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on 29 August 2006
An impressive external drive. A few tips: you need to install it on USB first to allow the FireWire drivers to copy over, then if you have FireWire, you switch the cables and away you go for faster throughput. If you only have FireWire you can download the drivers from the support website. It works very well, the drive is fast and virtually silent. The two blue circle indicators are a nice design touch. It comes formatted as FAT32, but is simple to reformat and partition using the disc manager in Windows XP should you want to. It's not worth paying more for the Pro version in my opinion unless you need Firewire 800 speed (only for video editors), this version has 1 USB2 and 2 Firewire 400 connectors. It also comes with all cables (including both firewire and usb). It has some bundled Google software and a simple backup manager too.
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on 7 September 2006
I've tried many external enclosures and none have been as good as this. It's very quiet, keeps the hard drive cool enough (a big problem with external drives without fans) due to its good ventilation design that doesn't use a fan.

A big advantage of this drive is that it stops the hard drive spinning after a period of time and automatically switches it into standby when the PC is switched off or put into standby. After powering up the PC the "My Book" automatically powers backup seamlessly. I use the Firewire connection and that seems to be the quickest.

Only problem I can see is that after a power failure, or you disconnect the power supply, you have to press the button on the front to switch it on.
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on 16 February 2007
I bought this for my eMac, running Mac OS X 10.3.9. Connecting up (as recommended in the booklet) with both USB 2 and FireWire cables, it worked immediately, and within a few minutes I was able to remove the USB cable and just use the FireWire connection. It is fast, easy to manipulate, the lights are helpful and aesthetically pleasing, and it is very quiet (in fact, the eMac is louder than the drive, so I notice nothing from the drive). All this would warrant 5 stars... BUT: the backup software provided on the disk has clearly just been converted from a Windows version (even using Windows-style minimise and maximise buttons in the top-right corner), and cannot read the Mac OS HD properly. I have an 80gb internal disk, and yet when I want to do a full backup, it tells me I have files totalling 311953120.00gb and this will not fit on the 500gb external HD! This number is always the same, clearly indicating a fault. I have submitted a query to the WD "support" site, but a week later, nobody has bothered to reply. I'm going to look for other backup software that has been designed for a Mac.
So: a great product, let down somewhat by poor software and non-existent support.

UPDATE: 22.2.07
After finally forwarding my query to the WD publicity department and alerting them to the above review, I did receive a meaningful response. I quote from the email a technical support person sent me: "...WD Backup only works properly when backing up your Documents folder. Although, the software will let you choose the folder such as your library folder, this will not work as you may have noticed. This is a very basic program that essentialy works like a copy and paste feature but is automated." So, be warned - even WD knows the software they provide is pretty rubbish!
Nonetheless, the hardware itself really is great, and if you can get alternative backup software, I really would recommend this disk strongly for use with a Mac (of course, I don't know if the backup software is as useless on a PC, but presumably it would be).

Another update! 28.5.07
I now have a new MacBook with OS X 10.4.9 and the WD software does seem to be happy to copy the entire internal HD to the WD external drive correctly. So it would seem that if using a newer version of the OS, then using the WD software will be ok. Of course, what will happen when Apple release the next version of OS X is anybody's guess!
By the way, if you're using an older version of OS X (such as 10.3.9 as on my old Mac), then I found that PsyncX worked really well, available from sourceforge.net (open source software). This would allow you to buy the drive (which is good), and have it work properly despite the WD software.
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on 23 April 2007
I bought two of these being under the impression that i could simply chain them together via the firewire ports, ala infite expanding storage, just like the pictures in the adverts. Unfortunately that is not the case, if you have two of these plugged into a computer both via the firewire interface, then they conflict and lots of nasty things happen. This is a "known issue" according to the WD support, but if i'd known about it i wouldn't have bought them. I don't think this is the case for different capacity discs, but thats not much help.

Other than that they are pretty slick, bit of vibration from the disc, but they power up and down and sleep as they are supposed to.
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on 5 February 2007
This is a very impressive piece of equipment, even the box it comes in is stylish!
This is what's inside the retail box-:
500gb black hard drive formatted in FAT32 as default.
US power cable (not needed)
UK power cable
power adapter
firewire 400 cable
USB 2.0 cable

The drive is simple to install, as others have stated if you wish to use Firewire it is best to connect via USB first to allow the Firewire drivers to copy themselves over to your PC, I did this on both computers that I intended to use it with first, I also made a copy of the WD software that I wanted in the temp folder of my C Drive in case I needed them in the future.
Once the software drivers were copied over I powered the drive down and connected it up with the Firewire lead, the drivers were then installed automatically and the drive was ready to use via Firewire.
As the disc was formatted in Fat32 it took just a few seconds to reformat it in NTFS via Xp in Disk Management, obviously formatting the drive removes the software included with the drive, which is why I saved it earlier (it can be downloaded from WD support though)
The drive is very quiet running and the only noise emitted is a low vibrational hum, the light display on the front; 2 rotating LED circles are really there to look pretty (which they are)and serve no useful purpose though the centre circle does indicate how much space is left on the drive.
I have only had the drive a day so I can't give anything other than a first impression which is that it seems to be a very nice bit of equipment and is excellent value for money.
Top marks too to Amazon and Parcelforce for very fast delivery.


Back in Feb 2007 I wrote a review about this drive in which I praised it and gave it 5 stars, reading other comments I thought it would be useful to give an update after 7 months use.

Not much to report really, the drive runs for around 16 hours of every day (all the time the PC is on) and so far (touch wood) it has performed faultlessly, it does exactly what the advert says TBH, I have mine connected via Firewire and over my network, IMHO it runs really fast, I am still really happy with this drive and would be quite confidently buy another.
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on 23 October 2007
This is probably the worst drive i've ever used in terms of failure. When i first bought this drive it failed after 3 months. Completely broken. Wouldn't power on or anything. Truth is, i'm sure it was a SIMPLE power issue. However, WD support are so incredibly bad, that the only thing that they offer is a replacement drive. Anything else will void the warranty. So if you try to recover the drive - warranty void. If you try to fix the drive in ANY WAY, warranty void. WD don't offer ANY of these repair or recover services whatsoever. So i lost close to 300gb of personal data. I got the replacement drive, and after 4 months, that has failed too. Now i've lost another 300gb of data. I have a choice now. Get another replacement from WD, or try and fix at my own expense and permanently void any warranty i may have.

Anyone i've known with this drive has had similar issues. And if you browse the internet, you'll see that this is a familiar story. But at your peril.
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on 29 September 2007
Hmmm... Sorry to add more fuel to the fire, but... I bought the 320GB version of this drive a while back and was very pleased with the performance. So I bought another just the same recently, and.... troubles right from the start. It may be a version of this 'daisy chaining' issue, but I've connected both drives via a hub, and through separate firewire ports. There's no way the new drive is performing at speed - it's about a tenth of proper transfer speed - and my MacBook can't even find the drive via USB. There were 2 days when it couldn't find the drive at all. With all my client's photos on it. If there are known issues, WD should make them known to potential consumers! Or better still, fix them. 'A bit hit and miss' is not good enough for a 'premium' Western Digital hard drive, or any hard drive for that matter.
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on 22 February 2007
Warning: This is a unopenable caddy. When a computer dies, one can usually retrieve its data by removing the hard drives and installing them in another PC or external caddy. When the firewire/USB circuitry of a caddy fails, one can often likewise remove its drive and insert it in a PC bay.
The latests MyBooks are flush moulded plastic with no obvious way to open the case (which WD with massive cheek claims voids the warranty). If you are prepared to either kiss your data goodbye or mail it all to WD if the USB/Fireware sockets fails then fine, enjoy the blue flashing lights on your temporary storage toy.

Internet descriptions by MyBook Openers relate to earlier MyBooks with a hidden corner screw. I emailed WD support asking for info on how to remove the drive from the caddy as a contingency against future failure and eventually received brief email instructions to remove the rubber seal and prise the unit apart, almost certainly breaking it. So be very aware that you are buying a vendor sealed unit here.

Like other reviewers, I had problems with my MyBook under Win98. Drivers are not provided with the drive but can be downloaded from WD. Using these, I was unable to access the drive via USB. Firewire worked but with disfunctional "Button Maager" disconnects.
Additionally, if you are reformatting under XP, FAT32 partitions mut be <32GB . Or you can have one FAT32 taking the whole drive (the shipped state), but that is too big for some Win98 PCs to be able to Check-And-Repair. Both problems with Windows rather than WDware, but only because WD provide no reformatting software with the drive.

Under XP everything worked for me. The drive is certainly not silent, but does power down when unused so tends to be silent most of the time.

Basically this is a vendor-sealed cheap plastic HD caddy for the masses and works as such under Windows XP at least. Lets hope WD's reputation for reliable HDs extends to their USB/Firewire componentry.
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on 17 February 2007
Bought mine recently from Amazon UK. Initial Installation on my PC without went without much of a fuss as Windows installs drivers automatically, this was using provided USB2 cable. I then re-formatted the drive to NTFS using Device Manager on Windows XP Home. Everything worked fine up till this point. I then powered down & re-started this time using the provided firewire cable. This is when the problems began !! Windows kept asking me to install drivers for the drive whenever it was powered up & when i tried to do this it could not install them properly. This meant that the drive did not have full functionality. So had to return the drive for a refund. It did work perfectly well with the USB2 cable but had issues with firewire cable, which is a shame as i bought it specifically for the faster firewire connection (approx 20% faster than using hi-speed USB2). I spoke to Western Digital tech support & they told to return the drive. Which I did. Amazon UK as usual provided 1st class after sales support & offered me a full refund.
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on 11 March 2007
Ok my standards over the years have gone up -- I got this drive as a backup drive so luckily I don't need to have it on the whole time.

It may look kinda sexy with that blue light but it's basically a pretty cheap box and it vibrates annoyingly against the drive inside.

Overall: slightly disappointed with the noisy. But darn that's cheap.
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