is completely overpriced. So be sure to check the different sizes and get the biggest hard drive you can afford. You might not need the extra space now but in the future most likely you're going to.

This is an "portable" hard drive meaning all it needs is a USB plug into your computer to transfer the data and get power from. That means you don't have to plug in an AC adapter to your wall socket. I prefer these hard drives over the kind that require an AC adapter every time. This will also work with USB 2.0 adapters the speeds for 2.0 transfers are still fast enough for most users at about a gigabyte of data every 30 to 40 seconds. At the time of writing this review to terabyte drives or the highest capacity could find for a portable hard drive. If you want to get a 3 or 4TB hard drive those are the kind that require a wall AC adapter.

This hard drive is Mac compatible just follow the steps below to format the hard drive for your Mac. If you're a Mac user setting up or erasing this 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 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 (If you want to use it with Time Machine this is the choice you need to make) as it can handle files over 4GB. 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.

I hope this helps and be sure to always have backups of your important data. Take it from somebody was lost a lot of data to hard drive failures always backup and Time Machine is so transparent if you're using a Mac you should be using Time Machine.

Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed and/or found it informative. (How can someone be really enjoy a review? I shouldn't use that term in a review because most reviews are informative but very few reviews are entertaining)
3939 comments| 452 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 27, 2012
With my original data backup drives starting to run out of room, I bought this drive to use as a backup for my iTunes music library and digital photo library. It worked immediately, right out of the box; I plugged it into my iMac's USB port, and it showed up on the desktop in a few seconds. Even formatted as it is for Windows, it would have worked fine for a data backup (music and photos), but I wanted to see if it would format correctly to use as a bootup disk for a Mac System backup drive. I was able to use Mac's Disk Utility program, and reformatted the drive in just a few minutes. The drive is working just fine, and the price is fantastic; I have just ordered another one.

Update 8/1/2012: I just saw that Amazon raised the price by $10... this was a great item at $44.99, but $54.99 is still pretty good...

Update 2/26/201: I recently got yet another one of these, a 500 GB version this time (Bought from Office Max only because I had some in-store rewards to use up), and again, I stand by everything in my original review. Excellent quality drive, GREAT price, and easy to format for use with either Windows or Macintosh.
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on November 16, 2014
Very impressive portable drive (6 months use review).

-Led indicator
-very strong cable attachment (hanging off my computer never detached)
-Great matte plastic finish (never scratches)
-Read: 96.6 MB/s Write: 93.1 MB/s (USB3 on a Macbook Air 13" 2014)
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on December 22, 2012
This an excellent drive that works well and for a great price. I purchased this to use as the external storage for my Wii U, only to find out the hard way that the drive simply cannot get enough power from the Wii U to run properly. The hard drive would shut itself off at some point and the Wii U would freeze. If you find yourself in this scenario, you will need this kind of cable: eForCity A to Micro-B USB 3.0 Y Cable, Black.

It has two USB plugs so you can plug them both into the Wii U and get the extra power you need. Hope this helps someone!
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on February 15, 2013
The drive has USB 3.0 connector, but its actual transfer speed hardly beat any USB 2.0 ones. To confirm, I connect that with a laptop with USB 3.0 adapter card, and also a brand new laptop with built-in USB 3.0 port. In both cases, I transferred 10 ~ 15 Gb data from computer to it, it all reported around 25 MB/s, which i can achieve on any USB 2.0 devices. I guess he true USB 3.0 could reach around 50 ~ 60 MB/s. Little disappointed here, since I don't really need that much speed for this one, less than 80 bucks and 1TB capacity still is a good deal, for me.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on October 1, 2013
Many customer reviews here claimed that the hard drive fails after a short time. I decided to take a chance on this product because the price was right and I figured those few people abuse their tech and take it out on the company with a bad review.

This is NOT the case!

This product was purchased in April 2013 and failed in August 2013. Within those 5 months it did not leave my house, it was only used to back up my laptop and it lived inside a thick, soft, neoprene case. I babied that thing and it still failed.

It was unclear on their site who I had to call or email to process a return. Please take the time before you buy and look for yourself. I finally ended up calling the customer service number for a different toshiba product and ignored all of the prompts until the system connected me with a human who gave me the correct number to call. After speaking to a rep at the hard drive service department they explained that I had to pay my own shipping to return the item to Toshiba for replacement. Instead of just shipping me a replacement they gave me a coupon to purchase a new one from their site.

This product is clearly defective and their customer service methods are frustrating and inconvenient. Save yourself the headaches and buy a more reliable brand with a better customer service department.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Thank you for your feedback, E.J., and I'm sorry to hear about your hard drive failure.

Unfortunately, all electronics are subject to imperfections and some will fail prematurely. While that doesn't help you in your situation, we do provide a 3 year warranty because we do believe in the reliability of our products, which the average Amazon review rating of 4-stars supports.

To clarify the return shipping cost, the dollar value of the coupon you mention covers not only the cost of a replacement drive, but also shipping and taxes. While it's intended to be used for ordering a replacement drive, you are free to use it to purchase any product or accessory available from

In answer to Julio1977's request for a phone number, you can call 800-457-7777 but I recommend using the self-serve form at

Thanks again for your review and sorry for the trouble.
on December 8, 2014
This is my second Toshiba Portable....The1st one (1TB) still working great as my back HD on an older system.I Purchased this 2TB for my new system. Attached it to my external 3.0 USB port. The computer acknowledge it right away and asks if I want to back up my system....which was my intention for buying it.(saving my 1TB Cloud storage for other things) All worked out just great with my New ASUS Desktop 32AD. Set it up to back up weekly. The 3.0 connection was pretty fast. I am satisified with this purchase. It was easy to install.
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on December 17, 2011
UPDATE: Got this drive December 6th and as of December 22nd it is dead. My review below is still sound advice. Sound advice which I failed to heed 100% and I lost a week's worth of valuable stuff because I didn't have enough layers of backup. Oy vey. I'm demoting this drive to 1-star from 5 because, solid warranty aside, this is clearly a very poor drive. DO NOT BUY. Forget USB 3.0, bring back the old USB 2.0 Toshiba Canvio that actually worked! I should have trusted the reviews but I was desperate. If only it had lasted 3 more days...

I'm traveling and my client's ol' iMac hard drive decided to go out to pasture.

I had the novel idea of ordering one of these Toshibas, having her hook it up to her computer, then use the Seagate backup drive I had for her to essentially restore her system onto the Toshiba! This way she could have a fully functioning machine while she waits for me to come back to town and do a proper hard drive swap.

So this is a weird review in that what I'm saying is: it's good enough to run your entire Mac off of, over USB, should you find yourself in a similar, unfortunate situation.

Now, caveat: you normally want these hard drives to have better ratings but desperate times called for this purchase. With Thailand having flooded, hard drive prices soared in some instances and drives that I used to get with 3-year warranties, now have 1!

You really need these hard drives to have 3-5 year warranties. They're either going to die on arrival, in the first 30 days, in the first 4 months, or after a couple years :p Lol I know. 500GB drives are the most I would personally go with in this 2.5" form factor. 1TB in this size squeezes more platters or density into a smaller size... it's just too new for my tastes (with 3.5" drives I've been happy up to 2TB but am starting to look at 3TB ratings). The new USB 3.0 feature isn't necessary for me -- I don't have any clients that can access that speed yet ... and, ironically, this new "improvement" makes me the most worried... any time they mess with something that works, you should worry... USB 2.0 works fine! But whatever, since USB 3.0 is about the little board inside this enclosure and not the hard drive, maybe they can't screw it up so much.

Here's the deal, anything important to you should be in two places -- at least. Main drive and backup. Archive and archive backup.... CD and DVD backups only last like 5 years when you burn them yourself... I mean, they may last longer but sun, temperature, time means they can't be your primary backup. If it were me, I'd have all my important stuff in 3 places! That way if one hard drive fails, then my stuff is still in two other places. What are the odds of two places going at once? I've seen it happen; I've had it happen....It's rare but sometimes you can screw up your backup drive while you're using it to recover your computer! Oh this wily universe.

So that's why you do something like have your main stuff on one drive, an active backup drive, and then you have a third drive that's in your lockbox or firesafe or whatever. It may be healthy to let things get destroyed every so often but that's not my style... 80 to 160 bones (for two) is cheap data insurance without futzing with or trusting the Cloud to CYA.

Oh, and should your drive die, just go online and find the RMA/warranty process... all these hard drive manufacturers make it fairly straightforward because, honestly, drive failures happen all the time .... 3-5 year warranties mean you get a replacement drive for the price of shipping. So worth it.
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