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It's not the sexiest of sleek tech, but more importantly it is tough and reliable. I have had mine for some time now and use it to back up everything from my laptop and for some extra storage if I need it.
Set up and installation was easy and it appears nicely as a drive in your file/folder tree.
USB connectivity and a (very bright) blue LED on the front so you know when it is on and connected successfully (turns red when on but not connected).
I'm not sure if you are meant to "eject" it in windows before switching off but I never have and it seems to work fine. It has a switch on the back so you can isolate it.
This is one that is powered by an external power supply and not from the USB port, so you do have another thing to plug in and it is not easily portable. Also it does whir, not too much but it is noticeable - I think it has a fan inside.
Overall it has never let me down and I guess for data storage at home, this is what you need.
I bought this hard drive approximately a year ago from dabs.com it was on offer and the low price swayed me to trying it. I know of the brand Toshiba and know they're generally reliable and quite a big and well known company so i saw no problem purchasing from them even though i did not know of there hard drive manufacturing quality.
First problem i encountered is that when i was plugging the hard drive in to the computer i was getting nothing, all lights were on, you could hear the hard drive whirring about inside the box but no pop up, nothing listed on the drive list on my computer. First of all I checked all cables ensuring there was no errors with them, nothing wrong, I was stumped. After a while i thought to myself, it couldn't be that I'd been given a hard drive that needed partitioning.... Yes, it could be. So there's me expecting to be able to plug and play whereas I'm sat here having to partition an external hard drive. I decided to do a proper partition which I then had to wait a few hours to do. After this the hard drive was finally working!
Using the Drive
First of all from what i remember ( can't remember the actual number ) the hard drive was significantly lower than the 320 GB that it was advertised at, for those who don't know much about electronic devices it is common for a device to be a little bit lower than what it's advertised to have but this I did feel dissapointed with.
The data transfer rates were also horrendous, I moved a lot of my music that had originally been stored on my internal hard drive on to the external that I'd purchased it was taking so much time that I eventually just went out to pass the time.
RIP Hard Drive
Not long after the initial purchase, I think around three to four months the hard drive seemed similar to when i first got it, nothing popping up when it was plugged in, i was a bit worried at this point as i saw no reason for it to be doing this, when taking a closer look at it ( it's stored on the floor behind the PC tower, i noticed that it was clicking in an odd manor. At this point i knew that something was wrong and rang my friend who does IT he thought it may be the writer was broken and at this point I'd just had enough took it out and put it in a cupboard and that's where it still resides.
In conclusion I'd say there are much better hard drives and bigger capacities for less money.
I bought the Toshiba 3.5" External Hard Drive 320GB around 3 or 4 years ago when there was a deal on at PC World. I have to say that I haven't used it that much - perhaps to back up a few items, but I haven't used it for more than a couple of hundred hours in that time, occasionally plugging it in and transferring some files to and from the drive. It has recently failed on me - more on that later.
___What's in the box?___
The drive itself looks OK - it's mainly a metal finished on the outside, except at the two ends of the device where there is a black plastic and metal on top, covering it. An LED is positioned on one end - it flashes red and blue. On the other side you have the place for the connections - the power supply, a USB A Male connection and a power switch. Also in the box you are provided with the power supply and a USB Male A to Male B cable. The device comes with a 1 year limited warranty. As I have found out before, always connect the USB cable up before you connect the AC adapter and turn on the power, just as a precaution as there could be a static buildup in the USB connector if you do it the other way around - this can (and has in my case) caused damage to another external hard drive that I previously owned.
___Installation and use___
When you plug in the drive for the first time, the relevant drivers should be found and installed and the product ready to use within a minute. Although advertised as a 320GB hard drive, the measured capacity by the computer is less - just under 300GB. This is because the way hard drive capacity is measured and how it is advertised are different (see my review of the Western Digital Elements 1.5TB for more details on it):
Operationally, data transfer is slower than the newer drives, at about 18MB/s, compared to 30MB/s or more with the Western Digital Elements drives. The drive is still USB 2.0 compliant so a theoretical maximum of 480mbps (60MB/s) could be achieved. LED at the front flashes a bright blue or red, kindly telling you that hard drive activity is occurring. It is however, too bright and I always end up turning the drive so that if faces away from me. It then creates a red and blue psychedelic disco on my wall in the corner of the room. It's somewhat distracting - you could probably solve it by sticking something over it or using some blu-tack.
So if I were to end the review here, I'd probably give it 4/5 stars, knocking off the star because the flashing LED is too annoying and data transfer is about a third slower (at least) compared to the current range of drives (which can be bought for the same price as I bought this one with over 4 times more storage space).
However, I can't end it here. This specific range (at least the models released 3-4 years ago) have a notoriously high failure rate. There have been reviews online complaining that one day they turned the drive on only to find a blue LED which flashes red once a second or so, accompanied with a clicking noise being made from the drive. I read about it about such stories about 2 years ago when I was considering to purchase a new external hard drive. But 2 years with the product I had only used it occasionally (once a month perhaps, sometimes less frequently) so I didn't expect the device to fail on me for a long period of time.
It failed last week.
What annoyed me most about this was that I hadn't used the hard drive that many times, yes if I had used it more frequently than I had I would have been surprised that it had failed, but this was an occasional used drive that had failed. I have probably switched it on fewer than 100 times.
___Salvaging the drive___
So my drive was making this clicking noise, now with a slow tempo metronome to accompany the slow flashing disco lights. The device had had come to the end of its life and all the data I had stored on there would be lost forever. Ironically, this was actually the last time I had planned to use the drive to store important data - a WD Elements Desktop 2TB drive had arrived in the morning and I was turning the drive on to transfer all the files on the Toshiba to the Western Digital. I then had planned to format the drive from NTFS to FAT and use it as a storage device for my Playstation 3. But with the events that occurred it was no longer possible.
A quick check that the power cables were OK and that the USB cable was plugged in, yet the clicking noise and slow flash continued. I Googled the device once again and found the red/blue syndrome reviews that had flooded the internet a few years before and interestingly I found a review saying that often it is the caddy or power supply that fails and not the hard drive. I also then recalled that I read a review saying that the drive could be dismantled and the hard drive inside be taken out and used in another caddy. (2 years previously I had actually started the first step to dismantling it but stopped. Now I needed to dismantle it to have any chance of recovering the data).
So taking the drive apart - how is it done? Well, firstly unscrew the stand that is used to keep the drive vertically orientated, if it hasn't already been removed. Then, peel off the metal cover on the rear of the device (the metal is actually stuck onto the plastic) and this will reveal 4 screws. [Note that if you are within the 1 year warranty, doing this will void the warranty as there is a sticker on the base.] Unscrew these 4 screws and the two on the base of the drive beneath where the stand was attached and slide the drive out.
Now you should find a Western Digital drive (not a Toshiba one!) inside, attached to a case. Remove 4 more screws on the base and unplug the connections (the Molex power connector that I had took 20 minutes to remove - it relies on friction to hold in place). Then you have a 3.5" WD hard drive that may or may not work. You can test if it powers up by connecting it to a desktop or additional caddy lying about. If it seems to power up, then you're in luck, you still should be able to salvage the data.
__What does this show?__
Even though you have Toshiba branding on the outside, the drive inside is made by Western Digital - one of the more reliable hard drive manufacturers, in my opinion. Toshiba just makes the caddy and sells the drive on. And the caddy isn't built well as I see a very high failure rate of the caddy (and not the drive). Yes, it looks sleek on the outside but the quality of the components used on the inside is what is disappointing. I have since bought an external caddy to replace the Toshiba caddy and I am currently transferring the data off the drive so that the drive can finally be used with my PS3. A review on the Max Speed External Box will be done in the near future.
The caddy has a poor reliability. Seeing as that is the only thing that Toshiba builds themselves (the WD hard drive still works), I have to give this a low rating. I know that 1TB and 1.5TB drives based on this same design are currently on sale, but perhaps the build quality has gone up by them. The only reason why I haven't given this device one star is because it is easy to dismantle and get at the hard drive so that you can plug it into a desktop computer or purchase a caddy in order to use it again. I'd stay away from this line of Toshiba products and would rather go with Western Digital (with 2 years warranty instead of 1).