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236 Reviews
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261 of 264 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Quiet, compact and reliable. Plus - a tip for Mac users.
This is the third My Book drive I have bought. I have been very pleased with all of them, and am still using the (smaller capacity) one that I bought 3 years ago!

Reasons to recommend this drive:
- Quiet
The external power supply and well-ventilated design means that this drive can stay cool without a fan.
- Reliable
I have never had a...
Published on 10 July 2008 by JackJack

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Far from user friendly
The My Book Essential comes with backup applications and is pre-formatted to FAT. This affords maximum compatibility with all versions of Windows and is accessible on the Mac, however if you need to use TimeMachine you'll have to reformat (although I believe there is a work around for NTFS drives and TimeMachine).

The drive looks very unobtrusive with two blue...
Published on 7 Nov 2008 by Will


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261 of 264 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent. Quiet, compact and reliable. Plus - a tip for Mac users., 10 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
This is the third My Book drive I have bought. I have been very pleased with all of them, and am still using the (smaller capacity) one that I bought 3 years ago!

Reasons to recommend this drive:
- Quiet
The external power supply and well-ventilated design means that this drive can stay cool without a fan.
- Reliable
I have never had a problem with any of the 3 My Books that I have bought over the past 3 years.
- Small
The drives take up very little space on a bookshelf, and the external power supply is tiny.
- Stylish
I'd much rather have this thing on my desk than a bulky horizontal case. If you're going to use a drive every day, might as well have it look good!

Essential tip for Mac users:

- THIS DRIVE IS PARTITIONED FOR WINDOWS. Please excuse the capitals, but this is important and it isn't in the manual. If you want to use this disk with a Mac, the first thing you should do is repartition it.

Go to Disk Utility, click on the My Book disk, and select the "partition" tab. Create at least one partition (don't just leave it at "current"). Then click "options" and select "GUID partition table" if you have an Intel Mac, or "Apple Partition table" if you have a PPC mac. Finally, click "Apply". Then reformat the drive in HSF Extended + Journaling format.

Why bother doing this? The default MS-DOS parititioning will work, but it will be slower and you are more likely to run into errors. I honestly believe that failure to repartition the drive is the main reason that people have reported problems with using this drive on a Mac.
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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice piece of kit, 12 May 2008
By 
Hemzy (Norfolk, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
I spent a lot of time reading reviews from various sites about different makes and models of external HDD. In the end I took the plunge and went for the Western Digital 500GB model. I have to say it has been simplicity itself to get it up and running. I took the previous reviewer's advice and didn't bother with the software packages. I did use the PDF manual and found the links to the support site useful, especially when it came to looking for instructions on how to reformat the drive into NTFS; it comes pre-formatted in FAT32. The drive powers up with my PC and closes down when I log-off, it is very quiet and if it wasn't for the two LEDs on the from I wouldn't know it was operating. I'm a very happy bunny.
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great product! Just ignore the technical stuff!, 14 Jan 2008
By 
S. Hollingsworth "Steevy" (Cheshire, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
I'll make this as short as possible because this does just what it says on the tin! Stores whatever you like! The price is right and the size of it can't be described as minimal. Basically if you need extra hard drive space I would recommend it as it looks good, is relatively compact and is simple to use. It tranfers quickly too, I managed to put 80gb of stuff on it in less than an hour. The reason I only give it 4 stars is due to the software you get on it which it prompts you to install. DON'T! They're only trial versions from some random company and they don't talk in plain english, so unless you wanna buy the full version ignore the software on it. But, I love it and I'm glad I got it!
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62 of 64 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tried & Tested..., 2 May 2008
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
Well I thought I'd wait for a while until I review this Ext HDD.
It came pretty quick, the interchangeable plug isn't a problem. I think it's quite clever myself!
Setting up is a piece of cake, just plug & play. It looks stylish (which doesn't really bother me) but like what most people say, it doesn't have an on/off switch. But you can switch it off from your desktop by safely removing the USB drive. This will switch it off.
Compared to my ICE BOX 500Gb drive, it is slower in read/write speeds. I found this strange as they are both 7200RPM drives, but it definitely works slower. The ICE BOX is like lightning, and it has an on/off switch!

All round it's a good buy, and does the job of backing up all of your important data.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So far so good after 3 months., 23 April 2008
By 
M. Khimani (Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
It's been 3 months now I've had this drive. Was wary of the few negative comments fed back by a few customers, but went with the majority of reviews praising it. I've found it very valuable, easy to use, quiet and with pleasing performance for an external hard drive (beauty of USB2.0). It does go into standby mode after a period, but wakes up from this in a few seconds. I'm quite confident with it now and am looking to get another so I can build redundancy for my invaluable data. I go with the views already fed back that it's not good to move the drive around - it sits in one place where it has ample ventilation, almost out of sight. A matter I would stress is to keep your security up to date at all times - compromise there will give the key to insidious access to data. Please don't compromise there.
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218 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great external Hard Disk, 28 Jan 2008
By 
John Nunn (Warwickshire) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
A superb external HDD, the USB2 connection ensures a good transfer rate with high reliability. The Supplied MIO software is unfortunately absolutely appalling and only a trial version at that, do not install despite the recommendations in the instructions. The device is very much plug and play with no drivers needed. I have got a pair of these attached to my development PC and they are great for storing old project data, iso images, unused virtual hard disk files and pictures. I would not recommend using this to run applications or virtual machines from as the performance is not good enough, but it should help free some static storage from your internal HDD's.
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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Product - Does what you expect, 31 Mar 2008
By 
H. Sahebdin "Hakz" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
I bought one of these after reading the reviews on Amazon and I am very pleased with my purchase. As mentioned in one of the other reviews, try not to complicate yourselve using the software provided.

Just take the drive out of the box, plug adaptor into the socket at one end and plug usb into your computer at the other and its ready to use!

Your files and folders can simply be dragged, copy, cut and pasted into the drive which you will see as an extra drive in 'My Computer'. Files can even be opened within the drive (films, music, pictures e.t.c.)

Also no need to turn the Computer on or off, as the device automatically turns on when computer is on and automatically turns off when you turn the computer off.

All in All, great device...Definately Recommended!!!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worked very well and easily !!, 4 Oct 2008
By 
William J. D. Johnstone (Edinburgh, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
Not being very computer literate, I made this first purchase of an external drive with some trepidation.

However it worked like a dream straight out of the box. Plugged it in the USB slot,switched power on and my Vista SP1 laptop recognised it immediately.

As recommended in previous reviews, immediately re-formatted the default FAT32 of the new drive to the NTFS of my laptop. The advantage of doing so before the drive has been used is that "Quick Format" can be used. This took seconds and was so easy I had to re-check that it had actually been done.

Later I successfully created a full back up of my entire laptop on the new external drive using Acronis True Image Home. The 500GB size means plenty space for future back ups etc.

I am very pleased with the Western Digital My Book 500GB and would recommend it to others.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple, 12 Jun 2008
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
This product is great so far! I haven't had it for very long so I can't know whether it's going to break in 3 months time as another reviewer has said. I read that but still bought it anyway and it's been really useful! I brought it because I had an 80GB ipod and my laptop only has an 80GB harddrive so I could never fill my ipod up, really glad I brought this though as it stores soooo much and it worth the money!

I wouldn't use the software that comes with it, just copy everything across, it doesn't take too long and it's really easy to do.

The only reason I'm not giving it 5 stars is because I haven't had it long enough to get a really good idea of the product. I feel confident that it'll work for ages though!
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 April 2008
This review is from: Western Digital My Book Essential 500GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive (Personal Computers)
I found the reviews of this drive useful so thought i'd add my own to help other people in the future.

I bought it about a month ago to back up my work and home computers and to allow me to easily transfer files onto the home desktop after reinstalling xp.

It worked straight away; XP installed drivers for it as soon as it was plugged in, so no need to use any of the software that comes with it.

Although not portable I did take it to work to make a back up copy of my hard drive. Transfer of 19gb took about 15-20minutes. I would not make a habit of moving the drive about for the afformentioned reasons.

The plug I got with it is kak. It has interchangable pins for seperate countries, I managed to snap the clip on the GB 3 pin, so have had to tape the the adaptor to the plug body with electrical tape. Not a problem, but this should not have been an issue.

Since then it has been great, although the real test will be time.
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