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4.1 out of 5 stars912
4.1 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 19 October 2011
I bought this a year ago, and have waited a while to review it because there had been a number of reported early-life failures in various forums for disks in this family. I'm pleased to say that mine is still functioning.
It is a basic, mains-powered (so it will use another socket of your surge-protected extension lead!) high capacity external HDD.

The usage conditions:
- at about 15% capacity now, used as the main (external) storage for a Linux-based media server (using MediaTomb)
- has been used approximately 28-56 hours per week for a year, so probably "light" usage

On to my usual Pros and Cons...

- operation is very quiet - much quieter than my main computer, so can only be heard if used with other machines.
- cheap (when bought!)
- unobtrusive smallish footprint package (glossy black plastic box)

One rather odd point, neither Pro nor Con for me, is the white LED power light, which sits at the *back* of the unit, and is only visible in low light conditions as a reflection from the wall, or if you turn the unit round to use it backwards! A strange design choice, but nothing else.

- when the unit arrived it was unusable with Windows XP - it would not mount (i.e. the computer "couldn't recognise" it). Linux mounted it normally straight away however.
This made me a bit suspicious, so I did a very lengthy (~17 hours) surface scan. There were no errors. I fixed this problem by deleting the partition table, and creating a new one (using the "Manage My Computer" app on Windows). This worked fine, so I suspect some slight corruption that Linux could live with, but Windows couldn't. More on that later.
- the disk in the box is a "green" one, which minimises energy usage by doing things like parking the heads and I think (but haven't confirmed formally) spinning down after a few minutes of inactivity. This means there's a delay of several seconds the next time you access data, which can be frustrating, and might occasionally cause problems.

A cheap probably-reliable disk, which less techy people than me would probably (justifiably) have returned because of either the corrupted partition table on arrival, or because of the several second delays experienced every time it goes into energy saving mode and then wakes up again.
I am fine with it, but I can't wholeheartedly recommend it to you unless you know how to deal with these issues, and are comfortable doing so.

Bear in mind that if you are looking for an external HDD these days, the majority of them now have "green" disks inside which will exhibit similar delay-causing behaviours under certain usage patterns, so don't expect to get around that by simply trying to buy a product from another manufacturer!

At the time of writing, there are approximately 20% of reviews for the products in this family (1TB, 1.5TB, 2TB) reporting disk failures. I wouldn't be surprised if in at least some of the cases which aren't obvious hardware failures, a corrupted partition table is the culprit based on my experiences. That's a shame, and points to possibly poor quality control at the manufacturer. Whatever the explanation, it is a high rate of failure - but then people whose disks don't fail are less likely to review of course.

Because of the dodgy partition table problem, I can only give this a 3-star review, as the thing that really matters for such commodity items is that they work out of the box for retail consumers. "Probably reliable" isn't good enough for storage devices.

And a final Tip...:
You should always have a backup - and if you're using a disk like this for backups, then it's sensible to have a backup for that too. That way, you're substantially reducing the likelihood of backups or precious data being lost. They cost so little these days, you really can't afford not to!
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on 30 June 2010
Got two of these today and both seem to work fine.

Since some of the more technically minded people like me might want to know more, here's some stuff I figured out so far:

Computer relevant capacity is 1.36TB.
It consumes 10W when in use and 9W when you're not doing anything with it. If you unplug the USB cable, power consumption drops to 4-5W.
Peak write speed seems to be somewhere between 27 and 28MB/s, which is about half of what your typical internal HDD runs at. That's about 15 hours for a full format or to fill up with files to the brink. Speed drops to around 20MB/s when copying smaller files like .mp3 music.
Comes pre-formatted with NTFS and no bundled software.
Very quiet operation.

There was a review saying that the power/USB cable ports didn't match up perfectly with the holes in the case. I can see how this can be true, as the port position seems to be flexible, perhaps to accomodate some sort of shock protection. If this were to happen, it's easy to move the ports back in place with a needle or a pen without having to exert any force at all. No biggy.

There's also a small white LED next to the power/USB ports indicating activity. It's much brighter than LEDs used in your typical keyboard and might be somewhat irritating. Easily coverable with a small patch of duct tape howerver. Won't tear off or spoil appearance because the LED is in a cavity on the back side.
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on 21 July 2010
As I've come to expect from WD, these drives are excellent, I have two 2TB ones (this new model) and two 1TB ones (the old 'elements' model that was longer with the rubber edges on back and front).

Was a big fan of the older model of 'elements' drives, and so was concerned they had tried to profitize and so made a cheaper more tacky 'elements' model. Anyway, its not the case, solid as a rock, reliable, quiet, quality feel, and looks better too. Buy them now!
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on 16 July 2010
I brought 2 of these recently to increase my storage as I have a load of ripped dvd's, HD and music content. My previous drive was a Samsung story 1.5tb external drive which I'd filled.

These drive came pre formatted for windows(can't remember if they were FAT32 or NTFS). Either way I'm using a Mac so had to format them before use. Formatting was easy and quick with OS X 's disc utility .

What I'm doing now is adding content to the 1st drive and using Carbon Copy Cloner to backup onto the 2nd drive on a schedule.I've moved all the stuff I'm not so bothered about/probably wont watch again onto the old Samsung drive and disconnected it.

These drives are very neat, look great stacked and are near silent when running. There's no power button on them so power down when not in use, this would be the only negative I could find as there is a slight delay if they have powered down and you access them again. Not a deal breaker for me but you should know about it. The Samsung has a power switch on front to turn it on, I suppose this has it advantages in terms of no 3 second delay on access after a period of inactivity but I guess the Samsung uses more power if its spinning more.

Transfer times are as expected from a USB drive It was an overnight transfer for 1.4TB of mixed data MP3's, MKV's and MP4's.

I have my Mac streaming from the 1st drive to a WDTV Live via home plugs, HD streams with no network issues whatsoever, I even streamed from drive 1 to WDTV while it was transferring a data backup to drive 2 simultaneously.

Hope this helps



April 2012

I've added two more of these drives to my collection. I use 1 drive as photo storage and the second is used as a backup of the first one. Ive had these two 2TB drives about a year now with no issues whatsoever they are perfect for my needs. I've got another one sat next to me ready to switch soon as the main drive is getting full again. Highly recommended.
I'm using these with an iMac and have had no issues at all, just plug in, format with Disc utility and you're good to go.

Thanks for reading

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on 26 January 2012
Won't duplicate other 5-star review - basically as that review says a minimalist, uncomplicated design - which is just what you need from a commodity item like this. I purchased four about a year ago and have found them reliable - whether connected direct to a PC, to my NAS device or to my high-def TV recorder.

Prices are currently (Jan 2012) some 50% higher than this time last year. The reason is due to the floods in Thailand which is affecting hard drive supply in general. If you can wait then I suggest deferring purchase until prices drop back down. I paid around £65 for mine. Hopefully higher capacity models will come available too - I suspect these are held back due to short supply for the same reason.
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on 8 December 2010
I have had this drive about a year now, I'm using it to backup my main PC. I have been very impressed with the product as it's small, well built and very quiet in operation. The transfer speeds are good once you set your USB device to access the drive for performance

If you have Windows XP right click on the USB device (ether in device manager or in the bottom right hand taskbar) and select properties on the device

Click on the policies tab and you will see two options: optimize for quick removal and optimize for performance

Select optimize for performance and click ok

The drive should copy files without and delays or problems

Hope that helps
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on 23 July 2010
After using the My Book series for a number of years, WD decided to force their own back up software onto my computers. After searching hi and low for a replacement to the My Book series, I settled on these cheaper drives to back up my back ups!

No crappy, buggy software means they worked perfectly with decent transfer rate over usb2 so I'd definitely recommend!
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on 9 August 2010
I purchased this drive just over 30 days ago.
Worked well for the first week. Quite as a mouse and appeared to be just the hard drive, no software to install and nothing to worry about, plug and play!
I formatted it as NTFS (Quick format).

However over the past 2 weeks the drive started playing up with corruption to the NTFS master table.
I managed to off load my data to other drives I have, unfortunately I can no longer format the drive so I have asked Amazon for a refund for now.
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on 9 November 2010
I have had a lot of experience with hard drives, often unpleasant. I recently had to return two Seagate drives which were misbehaving. Therefore when I say that this drive has restored my faith in technology, you can believe I know what I'm talking about. This drive is absolutely silent 99.99% of the time - since I run a recording studio, that is a big plus - & it just works. It's tiny, & almost invisible; you can't even tell there's an external drive attached to your computer (a Mac in my case). Although it's practically magic, I can assure you it isn't imaginary. IOW - all the benefits & none of the possible drawbacks. For those with Macs, it only takes a few seconds to format this drive in Disk Utility when you first connect it. There's nothing more to say; this drive is perfect.
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on 24 November 2010
I've had this a few weeks now and I have to say it's been a really good buy so far. Easy to install, I was surprised how small it is when compared to an Iomega 1TB unit I bought some time ago. It's deathly silent, too, compared to any other external hard drive I've had.

It seems to read and write files pretty quickly as well. Obviously not as fast as an internal unit, but it is pretty quick and doesn't keep you waiting around.

The only thing I do think it could be benefit from is an on/off switch. My original purpose for buying this was to not only store some audiovisual files, but also as a backup to my PC. With regard to the latter, I prefer to be able to have the unit switched off, so I can be sure that, should the PC become infected with a virus, the backup wouldn't automatically do so too (if it's not switched on). Apart from that, I'd say 'fully satisfied' so far.

The delivery experience was also what we have all come to expect from Amazon - pretty darned good.
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