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Many moons ago, the idea of filling a drive with a terabyte of data would have gotten you laughed at and possibly sent to a special hospital where all the walls were white and padded. But these days, we’re constantly checking our externals for room with the Get Info command, then trying to figure out what’s safe to delete. If you’re dealing with large files on a regular basis or are just a bit obsessive-compulsive, the new Western Digital MyBook Studio can help you keep track of your drives without having to be in front of your Mac.
In keeping with the MyBook design, the drive presents a slim profile, not unlike a fat paperback. This time around, the “spine” features a handy e-ink display showing your free drive space, as well as a text label to distinguish between multiple drives. If you turn off and unplug the drive, the display stays intact. We used the label to identify our media drive and differentiate it from our networked backups. It’s a feature that sounds minor but in practice makes a lot of sense. We have three external drives at home that we’ve slapped with painter’s tape in order to label them. Inelegant, and the painter’s tape certainly can’t keep us abreast of how much space we have left.
The backup software won't wow you, but the security and display features might have you wondering how you ever got along without this drive.
Keep tabs on your data with just a glance.
The My Book Studio external drive comes in 1TB and 2TB flavors to fit varying levels of digital hoarding. Because WD offers USB 2.0 and FireWire 800 connectivity with an included adapter for FireWire 400, you can plug the drive in and use it straight away. Installing the WD SmartWare software lets you to take advantage of extra bells and whistles--labeling the drive, automatic backups, and more. One oddity is that the power button on the back of the drive only works once you have the software installed.
SmartWare can also password-protect your data on the drive. Once you assign a password to the drive, hardware-based 256-bit encryption kicks in every time you turn the drive on, connect it to a computer, restart, or wake your machine. The password is global, so all your data is safe once the drive locks. There’s also a virtual CD on the drive, so you can unlock your MyBook from another machine without having to install the SmartWare software.