WD My Book Essential 1TB -- How to use as a giant USB drive?

I just purchased a Western Digital My Book Essential 1TB drive. I purcahsed it because I was told by the "Geek Squad" at Best Buy that it would function as a giant USB drive. They said it is plug & play.

I just had my "C" drive fail on a 10yr old computer. I have a working 200 GB SATA 1.5 drive that I am going to move from "D" to "C." In order to do that I want to back up all of the data and then start with a fresh format, something I feel the drive really needs. Also there is not enough space on this drive, at this point, to simply install Windows XP w/SP2.

I am running Hiren's Boot CD v10.1 (http://www.hirensbootcd.net/) and making use of the "Mini Windows XP" to move files around. When I plug in the My Book it is not recognized. Instead a 644MB drive pops up with installation software. I can not install anything as the "Mini Windows XP" is running off the CD-Rom drive. All attempts to manually point the Device Manager to the Driver has failed. Although I will admit I'm not sure of any tricks or cheats I could be doing to get this working.

All of my USB Flash Drives are working fine with the "Mini Windows XP." I currently have 4 of them from different companies. They boot up, allow me to transfer files, and can be safely closed. None of them are very large and I have no desire to transfer 1GB at a time using my largest Flash Drive to my laptop and then to the WD external.

I plugged the WD My Book into my laptop running Vista. I had to install software before the 1TB space on the drive was visible to the system. This is not something I have an issue with when my PC is working but right now it limits my options.

I'm curious if anyone has experience on getting this to just pop up as a giant USB Flash Drive. Or if someone has experienced something similiar or is more familiar with Hirend't Boot CD than I am.

Thank you!

It just occured to me it could be the size of the drive which is causing issues. I was under the impression that anything over 137GB could not been seen by Windows XP SP1 and earlier. However my 200GB SATA 1.0 is working just find under the "MINI Windows XP." I don't know if this information helps but I thought I should add it.

[edit #2]
I've just connected the WD external to my other XP sp3 machine. The samething it happening. The drive is not showing up. The only thing which shows up is the WD Smartware virtal CD-ROM.

I check WD.com and they said the drive is plug&play.


The WD Smartware software will not run on my XP install. It says there is not a valid My Book Essential partition. The My book is formatted to NTFS (I just double checked that), and it is working as it should on my Vista install.
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  1. Did u tried any other pc?
  2. I tried it on:

    3 Windows XP w/sp3 machines.
    2 Windows Vista machines
    1 Windows 7 machine
    1 Windows 2000 machine.

    On each machine, except for the 2k install, the hdd does not load correctly. The operating system asks for an install disk, which does not exist as this drive is plug&play. On the 2k machine the hdd was seen, installed, and functioned correctly.

    On all 3 XP machines the "WD Smartware" is unable to see the hdd at all. I disabled the Virtual-CD drive but the same driver problems exist.

    WD's tech support has been useless with 1 word e-mail responses which do not help in any way.

    I have missed my window of opportunity to get my data backed up from the "D" drive. My freshly reformatted (and I thought working) "C" drive has just died again.

    Thankfully I had a few hours today where I burned off some data and got the rest of the data safely moved to the "D" drive. I can always move that day from PC-to-PC using Hiren's Boot CD and my 8GB Flash Drive.

    I'm currently shredding the contents of the external. After which I am going to return it.

    I had acess to two older WD My Book Essential drives. One is a 1TB and the other is a 500GB, both of which worked correctly. You plug them in, they are seen by the O/S., they load up, they function correctly.

    I'm not blaming WD, *yet*.
  3. I know this is truly an old blog, however I now am going through everything you went through with your 1tb wd hhd. May I ask you? would you happen to remember what was causing the problem to begin with and what did you finally end up doing for a solution.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. Kathi104beau@yahoo.com
  4. I ended up returning it and buying a seagate, which I love!
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