This product seems to be receiving something of a bad press amongst the reviewers, most of whom have experienced failures, so I thought I might speak up for it.
External disk drives are mass-produced consumer products. In a perfect world, these would all be hand-crafted works of art that are rigorously tested prior to delivery to a smiling, satisfied customer. Unfortunately, there are various tiresome economic constraints that force the poor old manufacturers to make them as cheaply and quickly as possible and get them out to as many paying punters as they can at minimal cost. Some of them fail before they reach the customer, some of them do so soon afterwards. Sadly, the same goes for all manufacturers. All you can do is go for a reputable company (which Western Digital are) and hope that you're not one of the unlucky ones - if you are, amazon are usually pretty reasonable about refunds.
I've had mine for around six months without any problems. It worked out of the box first time, and has done so repeatedly when I connect it to a number of different PCs (all running XP). It reads and writes quickly, is reasonably quiet, and seems to be reasonably robust - I have not performed any 'kick it round the room' tests to confirm this however.
Why only four stars then? Well, I would want something extra for a fifth, whereas this is exactly what you'd expect and no more - it does what it says on the tin, to quote an annoying and overused cliche. Perhaps if they made a bus-powered 3.5" drive I'd give it an extra star. Or if they slipped a pint into the packet as a free gift. Although that might get the manual soggy.
If you are genuinely backing up your life, and the result of a failure would be the loss of all your photographs of your marriage, honeymoon in India, your children's first steps and all those 'special interest' pictures that you hope your partner isn't going to find in the directory called 'boring work stuff', you should seriously consider getting two disks like this and backing stuff up twice. This is what people do in industry with seriously valuable data, because there is no product that is 100% failure proof in this price bracket.
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