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Customer Review

24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A compact stylish Drive spoilt by its embedded software and inadequate cable, 8 Jan. 2011
This review is from: WD My Passport Essential 500 GB Real Red Portable Hard Drive (USB 3.0/2.0) (Personal Computers)
I bought this drive around 2 months ago but unfortunately (from the point of view of returning it) only started to use it one week ago - I should have read the Amazon reviws first! I bought it because I needed much greater storage for my image files than my current 16gb USB stick offered, but still wanted the flexibility of choosing which files I wish to archive, and to make seamless transfers between 2 computers and the storage drive. Scant info came with the drive - a piece of folded paper with an Ikea type self assembly pic of the drive connected to the computer via USB - well even I could have figured that out, and apart for the ritual 50 country gaurantee list, that was it. What they should have said, is that they had installed software on the drive which runs things in a completely dumb back-up mode - mine had already started to do this automatically on plug in - allowing no flexibility of operation. Not what I wanted. Thinking I could control the beast I did install the WD management software but this only allowed some flexibility around the total back up concept under their chosen headings - you can not get down to individual folder/file level. In despair I went to the Amazon reviews and saw that at least I was not alone but one of a large number of baffled and infuriated customers, though fortunately a more computer literate person than myself pointed out that you can in fact ignore the WD software and simply use it as a drag and drop drive. This works very well - for the first time you can see the actual files you are operating on! So I uninstalled the lousy WD management software from my hard drive and loaded up the WD passport with my selected archive material - rapidly and without problems using drag and drop. Why on earth did WD not say on the leaflet that you can do this?
The other issue I encountered and many people complain about is that the very short micro USB cable gives problems with loose/intermittent connection. I can see why - the cable used is far too heavy a gauge (too thick) for micro USB and means there is no flexibility where the cable leaves the connector putting it permanently under stress if you have it bent at all, which would be a normal case. this is extremly poor engineering design. I replaced it with a 1 metre Micro USB cable (£2.79 from Amazon) of finer gauge and it works a treat - a secure connection with great flexibility of placing the drive relative to the computer. So for the above reasons of inflexible/unuseable software accompanied by very poor customer communication and an unacceptably poor hook up cable, I can only award it 2 stars. Who needs this sort of aggro with what should be a perfectly straight forward product? If you are still choosing - you should put your money elsewhere.
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