Western Digital WD Elements 3 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive: More an Overview Than a Real Review

WD Elements external drive
WD Elements external drive - if you want to see what's inside, just click on it to go to Amazon
WD Elements external drive
WD Elements external drive - if you want to see what's inside, just click on it to go to Amazon

Only a few years ago it was hard to imagine we are going to talk about Terabytes when it comes to hard disks. I bought my external hard drive about two years ago, and I thought it was awesome that it had the storage capacity of 1TB. The money I paid for it at that time is almost enough today to get a Western Digital WD Elements 3TB external drive. It’s impressive how things advance in the IT industry, isn’t it? I still remember my first computer: it had a 2MB hard drive. When I installed an application which virtually doubled the storage space, all my colleagues were green with envy.
Back to our Western Digital sheep… err… external drive, I’m not shopping for me this time. I want to buy a present for my brother and I thought an external hard drive would be perfect. My initial impulse was to get him the Seagate GoFlex Satellite. It only is a bit too much for my budget. My brother doesn’t care about wireless anyway, so I better save $50 and get him more storage space at the same time. He makes furniture, so he has a lot of photos and sketches of his projects, plus he started to also make videos of his creations lately.

Western Digital WD Elements 3TB external drive specifications

  • Size: 7 x 4.6 x 1.4 inches
  • Weight: 2.2 pounds (beware, the shipping weight is 3 pounds)
  • USB 2.0 plug-and-play storage
  • Stylish design, black, rounded corners
  • Compatibility: Windows 7, Vista, XP; Mac OS X Tiger or Leopard
  • Preformatted for PC, easy to reformat for using with Macs
  • Power-saving features: turns on and off with your computer and enters idle mode when not in use
  • Earth-friendly packaging made from recycled materials

Although it’s not the latest generation of external storage from Western Digital, it’s still one of the best. It doesn’t come with automatic backup programs like other drives, but that’s not important. There are free programs available for download which will backup your files as you need. I even know people who are happier when drives come without software like backup programs and other utilities, like this guy on Amazon:

I wanted something simple as most hard drives these days come with their annoying built in software which cannot be deleted (like WD Essential Edition). This is a hassle free drive and is not bundled with any of the extra software which is exactly what I wanted. You simply plug it in and it works.

Other features it doesn’t come with are password protection and hardware encryption. My brother doesn’t care about those either, so this drive is still a great buy.

Western Digital WD Elements 3TB external drive reviews on Amazon

WD Elements 3TB external drive - stylish looks
WD Elements 3TB external drive - stylish looks

This is the product with the biggest number of reviews I’ve ever seen on Amazon. It has 1744 reviews, out of which, 1093 are five star ones. I’m impressed. So were many reviewers, as you can see from the excerpts below:

This is my second WD Elements Hard Drive. I still have my 2 TB and both run fast, have no built in programs, and do exactly what they say they will do as far as running on a PC.

After purchasing my drive I had no problem connecting it to my computers. Each computer recognized it and I was able to transfer files effortlessly. I like the fact that it has its own power supply so I am not taking any power from my computer.

Purchased this drive to connect to an Airport Extreme Wireless router to serve as a backup disk for a my desktop and laptop Macs. Very quiet. I forget it is there. Works seamlessly. I did reformat it to Mac format, but that was easily accomplished with a quick connection directly to my iMac. I highly recommend this drive.

This is a slightly negative one:

This is an OK external hard drive but, I would not have purchased it if I had known it did not have an on-off switch. It sits there spinning at 7800 RPM every minute of every day and I only use it one hour in two weeks.

I don’t know how this relates to the power-saving features. The drive should enter the idle mode when not in use, so it shouldn’t spin all the time. The external drive I own now has this function and I’m sure it works, because it’s silent when not in use.
Here’s a useful one you need to read before buying:

I use external drives to backup my pc’s using Windows System Image backup. As it turns out, that backup feature does not support 3TB drives. I have been using the 2TB’s with no problem, so I am returning this 3TB and ordering another 2TB. Do a search and you will see it is not just WD but any 3TB drive is a problem. This 3TB a great drive as long as you don’t use it for Windows System Images.

This is from an IT person:

I noticed a trend concerning overheating due to the fact that this is a sealed drive without a cooling fan. As a Network Administrator, I know how important temperature control is when it comes to hardware components…

A cooling pad should solve any overheating issues. However, if you only use the drive for periodic backups, it should be fine without it.
You can see more details or buy the Western Digital WD Elements 3TB external drive on Amazon.

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