FINAL UPDATE: DIED COMPLETELY. RIP MAY 2011. I tried freezing the drive overnight. I could boot it up temporarily but couldn't retrieve any files stored on the drive. My WD is toast, sad to say... What follows is a previous update and my original review. I've since replaced this WD with a new Seagate GoFlex 1 Terabyte Ultra Portable hard drive. So far, I'm quite happy with my new Seagate.
Recommend this product?
UPDATE: One year later, My Book is now acting very erratically. While my data still seems to be stored there, the connection between My Book and my computer takes a long time to establish. The Backup software is sending error messages that fiiles are not backed up correctly. Also, I hear the drive motor access cycle back and forth, instead of connect smoothly as it used to do. Also, when I connect My Book to my computer, I receive a message from the operating system that it needs to scan and fix File System Errors and Bad Sectors. All these things are adding up to me completly reversing my rating for this external disk drive. Feel free to read the rest of my review, but I'm no longer recommending this Western Digital product. I plan to buy another one and attempt to transfer everything from this product!
Original Review: Last year, my husband went out and bought this Western Digital 500 MB capacity external hard drive on his own. That's right ~ he neglected to ask me, the computer nerd of the family, which one he should buy. He trusted his instinct and not only bought this storage device, he installed it himself! Only a few months later did he sheepishly mention that for some reason, his backup drive had stopped backing up his laptop.
When my husband bugged me to fix his backup drive, I began investigating his rogue purchase and learning about the features of this new external storage device. I experimented with it, scheming that not only would I find out what was going wrong with DH's backup, but also that I could put his device to work for my own glorious purposes!
Thus began my affair with the Western Digital (WD) My Book Home Edition Hard Drive. Conveniently, at the time I began using this hard drive, I was busy creating a heartwarming DVD photo and video slideshow for my son's Bar Mitzvah using Adobe Premiere Elements software. My Gateway's 80 GB hard drive was quickly running out of space, and I needed a place to create and store WMV files so my computer wouldn't crash during processing. I connected WD MY BOOK to my computer via USB port ~ it was as simple as that. Immediately, my computer recognized the hard drive and worked exactly like my internal hard drive, except for a new drive letter: G. I was able to complete my slideshow presentation, thanks to an additional 465 Gigabytes storage. (It's a minor inconvenience that a 500 GB hard drive has only 465 GB available storage, which is a mathematical paradox based on the decimal system vs. the value of a kilobyte; read the comments for further explanation).
File Copying Experience: After successfully storing my videos on the drive, I decided to clear off space on my hard drive by moving my large files to the external drive for safekeeping. I dragged my entire MY PICTURES directory over to the WD drive. The transfer of 7.71 gigabytes of digital photos and videos took a at least an hour to transfer over, making me somewhat nervous during the copy process. After the copy process was complete, I explored the hard drive to check on my files before I deleted anything off my hard drive. Later that morning, I had some funny problems with the WD Drive, in which some of the copied files seemed to have vanished. Then, all of a sudden, the external drive froze completely, leading me to panic! It seems there had been some confusion with a few hidden files that hadn't transferred over during the copy, and this caused the drive to malfunction. Luckily, I shut down my computer and restarted it, making sure to unplug the external drive until after my computer booted up. When the drive was reconnected, everything functioned perfectly and my data was intact. Phew!
iTUNES Library: I've also moved my iPOD music, video and podcast files over to MY BOOK. This didn't work smoothly at first, until I reconfigured iTUNES to recognize the new library location and sync up my iPOD to the external drive. However, now my new music and podcasts get downloaded directly to the WD drive. I need to remember to connect the WD Drive before starting up iTUNES, though. If I forget to make the connection, my iTUNES goes a little nuts and puts ??s next to all my files!
** One annoying aspect of the external hard disk is that you must unplug it when you turn on or reboot your computer. Otherwise, my Windows XP will not start!
Western Digital My Book Home Edition has some features that make it a safe and effective storage device. First of all, it has a good ventilation system that allows it to remain cool, thereby safeguarding your data. Second, it's fairly quick, although not the speediest among newer drives. According to Western Digital, it maxes out at 480 megabits (Mbps) per second (see specs below). Finally, it features an eco-friendly standby mode after 10 minutes of inactivity. The drive is a pretty quiet office partner ~ I hear its fan humming steadily but unobtrusively on my desk. I can always see if it's plugged in and ready to go by watching the lighted status monitor on the side. The status light is a long oval which halfway lit during standby mode, and flashes sideways during copy and access.
Backup Software Ease of Use: Finally, there was the issue of my husband's backup problem. I tackled this by setting up my own hard drive backup, using the Western Digital Anywhere Backup software that came with the hard drive. After loading the software, I noticed that the version that came with my hard drive required an access code, which I didn't possess. So, I went to Western Digital's website and searched for the software access code. I was instructed to install a newer version of the backup software, which can be downloaded from their website (support.wdc.com). After reinstalling the latest backup software on my PC, I was overjoyed that the program started backing up all my files onto the external drive. I even received a status report telling me that all files were backed up successfully.
What I like about the backup program is that it continues to work in the background when new files are saved to my drive, even if MY BOOK isn't connected. Then, when I reconnect the Western Digital hard drive, the files are copied automatically and I receive an "all clear" message. My success with Western Digital Anywhere Backup gave me courage to reinstall the software on my husband's laptop, and solve his backup problem, too. Now, my sweetie loves me even more, and I feel confident that nothing will ever come between us or our computers anymore!
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Storage Capacity: 500GB (465 GB in reality)
Rotational Speed: 7200 rpm Data Transfer Rate
Data Transfer Rates:
300MBps External Maximum
External SATA / 480 Mbps External Maximum
USB 2.0 / 400 Mbps External Maximum
FireWire 400 Mbps
Interfaces/Ports: 7-pin Serial ATA/ 300 External SATA / 6-pin IEEE 1394a FireWire
Western Digital Warranty: 3 years
Dimensions: Height: 5 in. Weight: 4 lbs Length: 8 in. Width: 7 in. **
** The unit fits nicely on my desk and doesn't take up too much space. Just be careful not to block the vents. Very portable, but for safekeeping we try to keep it off the floor so it doesn't get stepped on or knocked over.
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