PROS / It's very easy to set this external hard drive up and safeguard your data with automatic backups.
CONS / The device's warranty is only two years long.
VERDICT / The Western Digital My Book is an excellent desktop hard drive, and it stands a notch above the competition.
The Western Digital My Book is the best desktop external hard drive on the market. It's not only easy to use but is also jam-packed with the features and performance speed you expect from high-quality external desktop hard drives. Due to its strong combination of usability, design and security, My Book earns our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award.
Ease of Use
My Book is a plug-and-play device. This means that once the computer initially recognizes the new hardware, a simple installation process takes place – you don't have to handle any installation software. The next time you plug the drive in, it automatically starts backing up your content. You can turn the drive off with the button located on the back, or, when you shut down your computer, the external hard drive follows suit.
We were also very impressed with Western Digital's policy of allowing you complete control over how the software works for you. You can change the frequency of backups and when the backup should run, and specify what kind of content to back up and the number of backup versions kept. Once the files are backed up, the external hard drive makes restoring them simple as well. The built-in software allows you to restore by category (photos, music, Word documents) or retrieve an older version of a specific file through a convenient search function.
Taking advantage of USB 3.0 technology, Western Digital's My Book isn't limited by its connection interface. This means you can fill up the desktop external hard drive's 2TB capacity with 500,000 songs or 400,000 photos in no time. For those computers that aren't capable of handling USB 3.0, the USB slot located on the back of the hard drive is compatible with USB 2.0 as well – just don't expect fast data transfer at USB 2.0 speeds.
While your digital content is speedily transferring to the external hard drive, you can see the drive's capacity fill up in sections. Each section equates to about 25 percent of available space. When all four of the sections are illuminated, the hard drive is full. An LED indicator illuminates when the external hard drive has power. This feature is handy, since My Book falls into a sleep mode when idle and automatically turns off and on with a computer when the drive is connected.
My Book is available in several models, with capacities ranging from 2TB to 6TB. The software included with the desktop external hard drive visually shows your documents backing up and allows you to access and view content in a user-friendly interface. If you prefer not to use the pre-installed software, you can remove it and My Book will work just like an oversized thumb drive.
The Western Digital My Book does a superior job of putting your mind at ease. Built-in password protection prevents unauthorized access to your content, and a lock indicator LED signifies whether the password is in place. This light only turns off when the password is disabled or the drive powers down. If you find no need for password protection, you can turn this feature off.
Data is also protected by a 256-bit hardware-based encryption. To prevent theft, a Kensington security slot is located on the back of the drive. This security slot enables you to physically bind the hard drive to something, the removal of which would cause extensive damage to the drive. We recommend implementing this feature if you plan to take the device to a public place where theft may be possible.
My Book's included software is also responsible for securing the drive. It provides automatic and continuous protection, backing up your content each time you save changes. According to your preference, it also saves multiple copies of a file, allowing you to reference earlier versions of a document – up to 25 different versions. To ensure that the drive is performing properly, built-in diagnostics allow you to conveniently prevent problems before they can cause any damage.
If you have any problems during the installation process, backing up your content or retrieving files, Western Digital provides several outlets to assist you. In the desktop external hard drive's included user manual, an entire section entitled Troubleshooting has FAQs with specific instructions on how to solve various problems. If this document doesn't address your needs, you can go to Western Digital's website to find discussion boards, contact information and product registration information.
My Book has a two-year limited warranty, which is a little bit disappointing, because other manufacturers have longer warranties. You want to make sure that if your backup fails, you have options open to you for as long as possible.
Finding the perfect desktop external hard drive to meet your needs is a delicate balance of ease of use, design and security. Western Digital's My Book meets each requirement equally, giving you the best external hard drive available. Once content has been transferred to the drive, it is protected by hardware encryption, a secure password and a Kensington security slot. The automatic backup software updates your archives each time you make a change or save a new file. The Western Digital My Book is the best desktop external hard drive you can get.