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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all as bad as the negative reviews said!
A month agao I was about to purchase this newer version drive here on Amazon, having already purchased the larger WD 1TB Elements some time ago... but seeing so many negative comments, I refrained!
However, some of the latest Positive comments made me think twice, and by that time, I seen this drive on sale in my local Curry's store for 49.99, and took the plunge,...
Published on 15 Nov 2010 by Mr. John Adams

versus
220 of 226 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Look the at previous generation models first before you buy this
Being a long time fan of Western Digital drives this was my first choice when purchasing a new portable drive.
Having received it I'm returning it for the previous 500GB model.

Pros:
- Smaller size than previous models
- USB cable uses new micro USB connector for the drive. It is not a proprietary connector.
This is the format that will be...
Published on 15 Oct 2009 by R. Rawstron


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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not at all as bad as the negative reviews said!, 15 Nov 2010
By 
Mr. John Adams (Aberdeen) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
A month agao I was about to purchase this newer version drive here on Amazon, having already purchased the larger WD 1TB Elements some time ago... but seeing so many negative comments, I refrained!
However, some of the latest Positive comments made me think twice, and by that time, I seen this drive on sale in my local Curry's store for 49.99, and took the plunge, after opening the box to see if the USB lead was indeed loose as suggested.

The lead on the one I purchased is indeed not the newer ones that have the "Retaining Lugs" on the Micro usb end of the lead that hold the lead more firmly in place, also as suggested, so I tried plugging in and out several times in the shop to see if it was loose..... Nope! It held very well when you simply push the lead in FULLY!

I took the Drive home and plugged into my Vista PC, and immediately the "Found new Harware wizard" appeared asking if I wanted to instal the "Software"
I declined, knowing full well that I would have no need whatsoever for this software, and I then clicked on the "NO-Dont ask me again" icon, and was then presented with the open drive.

Within that drive you have several folders.... more or less pertaining to the included "Smartware Software" and one folder containing the manual - in several languages!
I read the manual and then copied that onto my PC for further use, and I then deleted everything else.

The Manual will tell you that if you dont instal the included SES Driver, then everytime you unplug and plug back in the drive, you will always be greeted with the "Found New Hardware Wizard"... I can report that I never installed that driver, and have unplugged my drive several times now and that wizard has not re-apeared!

If you want to ensure the drive has no trace whatsoever of any of the included software, then you can easily Delete the entire drive.... and here is the instructions to do that. --- You wont find these instructions in the manual, I know about computers so knew to do this.

Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disc Management.
You will now see the actual hard drives in/on your system.

Right mouse Click on the very bottom section > My Passport (D;) and then select 'Delete Volume' You should then Delete that Volume, and Re-Name it to whatever you want, and assign it another Drive letter = My New Hard Drive (G;)
This will now delete all unwanted 3rd party software etc, and any boot sectors.

Should you ever wish to use that software in the future, you can follow the link within the manual to re-instate the drive back to original by downloading the software from WD direct! - But remember to copy that manual onto your PC first, before you delete from the drive of course:-)

For those that want this software, its great... For those that dont, then just follow that instructions above, and thereafter just Drag and Drop or Copy and paste whatever items you want put onto the drive.

This drive works just as good as my other drive, with the added bonus that I dont have to plug it into the electric.
It's very small, and very sleek, and very light... the USB lead is short - approx 440mm - 16", but exactly how far away do you need it to be?
I dont Bang the table its on, so cant comment on the drive dismounting when thats done... but I would expect it to if I did that anyway :-)

For those unsure of the actual Drive Capacity --- Its 465GB and NOT 500GB ---- its too nerdy to explain fully, but in general, when looking at Actual Drive Storage, you simply multiply the appropriate ratio to that which the manufacturers use =

Kilobyte - 0.9765625

Megabyte - 0.9536743

Gigabyte - 0.9313226

Terabyte - 0.9094947

Petabyte - 0.8881784

For GB's use the ratio 0.9313226 > 500GB multiplied by 0.9313226 = 465.6613 Gbytes, or 465gb ... not 500GB as advertised
For TB's use the ratio 0.9094947 > 2 TB multiplied by 0.9094947 = 1.8189894 Tbytes, or 1.819 ... not 2 TB as advertised

I have already highly recomended this drive to friends and family, so discount the negatives here, and buy with confidence :-)
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220 of 226 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Look the at previous generation models first before you buy this, 15 Oct 2009
By 
R. Rawstron (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
Being a long time fan of Western Digital drives this was my first choice when purchasing a new portable drive.
Having received it I'm returning it for the previous 500GB model.

Pros:
- Smaller size than previous models
- USB cable uses new micro USB connector for the drive. It is not a proprietary connector.
This is the format that will be used in future for European cellphone chargers.

Cons:
- USB cable uses new micro USB connector for the drive meaning you need a second different cable if you have any older portable drives which use the mini USB connector.
- Micro USB connector feels loose and likely to disconnect when bumped.
- WD SmartWare software is built into the firmware of the drive and works by creating a virtual cd drive to mount a cd image. It can not be removed, only disabled. Note you have to disable it per machine you use it on.

The biggest gripe is about the software. Western Digital have tried add value by including it however the manner in which they have done it stops the drive from being a bog standard drive and makes it frustrating when using it over multiple computers and non-Windows computers. Previous models have included software but allowed you to format the drive you can get rid of it - not so with this model.
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130 of 134 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 20 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
I was delighted with my old model WD My Passport, so when I needed another USB drive I naturally went for this one.

It is even smaller than the previous model and looks good, BUT... It uses a micro USB plug rather than the earlier mini USB and it fits very loosely with a lot of lateral movement. The slightest movement on the cable will cause the connection to be broken resulting in read/write errors and cable can also just fall out. Other micro USB cables that I've seen have small grips that give a firm connection, but this doesn't have any form of grip. I find it unbelievable that this could get through WD quality control.

The emulated CD which has the lock utility was also unexpected and it needs drivers to be installed from there for the main drive to be seen on my Vista machine. This is also a pain as you need to install the drivers on any machine to be able to use it.

If the cable problem was fixed I'd probably give it four stars. Micro USB cables are not so readily available.
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90 of 93 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Returned after less than a month, 30 Oct 2009
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
Had great expectations after purchasing this drive, but the loose cable connector and the very short cable were probably just the beginning of my disappointment. Then "USB drive not recognised" error messages started appearing intermittently after plugging into any PC, and would only work after 2nd/3rd attempt. I was forced to return the drive when I/O error messages started occuring and it became virtually unusable. I think all the faults stem from the unstable and loose connection b/w the cable and the drive and I dread this becoming the "standard" for all USB mobile devices as being reported! Most other reviews have not been complimentary either and it's a shame that I too cannot recommend anyone buying this.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite Disappointing, 27 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
I bought this because of the hyped security feature and size.

Plus
-Small size

Minuses
-The USB connection is so loose even a bump on the table severs the connection
-The actual size is 465GB, where did the rest go?
-The smartwave software is a real nuisance, keeps getting in the way during file transfer. I had to disable to before I could save any data on the drive.
-When transfering large volume of data to the drive, transfers suddenly stop, making the whole operation rather tiresome.

I wouldn't recommend this product. It needs to be redesigned.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE OF NEW WD DRIVES!!, 9 July 2010
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
Beware of the new My Passport WD Hard Drives (2009 onwards). After happily using WD hard drives for years, I will never buy from them again. These are the reasons why:

1. They have changed the mini USB connection to micro USB. Is thinner and a lot WEAKER and if you loose the cable you will not be able to reuse any of the cables you may have around from other electronic equipment. This new connection has not proven advantages and is harder to find replacements...

2. There is a partition with WD bloatware that you will not be able to erase. This means that every time you plug your hard drive, an emulated CD will appear and the annoying WD software starts, even if you don't want to. This is annoying if you don't use their software and slows down the time from connecting your drive to accessing your data. Why do they bully people into using their software? Is this even legal?.

3. The internal hard drive does not have the standard SATA connection. This means that if you want to use the My Passport hard drive to upgrade your laptops internal HDD it will not work. It also means that you could not use the enclosure to connect other hard drives.

4. They are very unreliable. Mine died after 2 weeks. The replacement they sent was tougher and doubled that... 4 whole weeks!! 2 dead hard drives in less than 2 months. This is not just bad luck. Coogle it.
I think the hard drive itself is not bad but the connection and enclosure may be what is going wrong. The problem is that as it is not a standard SATA, you can not just take the drive out, plug it into another enclosure, recover your data and send the drive back for replacement. IT IT FAILS, YOUR DATA IS GONE, even if the drive itself is still finctional. You just can get the data unless if you want to pay an expensive data recovery service which WD guarantee wont cover.

5. Is more expensive than other brands with out absolutely no advantage (other than it looks cooler and is 5 mm shorter...)

For those reasons, Western Digital have lost another customer. The next replacement I will receive, I will sell it on Ebay. Apologies to whoever may buy it...

Really, think twice before buying it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Biggest gripes, 22 Oct 2009
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
* The loose cable! Why have they used a "non-standard" connector for this drive? Tends to come loose anyway.
* Resource hogging software! Why does it need to use so much memory to run. Always ranks in Top3 for memory usage in Windows Processes.
Otherwise, great in terms of portability for the drive capacity.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Great, BUT...., 7 Jun 2010
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
I own a few MyBook products from WD and was always happy with the quality. So when it came to buyinga lightweight solution for my Macbook Pro, which i can take on my travels, this was my very first choice. I regret it now.
While it does exactly what it says on the tin (and the specially MAC formatted version saves you time from reformatting the harddrive), the quality of the Micro USB Connection is very poor. Micro USB connector feels loose and comes loose (and disconnects) as soon as the cable even moves a few millimeters. This happens so often that i actually used black scotch tape to stop the cable to move. It still does!!! I would never buy this product again and would recommend anybody considering this product to look at alternatives. It is not worth the hassle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cable for WD Passport, 28 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
I had read the reviews before buying this about the poor cable it was supplied with and how easily it comes out when it is bumped or moved. I thought the same when I got it but my mum had a go and she saw that you actually have to insert it upwards at an angle and then it slots in completely, very firmly and does not move at all. Just thought I would post this for any other frustrated users as it is not at all obvious and takes a while to get used to the angle and a lot of people seem to be having troubles. Btw I didn't just force it - look at the clips on the lead and you can see that it has to go in like that to fully go in. I am also very impressed with the hard drive - nice having one that size that does not require an external power source. Nice and small as well.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid like the plague, 18 Oct 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Western Digital My Passport Essential 500GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive - Black (Personal Computers)
As mentioned by other reviewers this drive has WD SmartWare built into the firmware of the drive. There is no way to remove this software, the only option you have is to disable it from the operating system on each machine you use it on. WD needs to supply a method of removing this virus / trojan vector from their drives.
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