Pros Solid internal drive from a company that knows how make drives.
Cons Proprietary software and hardware make this a nightmare to support if anything goes wrong. Forget about data recovery unless you're willing to go through WD proprietary service.
Summary I really wish that CNet would check with people who have to deal with the technical side of these drives. Sure; as long as everything goes well, we're okay. As a computer and data recovery technician in Philadelphia, I have to deal with these things all the time and they're a nightmare. We have stopped selling them and don't recommend them to our customers anymore.
The #1 problem I have with them is that instead of a standard SATA connection on the internal drive, the drive's USB port is connected directly to the drive. This means that if the port or drive enclosure fails, which does happen, there are almost no data recovery options even if the drive is healthy, since you can't pull it out of the enclosure. On their bigger drives which don't have this "feature", they somehow attach the drive to the enclosure using firmware that makes it show up as a blank drive if you pull it out. This is anti-consumer as it means that Western Digital is the only one who can perform data recovery on their products. Even Apple let's other people perform data recovery on their products.
Secondly, the WD Smartware is terrible. Again, it locks you into it and won't let you delete it completely or reformat the drive. Also, we've had problems where the program starts using 99% of the CPU of a computer randomly, slowing the entire computer down. While this is a bug that can be fixed with an update, the good doesn't outweigh the bad and it's not optional. Even if it's good software, it should be optional. This is a hard drive and sometimes people just want a basic drive.
If you want a good drive that actually lets you configure it and that you'll be able to recover data from if something goes wrong, get a drive from LaCie or G-Tech instead.
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