External Hard Drive: Review of the Western Digital 1600

I was getting pretty low on disk space on my desktop computer and started to look for an external hard drive. I did not want to go into the hassles of using an internal drive due to the space it would take up in my PC and I am concerned about heat build up with all that I have in it.

I went with a Western Digital for the brand I would go with.
Some of the other brands I looked into were more expensive and I was looking for something I could afford but that was dependable.

On the internet I looked at several and decided to go with the Western Digital 1600 due to a clearance sale at Target at the time. Western Digital is a company that has been around long enough to be making good products and have a good reputation.

I wanted one that had a little more space than my internal drive and went with the 160 megabytes. This would allow me to use it for storage of files, pictures and music that my family has.

I also wanted a hard drive that I could use for storage while editing movies and videos, I have been playing with video editing. While editing videos, the programs take up quite a bit of hard drive space while performing certain editing and creation functions. I can set up my editing program to use the external drive to temporarily store the files there instead of the internal drive.

Western Digital Essential USB 2.0 External Hard Drive model 1600 is a quick and easy to use external hard drive. It uses USB interface but can be used on a USB 1.1. The drive works on either a Windows or MAC system with a USB port.

The drive comes with a one year warranty. You can purchase a further warranty if you wish. You can visit their website for further information on that.

A lot of people use an external drive as a backup for files they want to be sure to keep. I would be using mine as my primary storage for files and working folders for my desktop. Any backing up I will be doing for now will be to disks.

If you use yours as a backup what you would need to be doing is using a program to copy the files you want to the drive. Cnet.com has several reviews of programs that you can use for quick and convenient backups of your files, data and drives.

I bought the drive and included are a couple of necessary things other than the drive. The drive of course is a square plastic box with some attachable feet or clips that you can use if you have other drives from Western Digital to stack them up with. The necessary parts are the power cord, power supply and USB 2.0 cable.

The drive works just as your internal drive does. It is a hard disc drive that stores information. But your internal one uses the power supplied by your computer whereas the external ones use a power supply that you have to plug into the wall. The USB 2.0 cord plugs into any USB connector on the computer, mine has several both on the front and the back.

I unpacked the drive and as usual from my military training I inspected and made sure the unit was all there and in good shape. I then read the directions and hooked up the drive. The power cord goes to the power supply, the supply goes to the back of the drive. The USB cable is impossible to hook up wrong so it took just a few seconds.

The power button is on the front and is the only switch on it.

I have mine sitting upright next to my tower so the clips for stacking went into the bin with all the other spare computer parts and the feet went on. The pamphlet that comes with the drive contains instructions for hooking up and initializing your drive.

For the Windows XP you need to initialize the drive and have your system recognize it. You use the steps in the pamphlet for whatever operating system you have.

If you are using Windows XP it is a simple matter of following these steps:

Right-click the My Computer icon on the desktop
Left-click on Manage.
Left-click on Disk Management.
The Initialize and Convert Disk Wizard will appear.
Left-click on the Next button.
Check the box to the left of the drive that you want to write a signature to. This will be the drive you just hooked up. Make sure you get the right drive for this step.
Left-click the Next button.
Left-click the Finish button.
The drive is now initialized.

What you accomplished with these steps was to set up your drive and allow your system to hook up to it.

If you try to use your drive and it doesn’t work you will have to refer to the troubleshooting section or go to their web site. It is http://www.wdc.com/en/index.asp?Language=en

From there go to support and register your drive, they will have you logon and get an account. Then you can get a reference number for support that will be your way they will track your problem and the answers they give you. They will probably be able to help you with any problems.

I have had no problems setting up my drive and have done a few things on it for my personal preferences. I use mine for folders that appear on my desktop but save everything in those folders on that drive.

What I did to accomplish this is go to the hard drive and open it up. In the drive create folders, whatever you want to use as the folders. I have several, each of my family has there own folder, then I have others that have specific things like scouts and games.

All the folders on the external drive can be available for you through the drive letter but what I have done is created shortcuts to them from the desktop. You just right click on the folder on the external drive and go down the list to create shortcut. A shortcut will appear under the drive letter. You then left click and hold that icon and move it to the desk top. You do this with the drive folder open but not maximized.

I have also renamed the folders once I got the shortcuts to the desktop to get rid of the word shortcut in parenthesis. I don’t know how to get rid of the little arrow on the icon though. Oh well.

With this method I can use the folders as if they were on the desktop. I can also back them up easily by just copying the folders I want to a blank disk.

One thing that I do have to be concerned about is shutting down my PC when the drive is running. When I shut down my PC I have to be sure that I do it in the right order or I might lose information on the drive. If the drive is performing a read or write operation and power is shut off the, I could lose information.

So I just have to be sure I close the PC down first and then shut off the drive afterwards. Once windows closes the drive will not be receiving any commands to do anything and will just be sitting there. It is safe then to turn off the power by pressing the power button on the front.

Overall I am very pleased with Western Digital’s Essential External Disk Drive. It was easy to set up and use and comes with a good warranty.

I have no problems with how I have to shut down the drive and it is handy to be able to have it upright or setting flat. For the price, it is a very good buy as a backup drive or if you are running out of space and want a quick and convenient extra hard drive.

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