Monday, 9 November 2009

Don't buy a WD External HDD

Seriously. Don't. I've not exactly had the best of luck with external drives over the years, I've had a 1TB Freecom drive that lost connection every two minutes, and now this. Firstly. Its listed as 500GB. Now, as a geek I know that when a drive is listed as 500GB; what the company probably means is 500GiB, so that didn't phase me too much. Its a problem with most modern external drives, and when people plug in their drive expecting 500GB of space, they're left wondering “Where the hell did 35GB go!?”.

The drive I bought was a "My Passport Essential Portable, 500GB, Black" from and it was relatively good pricing at £82.99

What did piss me of royally, however is Western Digital's “WD Smartware”. This really got me going. I hate the U3 system, always have, so when I saw this I face-palmed big style. When I stuck the drive into my Linux partition, the drive mounted as expected but so did a virtual CD with Smartware software loaded on. I rolled my eyes, copied a few files across to test the waters and then rebooted into my OSx86 partition to make sure everything was fine over there. It wasn't. The Smartware mounted again, but I ignored it once again and tried to move some files to the drive; but the drive wasn't having any of it. I checked the permissions and apparently I didn't have write access. Getting angry again, I cursed the WD Smartware and formated the drive fully expecting to win and be rid of that annoying Smartware once and for all. I even opened up a victory can of Dr. Pepper. Alas nay, the virtual cd still mounted! I did a bit of research and apparently the Smartware VCD is actually WD's firmware and built into the drive. So I'm stuck with it. I can now read/write without a problem on all of my systems but I had to jump through hoops to do it. So a quick note to anyone from WD: When I buy an external hard drive, all I want is an external hard drive, you don't know what I want/need, if you have software you think I may benefit from then stick it on a disc and not as firmware that I could gladly be rid of. Not good WD.

Aside from that though, the drive is nice. Fairly good speeds, and enough storage capacity so that I won't need another drive for a little while. Compact, and USB powered. Might look into making a protector for it though, as the plastic casing feels rather fragile.


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